Millennials (18-34 age group, yes I fall into this category) are moving toward a minimalistic approach to life—simplicity trumping luxury and status. They are more focused on the style of life rather than the items in life. The majority of millennials would rather spend their money on experiences than material items—that is concerts, traveling, and going out to eat1. They use Uber rather than purchasing a car and book an Airbnb rather than buying a time-share. Tiny houses, coffee shop based offices, and full-time blogging careers have become increasingly popular with this generation as well.
Obviously their lifestyle differs from previous generations. But where does God fit into all of this?
Pew Research Group conducted a study that compared the religious views and practices of the Millennial generation versus prior generations. Shockingly, 25% of millennials are not affiliated with any particular faith2. Fewer of these young adults believe religion is important, and they attend less religious services in comparison to the previous generations2. Why? Breakdown of the family, militant secularism, diminished Church influence, and the rise of the “atheism” fad have all been identified as factors that contributed to their religious viewpoints3.
Religion is the key word here. This poses my next question: is this a God thing or a religion thing? Naturally, God and religion are placed into the same category. So when millennials view religion as a set of rules, regulations, and obligations, they may automatically assume God is the same. And since their minimalistic beliefs are based upon non-attachment to things, millennials are not into branding. They don’t want to be associated with a particular group. They want to live simply and be free, leading less and less of them to associate themselves with religion or commit to Church attendance.
But they’re viewing it all wrong. Having a relationship with God and associating with a certain religion are two separate entities. God isn’t a set of rules—God is love. He wants us to pray to Him, know Him, and draw near to Him. When God and religion are clumped together, it makes it more about the label rather than the relationship.
The point is this—despite the generation we grow up in, God loves us all the same. Yes, He has guidelines He wants us to follow to protect us from the consequences of sin, but God is more concerned about our connection to Him. When we build a relationship with God, He creates a passion inside of us to love other people. If millennials knew that God is love and not a set of rules or about associating with a particular faith, maybe more of them would have a relationship with Christ.