A tidal wave of change is beating against our global shores. The Millennial Generation is coming of age, and with more than 78 million members, they are coming in like a flood. For the marketers especially this means good news. They whistle while they work targeting goods, services, and experiences to a generation that has moved beyond the final frontier of space and time to boldly go where no man has gone before. However, the Psalmist declared in ancient of days, “I will cause Thy name to be remembered in all generations” (Ps. 45:17). The Psalmist declared, “I will bless the Lord at all times, his praises shall continually be in my mouth.” The question that begs to be answered and remains to be seen is will the Millennial Generation born between 1980 and 2000, and raised in a postmodern era where choice is abundant, there are no absolutes and technology is ever-changing – will they bless the Lord?
If the Millennial Generation is to “bless the Lord at all times,” they will need much more spiritual nurturing and guidance from the preceding generations, Generation X, the Baby Boomers, and the Silents. Although there is a lot of good news to report statistically, relationally, educationally, and potentially financially for the Millennials, one ominous statistic remains, this population is largely apathetic to and uninvolved with church. Roughly, only one-fourth of Millennials attend church weekly. Consequently, many Millennials do not know what they believe. Getting to know young teens and young adults ages 14-34 must become priority to the church as no church exists without a multi-generational mix of some sort. This is a vast mission field. Helping Millennials come to know and remember the name of the Lord is how we advance the Kingdom in this age.
One approach to keeping our youth in church is called family ministry. Timothy Paul Jones, a leading proponent for family ministry offers this definition, “Family ministry is the process of intentionally and persistently coordinating a congregation’s proclamation and practices so that the parents are acknowledged, trained, and held accountable as the primary disciple-makers in their children’s lives” (Jones, p. 33). For the next six weeks, February 16th - March 28th, I will post a blog series entitled "Family Matters, The Family Ministry Shift", with an overview of the historical roots, biblical basis, leading voices, active churches, and strengths and weaknesses, and conclusion of family ministry. This series is based on a research paper I completed in 2013 for my last class in graduate school, Innovations in Contemporary Church. I hope this series is a blessing to you and will provide you with some food for thought as to how we can minister differently to our young people.