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6 Surprising Discoveries That Will Change Your Mind on How You Think About Millennials (and Why That’s Important to the Future of Your Church)

By May 17, 2016 No Comments

Why is everyone obsessed with Millennials (Those born between 1980 and 2000)? From marketers to researchers to pastors, most everyone is engaged in the Millennial conversation. And they should be.

  • Millennials are the largest of all generations—83 million strong (surpassing even the Baby Boomers 74 million.[1]
  • Millennials are the most racially diverse generation—only 60 percent are white and 15 percent are immigrants[2]
  • Millennials are the most “single” generation—75 percent are not and have never been married[3]
  • More college degrees than any generation in history[4]
  • Millennials make up half of the entire U.S. workforce[5]
  • They actually have and spend money–$1.3T / annually[6]
  • 29 percent have no religious affiliation[7]

What I’ve just written is informative but not yet surprising. Millennials have been characterized as entitled, self-centered, narcissistic, couch-surfing, idealisitic, participation trophy-collecting young people who think they know everything. (A fun parody on Millennials was created by our friends at Watermark Church in Dallas.)


But what if there were more to the story? Millennials are often characterized by their selfies, as illustrated by this recent cover from TIME magazine (above left), but self portraits are nothing new, as shown by Sir Winston Churchill’s classic selfie (above right). What if every other generation wanted to take selfie’s but never had the easy technology to do so? What are self-portraits (think Vincent Van Gogh, Norman Rockwell, et. al.) but selfies on canvas. Even the Renaissance painters were renowned for painting themselves into their pictures.

Now that might be surprising. But even that is not one of the 6 surprising discoveries

On Wednesday, June 1, from 2:30-3:30 (CDT) I will be hosting a webinar on 6 Surprising Discoveries That Will Change Your Mind on How You Think About Millennials.

If you’re the kind of leader who is even mildly interested in reaching, retaining, and growing the next generation you won’t want to miss this webinar. To Register, Click HERE. Hope to see you on June 1st!


[1] https://insidemusicmedia.com/75m-boomers-83m-millennials-who-to-target/

[2] http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/millennials-most-racially-diverse-generation-u-s-history-n46361

[3] http://www.people-press.org/2011/11/03/section-1-how-generations-have-changed/

[4] http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2015/08/millennials-are-the-most-educated-worst-paid-generation

[5] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/11/millennials-surpass-gen-xers-as-the-largest-generation-in-u-s-labor-force/

[6] http://www.blueport.com/blog/what-furniture-retailers-need-to-know-about-millennial-shoppers

[7] http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/millennials-skipping-church-marriage-political-affilliations-study-finds/

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Eric Swanson

Author Eric Swanson

Eric has a passion for engaging churches worldwide in the needs and dreams of their communities toward the end of spiritual and societal transformation. He served with Campus Crusade for Christ for twenty-five years before joining the staff of Leadership Network where he currently works with scores of missional churches around North America. He is an adjunct professor at Denver Seminary and is co-author of The Externally Focused Church (Group, 2004), The Externally Focused Life (Group, 2009), The Externally Focused Quest (Jossey-Bass, 2010) , and To Transform a City (Zondervan, 2010), and numerous articles on churches that are transforming their communities. Eric has been married to Liz for over 35 years, has three married children, six grandchildren and resides outside of Boulder Colorado. www.ericjswanson.com

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