Authors: Thom Rainer and Jess Rainer
Publisher: B & H Books
Genre: Christian Living/Church Growth
At more than 78 million strong, the Millennials—those born between 1980 and 2000—have surpassed the Boomers as the larger and more influential generation in America. Now, as its members begin to reach adulthood, where the traits of a generation really take shape, best-selling research author Thom Rainer (Simple Church) and his son Jess (a Millennial born in 1985) present the first major investigative work on Millennials from a Christian worldview perspective.
Sure to interest even the secularists who study this group, The Millennials is based on 1200 interviews with its namesakes that aim to better understand them personally, professionally, and spiritually. Chapters report intriguing how-and-why findings on family matters (they are closer-knit than previous generations), their desire for diversity (consider the wave of mixed race and ethnic adoptions), Millennials and the new workplace, their attitude toward money, the media, the environment, and perhaps most tellingly, religion.
The authors close with a thoughtful response to how the church can engage and minister to what is now in fact the largest generation in America’s history.
The Millennials is divided up into eleven different chapters looking who the millennials are as a generation, the statistics recorded about this generation, and what it means for the world and the church. Although this book is written by two evangelical Christians, the goal of the book isn’t primarily how the church can reach this generation but it is rather a study in how people can better understand this group of people. The authors look into what makes this generation great as well as what are some of its down falls. The majority of the book in an ambiguous point of view but there are times when the writers define who is writing what so the reader can get some perspective.
Because of the nature of this book there really is nothing that I would qualify as questionable. They stick to the stats and what can be learned from them.
“The shocking reality for us is that only 13 percent of the Millennials considered any type of spirituality to be important in their lives.”
“Here is our dilemma. If most religions, particularly Christianity, are identified by their service to others, and if most Millennials desire to serve others, why is not the vast majority of this generation serving actively in a local church? Less than one-fourth of all the respondents indicated that they are in a religious service each week.”
“…they will connect with churches only if those churches are willing to sell out for the sake of the gospel. The Millennial Christians abhor churches that focus inwardly, and they are more concerned about meeting their own needs than those of the community and the nations.”
I give The Millennials a 7.5 out of 10 because it had really great information for me as a preacher and a millennial. However I had to dock some points because there were parts in the book that seemed like fluff. They talked for pages and pages about information that could have been conveyed in a simple graph. There were times that I felt like the conclusions they were drawing were in opposition to other conclusions previously stated in the book. The first few chapters and the last few were great! But in the middle I wondered if I was ever going to be done with this book. Maybe that’s the impatient millennial in me? If you are a preacher looking to expand your outreach to include targeting millenials I would definitely suggest you buy this book, read it, and present the information to your church leaders. However if you are just interested in what you can do as an individual I would say find it at your local Barnes and Noble and read the first two and last two chapters and call it good.