I am often asked how we can reshape our faith to become a home for the Millennial Generation, and it is a huge and important question that isn’t easy to get into a quick sound bite or bumper-sticker slogan. In my role as Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Unitarian Universalist Association, I’ve had a chance to review the literature and research on my generation and its unique relationship with religious institutions, and it is clear that responding to the shifts which Millennials (born between the early 1980’s and 2000) are leading in the American religious landscape is critical for our future, or any church’s future, as a religious body.
This post is the first in a weekly series that will look at what it would take to become a faith community that attracted Millennials. As we move through the series I hope you will see a universal design principle at work, one which shows that the changes which would make us more attractive for Millennials are the ones that are hungered for by UUs old and young alike. What are those changes? I’ll spoil the ending and say right upfront that I believe the key to securing our relevance and vitality as a faith is to enact our core mission and values beyond the limits of traditional congregationalism by aligning our values with our practice, projecting our identity into the world and embracing new forms of spiritual expression.
This series is entering a conversation that is already happening in the hallways of our meeting houses, the pulpits of our sanctuaries, over coffee in fellowship halls, and in the cloud of our online conversations through social media. And it’s not just among Unitarian Universalists, either; this discussion is just as vibrant across every mainstream faith in America.
You will notice that I have tried to include as many footnotes and hyperlinks as possible so that this series will be able to anchor the conversation. It’s a heady topic, and I have found that being clear on one’s facts and references is a big help in staying grounded.
Finally, please note that this series reflects my own viewpoints and not necessarily those of other UUA leaders. I welcome any and all feedback, suggestions, thoughts, comments, revelations, constructive criticism, barely-related but interesting tangents, and, of course, high-fives. I love discovering these questions and possibilities, and I hope you will join me.
Look for the Future of Faith series, and related stories on Blue Boat of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. Click here to read the next post on The Big Shift. – Ed.