LOUISVILLE — What are the stereotypes about millennials (those born from 1980 to the early 2000s)?
They’re obsessed with technology. Slackers. Feel entitled.
Who are the millennials?
Digital natives. Connected through (and not isolated by) technology. Constant curators of identity. Consumers with conscience. Comfortable with gray – “they like to live in the tension,” said Christine Hong, associate for interfaith relations for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and herself a millennial.
In a workshop discussion at Big Tent on Aug. 2, Hong unpacked both some of the stereotypes and the realities of the lives of young adults. Among them: the “reality bites” economic truth – that because jobs are so scarce, many young workers will need to be multi-vocational, and may view the possibility of retirement as a myth.
Millennials want to expand and deepen their theological and spiritual boundaries – seeing many aspects of life, such as where and how they purchase food, as having moral and spiritual implications.
Their spirituality is flexible and fluid, inclusive of questions, doubts and interfaith opportunities. Hong described their commitment to service as “spirituality of the hands and feet.”
Young adults experience God through relationships; social justice and advocacy work; encounters with people who are different.
What doesn’t work in ministry with young adults? Hong asked the workshop participants. Among the answers: Just changing the music; the church hiring a young adult and thinking that’s enough.
What does work? Relationships. Listening. Service. Sharing power. Leaving the church building and going out into the world.