The Millennial Generation’s heartbeat is that of justice. Our generation craves action and hates injustice. We want the captives freed, the orphans adopted, the hurting healed, the lonely loved.
This is evident in both the secular and church world, but I truly believe that this movement is huge factor in the next church culture shift.
1. Giving will increase, while tithing will decrease. Overall, Millennials are a giving bunch—of their time, money, and voices (83% of Millennials gave to charity in 2013). MIllennials will give money—but not only to the church. Tithes will most likely be split with child sponsorship organizations, mission trip donations, feeding programs, etc… The reason for this is two-fold: 1) The passion to see change in the world and 2) Distrusting the church to use the money for those in need.
2. The scope of what jobs are considered “ministry positions” will expand. Baby Boomers worked for money, while Millennials will work to be fulfilled. When committing to ministry, MIllennials won’t just be committing to a church job. The field has expanded to include parachurch organizations, nonprofits, and mission organizations.
3. Church attendance will continue to decrease unless churches uphold action as much as they uphold small groups and Sunday worship services. Millennials are done with talk and teaching (partly because they think they already know it all)—they are seeking people who walk the talk. If the church isn’t meeting the needs of the local community and loving those who have traditionally been rejected, Millennials won’t have any part of it. The most talented speakers and musicians won’t capture us for long if there aren’t actions focused on meeting physical needs locally and around the world.
4. Church membership looks different to them. Part of social justice is including everyone, especially the least of these. I am sure more churches will grapple with controversial questions, including homosexual Christians in church membership, and many MIllennials would be in favor. According to Thom Rainer’s survey of this generation, “Millennials will exit quickly from churches whose members are shrill and unloving toward those with non-biblical views on sexuality.” To some Millennials, love would mean acceptance and that, in turn, would mean membership. It is just a matter of time before churches deal with this question and more in terms of membership.
5. Diversity will be a measure of church health. Ethnically, socioeconomically, relationally—diversity is seen as evidence of an active church body that is actively working in the community. Millennials will judge a church on who it attacts. Are there many races? Family structures? Are people from “both sides of town” there? Is Jesus depicted as a white, suit-wearing Republican? These are all questions Millennials will ask as they look at churches.