TRENDS & Millennials are Leaving the Church… But Black Millennials Aren’t. My colleague Natasha Sistrunk Robinson explains why.

“Millennials are Leaving the Church, Who Cares?“ by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, Missio Alliance, March 6, 2017..

…But Black Millennials Aren’t

In his article titled, “Why Aren’t Black Millennials Leaving the Church,” Bryan T. Calvin drew on the 2012 PEW Research Center to make the case that Black millennials are not leaving the church, and there are specific reasons why they are staying. He writes, “In general, the numbers consistently show that blacks of all ages are more likely to maintain religious affiliation that whites.”

Why is this? He continues, “It seems that blacks are more invested in the practices and rituals associated with church life…Maybe the difference is that whites and blacks view the institution of the Church differently. Historically, the black church has always played an important communal role.”

Calvin continues his piece with another observation, “Talking about Millennials leaving the Church without specifying which Millennials is only half the conversation. And if the American Church is willing to enter into conversation beyond the racial lines that has often been drawn up around it, they may realize that the solution to their ‘problem’ of Millennials leaving is closer than they thought.”

Solution One: Embrace Diversity

Diversity seems like a buzz word and the lack of ethnic diversity in various arenas seems like am ever trending topic these days. I almost hesitated to use the wording here. Yet I persisted because I don’t know if the reality of the lack of ethnic diversity— including the lack of value of diverse voices, diverse experiences, and diversity in leadership— has sunk in to the psyche of the evangelical church.

The millennial generation values diversity while the evangelical church gives diversity lip service. The millennials have observed this hypocrisy and they are voting with their feet. The writing is on the wall. White millennials will not come back to the church unless there is authenticity and drastic change…

Solution Three: Focus on the Group and not the Individual

This year, Christianity Today published an article titled, “How Black and White Christians Do Discipleship Differently.” In it, they focus on Barna’s recent study regarding “Racial Divides in Spiritual Practices.” Concerning the state of discipleship, Barna reports that “black Christian leaders are more likely to say that ‘deepening one’s faith through education and fellowship’ is a goal of discipleship,” and mentorship as part of a group is a crucial part of fellowship.

This education includes the study of the Bible in a group, memorizing and meditating on Scriptures. Furthermore, they conclude that “Black communities tend toward communal rhythms of spiritual development” and that “one’s personal spiritual life had implication for social justice.” Finally, the report indicates that Black Christians place a higher value on their friends.

Read more at … http://www.missioalliance.org/millennials-leaving-church-cares/

OUTREACH & 3 ways to engage the “spiritual,” but not “religious” millennial

by Chris Martin, Facts & Trends, LifeWay, 1/25/16.

The latest U.S. religious landscape study published by Pew confirms much of what has been reported about millennials in recent years. But the study also sheds new light on this “spiritual, but not religious” generation and can help churches understand how to reach them.

According to the study, millennials have not completely abandoned spiritual beliefs or practices. Millennials maintain a sense of spiritual peace and interest in the universe beyond what is simply seen on earth.

One of the most interesting data points regarding millennials from this latest Pew survey is the large portion of who feel a sense of spiritual peace and well being, while being less affiliated with religion than any other generation. Most young adults also feel a sense of wonder about the universe.

This should lead pastors and church leaders to ask, “How does this affect how I reach out to unbelieving millennials in my community?” Here are three things to keep in mind when attempting to engage young adults.

1. Engage the sense of wonder.

… As Christians, we can engage the wonder of millennials and point to the source of that phenomenon: the Creator God of the Bible. Use this wonderment and point people to the starting point and the upholder of it all.

2. Probe for the source of “spiritual peace.”

Why do such a large portion of people who claim no certainty in the existence of God say they are at peace spiritually? Perhaps they are at peace because they do not think God exists. Regardless, one of the ways churches can engage with unbelieving millennials in their community is by recognizing these young people are likely content with where they stand spiritually.

Christians should talk with them, ask questions, and identify the source of this “spiritual peace,” then figure out in what ways it may fall short in comparison to the gospel.

3. Provide a better way.

Finally, when we engage the sense of wonderment and spiritual peace among millennials, we must work to provide a better way—the only Way, the gospel of Jesus.

The research shows these young people are not hard-and-fast naturalists who only believe in what they can see in front of their face. They ponder the spiritual. They wonder about the universe. Engage these feelings and point them to their ultimate fulfillment…

Read more at … https://factsandtrends.net/2016/01/25/3-ways-to-engage-the-spiritual-but-not-religious-millennial/

OUTREACH & Need-meeting: A poignant fable by a Millennial

“I’m not particularly attracted to a religion where someone approaches me in the parking lot of a grocery store with a tract in hand, telling me I’m going to hell, without ever once considering the possibility that I might need help carrying my groceries.”

Commentary by Professor B: This was a short fable shared with me by a former student. It illustrates succinctly why we should utilize a need-based approach to outreach. Larry wrote:

Prof. Whitesel, I’m doing a response for Bible as Christian Scripture and recalled a quote from a friend of my son’s some years that reminded me of your book, Cure for the Common Church, and in particular, your prescription for growing O.U.T.

The response touched on how we want to world to see us, as a source of judgement or a source of the Good News. The quote I recalled from my son’s friend: “I’m not particularly attracted to a religion where someone approaches me in the parking lot of a grocery store with a tract in hand, telling me I’m going to hell, without ever once considering the possibility that I might need help carrying my groceries.”

