'Millennials' Least Religious Group in American History

Millennials. There are more than 78 million of them. Born between 1980 and 2000, this demographic has surpassed the baby boomers as the largest and most influential generation in America.

Indeed, Millennials are shaping the first half of 21st century of American culture. How could this impact Christianity as this age group reaches adulthood and prepares to exert their mark on the nation? Best-selling research author Thom Rainer and his son Jess, himself a Millennial born in 1985, have some answers—and they appear disturbing.

The father-son team is presenting the most comprehensive research project on Millennials from a Christian worldview perspective in their book, The Millennials: Connecting to America's Largest Generation. The duo started researching the project in June 2009, conducting 1,200 interviews that aim to help us better understand Millennials personally, professionally and spiritually.

Here are some of the findings from the research as it relates to older Millennials—those born between 1980 and 1991:

  • Although Millennials still say they are "spiritual," this group is the least religious generation in American history. Only 13 percent of Millennials considered any type of spirituality to be important in their lives. In fact, most Millennials don't think about religion at all.
  • Millennials are marrying much later, if at all. In 1970, about 44 percent of 18- to 25-year- old boomers were married. Today, only 15 percent of Millennials in that age group are married.
  • Although 84 percent of Millennials say job success is important to them, they are not workaholics. They want to have fun with their co-workers on the job, and they see the need for balance between work and life.
  • Although this generation distrusts politicians, they are motivated by a strong, centralized federal government. They expect the federal government to be a solution to many social problems, such as universal health care and retirement.

Does this jibe with what you know about Millennials in your life? How do we reach Millennials for Jesus?

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