For Immediate Release
April 3, 2017
Beth Harrison, Hamilton Strategies, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, or Deborah Hamilton, 215.815.7716, 610.584.1096, ext. 102
How Can Pastors Reach Millennials?
American Pastors Network Considers Millennial Worldview Study and Works to Find Ways to Connect Pastors from Different Generations
PHILADELPHIA—Like many Christians, leaders from the American Pastors Network (APN, www.americanpastorsnetwork.net) are surprised and concerned about recent research showing that the vast majority of millennials do not have a biblical worldview.
In fact, just 4 percent of millennials look at life through a biblical lens, according to the new American Culture & Faith Institute (ACFI) Worldview Measurement Project, which considered how the core beliefs and behaviors of millennials compare to other adults.
This alarming discovery, coupled with the fact that the number of Americans with a biblical worldview in general is severely waning, makes pastors’ jobs even more difficult, says APN. It’s for this reason that the ministry is working toward ways to connect biblically faithful older pastors with biblically faithful millennial pastors.
“Most older faithful pastors have a concern for younger pastors but don’t always have ways to connect with them,” said APN President Sam Rohrer. “And younger pastors tend to be divided into two categories: those who don’t necessarily see the value with connecting with other generations, or those young biblically faithful pastors who do long for the opportunity and are honored to be in the presence of those who have sustained, perhaps, a 40-year ministry and have remained true. Many from all age groups who truly want to connect just don’t know how—and that’s where the American Pastors Network comes in.”
Rohrer said he has been in contact with millennial senior pastors, asking them about their needs and how APN and its “Stand in the Gap” radio ministry are helpful to their churches and congregations in looking at the culture from a biblical and constitutional perspective. In the coming months, Rohrer said, APN will consider that feedback to initiate programming so older and younger pastors can walk alongside each other.
“If we can’t connect the biblically faithful pastors in the pulpit,” Rohrer added, “how we can expect them to connect with their own people on the importance of having a biblical worldview and on the most pressing societal issues of the day?”
Social science researcher George Barna, who leads ACFI, is a frequent guest on “Stand in the Gap Today.” On a recent program, Rohrer and Barna talked about the ramifications of a declining number of millennials holding a biblical worldview.
“Most pastors realize our nation is in trouble,” Rohrer said on the program. “Without a doubt, it’s divided. The enemy is within the gate, trying to collapse our current administration and destroy our constitution, but when we learn that less than 4 percent of millennials hold a biblical worldview so necessary to supporting a constitutional republic here in the United States, the concern, in many regards, is even greater. This issue of millennials and millennial values is paramount in the country, and data from the American Culture & Faith Institute helps us focus on exactly where the problems are and where the opportunities are as well.”
Rohrer also noted that the ACFI research found that, besides millennials, the biblical worldview of Americans in general is deteriorating at an alarming rate. And Barna backed up this finding.
“Twenty-four out of 25 millennials don’t have a biblical worldview,” Barna said on the show. “But be that as it may, the point is that across the country, only 10 percent of American adults have a biblical worldview. What difference does that make? In order to get to that number, we asked 40 different questions about people’s beliefs or behaviors and looked at (the answers) in a number of different ways, including generationally.”
Barna and Rohrer observed that the world is becoming increasingly more secular, especially because a worldview is engrained during childhood and adolescence, and fewer younger Americans have the same worldview as their older counterparts, which means millennials—along with Generation Xers, of which 7 percent holds a biblical worldview—are not instilling these values and beliefs in their own children.
Discoveries from the ACFI study also included the following:
- 72 percent of adults over the age of 30 call themselves Christians, but just 59 percent of millennials do.
- Of those who say they’re atheist, agnostic or have no religious affiliations or beliefs, 18 percent are 30 or older, and more than 28 percent are millennials
- One-third of older adults are born again Christians, stating that they will experience eternity in heaven with God after their death because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, but far fewer millennials (20 percent) share that expectation.
- A minority of adults 30 or older (43 percent) supports same-sex marriage, while nearly two-thirds of those under 30 (65 percent) support it.
- Conservatives outnumber liberals by a 2:1 margin among adults 30 or older (28 percent vs. 12 percent), yet, the opposite is true among millennials—12 percent are conservative while 26 percent are liberal.
- Millennials are the generation most likely to prefer socialism over capitalism (44 percent compared to 35 percent among older adults).
- While just 6 percent of adults 30 or older claim to be in the LGBT community, two-and-a-half times as many millennials (15 percent) adopt that label.
Knowing these facts, Rohrer added, one of APN’s goals is to equip pastors with the tools necessary to preach about issues related to a biblical worldview. A separate study from ACFI found that just 10 percent of pastors are preaching about the most pressing cultural issues of the day.
To interview a representative from the American Pastors Network, contact Beth Harrison at 610-584-1096, ext. 104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, or Deborah Hamilton at 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096, ext. 102.