Thought you might enjoy that. Larry

SKEPTICISM & Millennials Increasingly View the Church Negatively

by Aaron Earls, LifeWay, 2/26/16.

Not only are they not showing up for services, a growing number of millennials believe churches are bad for society.

Since 2010, millennials’ view of churches and other religious organizations as having a positive effect on the country has fallen 18 percentage points, according to Pew Research.

In 2015, 55 percent of young adults believed churches have a positive impact on the country compared with 73 percent five years ago.

The drop among millennials comes when other generations view churches more positively. In 2010, millennials had the highest view of churches. Today, it’s the lowest of any generation.

Churches weren’t the only institution about which millennials grew more cynical. Five years ago, 40 percent of young adults thought the national news media had a positive impact. That portion is only 27 percent today, largely in line with other generations’ view of the national media.

By and large, however, millennials didn’t fit with the perception they are anti-institutional. Among every institution, except the church, young adults were the most likely to say it was having a positive effect on the way things are going in the country today. Generally speaking, the younger you are the more likely you are to see non-religious institutions as having a positive impact on society.

Overall, among the 10 institutions Pew asked about, churches and religious organizations fell in the middle. Millennials view small businesses (86 percent), technology companies (77 percent), colleges and universities (73 percent), and labor unions (57 percent) more positively than churches.

Despite the decline, young adults still see churches as more positive contributors to society than the energy industry (54 percent), banks and other financial institutions (45 percent), entertainment industry (39 percent), large corporations (38 percent), and the national news media (27 percent).

Read more at … http://factsandtrends.net/2016/02/26/millennials-increasingly-view-the-church-negatively/#.V7Ltt8T3aJJ

FAITH SHARING & Research suggests younger evangelicals are slightly more likely to share their faith

by Facts & Trends, LifeWay, 5/13/16.

About a quarter of U.S. religiously affiliated adults share their faith at least once a week, according to Pew’s study of American religious beliefs and activities.

The practice of sharing one’s faith is up slightly since 2007.

While older Americans are more engaged in other religious practices (attending church, prayer, Scripture reading), Pew found younger adults are slightly more likely than those 65 and older to share their faith.

insights-sharefaith

Read more at … http://factsandtrends.net/2016/05/13/whos-sharing-their-faith/#.V7LtBMT3aJI

JOB TENURE & When Should You Switch Jobs? 4 Career Lessons in 3 Graphs #ForbesMagazine

by Stephanie Denning, Forbes Magazine, 4/25/16.

Job-hopping is commonplace these days among millennials. I’ve often wondered how much time one should really stay put in a job? And if you leave, what are you really at risk of missing? Can you leave a job too soon? Can you stay too long?

In my experience there are two important variables. The first is your learning curve. Every job has one. Surprisingly, I’ve found the learning curve to be pretty universal across jobs. From what I’ve seen, it takes about 1.5 to two years to really surpass the steep part of the learning curve. It looks something like this:

image

After 1.5 to two years, you start to experience diminishing returns to learning. So if you’re concerned about leaving a job too soon, and foregoing some of that learning, let your concern be assuaged by the fact that after two years, your opportunity cost of learning isn’t as high as it once was.

Only after you’ve past this learning curve can you really start to experience productivity gains, the second variable. After surpassing the steep part of the learning curve, it will take you a lot less time to complete a task than it did six months ago. But productivity gains only matter if you’re trying to make a career for yourself in that job. If you’re trying to rise the ranks, this can be helpful because you can spend more time on other tasks and less time on the old ones…

Read more at … http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2016/04/24/three-career-lessons-in-three-graphs/#7fdd2cf727d1

 

RELIGIOSITY & Americans Skeptical Of God But Think Heaven Is Real, Somehow

By Joshua A. Krisch, Vocativ News, Mar 21, 2016.

The United States formally separates Church and State, but it’s hard to deny that America is inundated with religious innuendo, from its controversial pledge of allegiance all the way down to its Judeo-Christian courthouse displays and faith-espousing legal tender. Yet fewer Americans pray or believe in God than ever before, according to a new study in the journal Sage Open.

Researchers found that the percentage of Americans who claim they never pray reached an all-time high in 2014, up five-fold since the 1980s. Over the same time period, belief in God and interest in spirituality appears to have similarly declined, especially among young adults.

The findings suggest that, “millennials are the least religious generation in memory, and possibly in American history,” says Jean M. Twenge, psychology professor at San Diego State University and coauthor on the study, in a press statement. “Most previous studies concluded that fewer Americans were publicly affiliating with a religion, but that Americans were just as religious in private ways. That’s no longer the case, especially in the last few years…”

The notion that the U.S. is inching away from organized religion is nothing new. Throughout the 2000s, studies repeatedly found that many Americans had lost faith in religious institutions. But scientists suspected the shift was from organized religion, rather than spirituality—that Americans had stopped attending formal services, but that they still prayed and believed in private…

But this new study suggests that Americans have a problem with God—and that our spiritual issues run deeper than paltry mistrust of religious institutions.

For the study, researchers pulled 58,893 entries from the GSS, a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults. The results suggest a steep decline in the number of Americans who pray, believe in God, take the Bible literally, attend religious services or identified as religious—all factors that should have relatively little to do with America’s skepticism of large institutions.

Read more at … http://www.vocativ.com/news/299168/americans-pray-think-heaven-is-real/