I’m suspicious of any article that claims that Boomers love this or Gen Xers hate that. I know Millennials who appreciate a nice napkin in spite of what Business Week says.
There are solid reasons why younger generations are not buying houses, diamonds, or NFL tickets. Craft cocktails might indeed be pushing beer out of favor. But this list also speaks to why Millennials are not as interested in joining the local church.
According to the Business Week article, “millennials are killing” these institutions (and there are church implications):
- “Breastaurants” like Hooters. “The number of Hooters locations in the US has dropped by more than 7% from 2012 to 2016.” Could this mean that Millennials expect equality for women in ways that older generations have not?
- Casual Dining Restaurants like Applebee’s. “Millennial consumers are more attracted than their elders to cooking at home, ordering delivery from restaurants, and eating quickly, in fast-casual or quick-serve restaurants.” Could this mean that Millennials prefer quick in-and-out gatherings or intimate (like home) gatherings?
- Bars of Soap. “Almost half (48%) of all US consumers believe bar soaps are covered in germs after use, a feeling that is particularly strong among consumers aged 18-24 (60%). I have no idea what this means re: Millennials and the Church. Pump soap in church bathrooms? If only it were that easy.
- Fabric Softener. “According to Downy maker Procter & Gamble’s head of global fabric care, millennials ‘don’t even know what the product is for.’” Millennials who didn’t grow up in church also do not know what baptism, communion, or coffee fellowship is for.
- Gym Memberships. “While millennials like to workout, they’re ditching gyms in favor of class-centric centers.” Spontaneity is key. Trying a class here and there rather than “joining” is a better fit.
Am I nuts to believe that Millennials still like breakfast cereal?
We in The Institutional Church are wed to many features that are decreasingly comfortable or meaningful or important to younger generations. Are we willing to adapt how we are the Church for the sake of sharing the message of Jesus with those who are no longer (or never have been) with us? I hope so.