thom rainer is a pretty important dude in the world of christian publishing and resources. he is the president and CEO of lifeway christian resources, an author, a speaker, and a well-respected analyst of trends in the modern church culture. you can check out his blog here.
this past weekend, he wrote about five major trends in culture that he and the lifeway research team projects will have a major impact on the church in america. they are some super interesting observations. let’s take a look at one of them each day this week.
Our nation will see the emergence of the largest generational mission field in more than a century. According to our current research, the Millennial generation, those born between 1980 and 2000, will have a very low Christian representation. Our estimates now are that only 15 percent are Christian. With a huge population of nearly 80 million, that means that nearly 70 million young people are not Christians.
the millennial generation (also known as generation Y) are the kids born to the baby boomers. that’s me. that’s my kids. these are the teenagers and twenty-somethings we see around us everyday.
i am blown away by the sheer enormity of the numbers. only 15% are christian? only three out of every twenty! talk about a minority. talk about intimidating.
it’s discouraging to look back over the past thirty years and realize these years of decline have been the years i have dedicated to youth ministry. did we do the right things? was this decline inevitable? were we just fighting a losing battle against a culture we couldn’t compete with?
as a glass-half-full kind of guy, i’ve got to press on. i refuse to throw in the towel on this generation. i am committed to being part of a church family that continues to do anything and everything to connect (or reconnect) with these kids. we’ve got to be smarter and wiser and more creative and deeper…and we need to represent jesus with more integrity and honest obedience than we have in the past.
70 million young people do not know jesus. does that matter to you?