Millennial Generation: How will demographics effect ministry?

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I’ve always been interested in cultural trends and how they effect ministry to children & families. One way researchers study culture is by demographic or birth-year cohorts. Some new research is just emerging from Thom Rainer about the Millennial generation. Here are some quick facts and statistics, you can read more here.

  • The Millennial (aka Generation Y) are those born between 1980 and 2000, these are the people age 10-30 right now. The kids who have come up in your ministry over the past 10 years.
  • This group has 78 million people, which is actually bigger than the baby boomers.
  • This group is more educated, less religious, more diverse, and more relational than previous generations in the United States.

Their attitude toward marraige may be the most concerning for those of us interested in family & children’s ministry. As Tom Rainer writes,

Millennials marry much later in life, if at all, than in previous generations. Perhaps one reason why is because about 65 percent choose to cohabitate, at least once, prior to marriage.

For kids ministry that means fewer and fewer traditional families. When couples do have kids they are less likely to be married and more likely to be older. Does this mean “young mom” will now mean 30 years old or above? Does this mean kids with dads will be the exception? Will non-religious parents even allow their kids to attend our programs?
These are some real challenges coming for the church when it comes to reaching children in the future. This is definitely something we need to consider going forward. This book is available on There is also a helpful article on Wikipedia about this generation.

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