The second survey in a series by Southern Baptist-affiliated LifeWay Research on the preferences of the millennial generation indicates a trend toward valuing family and friendships over careers and religious faith.
For clarification, millennials are people born between 1980 and 1991, in other words young Americans in their 20s. The data is particularly interesting paired against information which came out earlier this week. A survey by The Barna Group showed that teens are more interested in career development and travel. A Pew Research Center analysis showed women are increasingly delaying motherhood until their 30s.
On the surface, this might make the LifeWay survey seem off. How could a generation say it seeks out relationships with family and friends while others closely related in age cite careers and travel as higher priorities?
The answer is probably easier to ascertain than it might otherwise seem. People in their late teens and 20s are often by nature exploring all their options. Whether high school students enter college, look for a job, join the military or seek other forms of public service, familial stability is not always a trademark of early adulthood.
The one consistent factor in all three surveys is that faith ranks relatively low on the priority list. This should be a cause for concern and a vast opportunity for clergy and laity alike involved in ministry at all levels.