To understand another culture, we must learn from people who live within the culture we want to understand. These videos give perspectives we rarely hear in church but are important for sharpening communications and actions for the secular Millennial generation.
VIDEO 1 – THE WORLD
Steven Pinker is a well-known Harvard University professor, cognitive psychologist and bestselling author with great influence on the minds of progressive thinkers, moulding leaders of tomorrow.
What we learn
• Politicians, journalists, intellectuals and pastors tend to be negative. Actually, statistics show that life around the world continues to improve for most people.
• Pinker says that there's 'almost certainly no God.' Things are getting better-and-better solely by human reason and effort. This is a common Millennial viewpoint. Millennials are highly motivated to eliminate injustice and bigotry and to make the world a better place.
• We need to keep reminding ourselves that not everyone views social trends as negatively as do so many Christians in Twin Cities churches. Things have been much worse in the past.
• If we don't learn to position the Gospel positively and persuasively in a secular humanist society, we will be regarded as doomsday people, and our churches are likely to continue to decline.
VIDEO 2 – MILLENNIALS
Simon Sinek is a well-known British-American author, motivational speaker and organizational consultant. His talks are very insightful, influential and heard by millions. This talk is to corporate employers about Millennials in the workplace, but the principles also apply to Millennials in the church.
What we learn
• Millennials are accused of being entitled and narcissistic, self interested, unfocused and lazy – but entitled is the big one, but mostly not due to fault of their own. In many ways, they have been dealt a bad hand.
• There are four big parts to understanding Millennials: (1) Parenting, (2) Technology, (3) Impatience and (4) Environment.
• PARENTING. Too many Millennials grew up under failed parenting strategies. They were told they were special, all the time ... can have anything they want in life, just because they want it ... got honors they didn't deserve, even a medal for coming in last.
• TECHNOLOGY. Engagement with social media releases a chemical called dopamine. When they get attention, they get a hit of dopamine and it feels good, which is why they spend so much time with their phone. It's why they count the likes, why they go back ten times to see if the interaction is growing. Dopamine is the exact same chemical that makes us feel good wen we smoke, when we drink and when we sample. It's highly addictive. Too many Millennials don't know how to form deep, meaningful relationships.
• IMPATIENCE. They've grown up in a world of instant gratification for everything they want, except job satisfaction and strength of relationships. Those are slow, meandering, uncomfortable, messy processes.
• ENVIRONMENT. The constant, constant, constant engagement is not where people have innovation and ideas. Ideas happen when our minds wander and we see something and we think, "I bet I could do that..." That's called innovation. But Millennials are hurting because we're taking away all those little moments.
VIDEO 3 – BELIEFS
Random street interviews in Minneapolis
To help pastors and church leaders better understand the thinking of the new generation that's shaping the Twin Cities, Millennials were interviewed at random on the streets of Minneapolis in summer 2018 and asked what they think about spiritual matters.
What we learn
• No mention of God, Jesus, Bible, church or anything Christian. That's all irrelevant to them.
• We are just organic beings from evolution.
• Purpose in life is to do good and make a better society.
• No concept of sin in the Christian sense. Right and wrong is different for different people, depending on the situation.
• There's probably no after-life. No one can know. It's not a matter to be concerned about now.
• Just live life day at a time and be happy.
• Most frequent answer is 'don't know.' Their answers reveal that they rarely think about spiritual issues and have never thought them through.
• Typical responses:
'The bang happened ...science took it's course ... and now we're here ...'
'Live a happy life, and do good'
'Purpose of life ... to make life better for everyone.'
There's no one truth ... we all decide.'
'I think it's different for everyone, depending on what they think is right and wrong.'
'Maybe there's nothing ... and either way, it doesn't matter.'
VIDEO 4 – CHRISTIANS
Andy Stanley is an example of a pastor who works hard to make the gospel relevant to Millennials. This is an example of the content and style of some leading contemporary pastors. His church (North Point) in Atlanta now has over 40,000 in Sunday worship attendance.
What we learn
• Increasingly, Americans are believing that religion is the problem, not the answer.
• There is a strong migration away from the church toward atheism, not because atheism is attractive, but because people have a wrong version of Christianity.
• Most de-conversion stories have little to do with real Christianity. The God that people are moving away from never existed in the first place.
• Atheism is a complex belief system that logically leads to unsettling conclusions: Illusion of mind ... illusion of free will ... illusion of value ... something came from nothing ... first life emerged from no life without help ... natural selection is responsible for all life after first life.
For each of these points, there are compelling arguments that atheism requires more faith than Christianity.
See more videos in this 6-part theology series for Millennials at www.whoneedsgod.org.
VIDEO 5 – MUSIC CULTURE
Billboard Hot 100
Historians consider songs as reflections of the society and culture in which they were produced. Songs serve to express common emotions and move people to action. Song lyrics express judgments and conflicts about lifestyles, values and appearances. Today's popular music tell us a lot about the direction our culture is moving. See all the headphones and ear buds? What are they listening to?
What we learn
• Most pop music today is raunchy.
• Most pop music today is unhappy and obsessed with sadness.
• Most pop music today attacks Christian values.