"While generational research focuses on the averages/generalities associated with different generations, there is great variation across Millennials."
About six months ago, as part of ward conference, my ward held a special ward council, with stake leaders also participating. The primary topic we discussed was what the ward could do to better support young adults and youth. As the discussion progressed, I made two observations. First, I observed a large age gap between those in the meeting and the demographic group being discussed. Most of the individuals in the meeting were from the Baby Boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964), a few were from the Generation X generation (born between 1965 and 1979), and I was the only individual that was from the Millennial generation (born between 1980 and 1996). Second, it became clear that most in the meeting did not understand the needs and perspectives of young adults and youth, and were thus not in a great position to support, serve, and reach them in a meaningful way.
The purpose of this post is to help leaders in the LDS Church understand why Millennials are unique, what their needs are, how their needs and philosophies may clash against LDS tradition, and what LDS leaders can do to better support, serve, and reach a generation that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers have a hard time relating to and understanding. . . .
Why it’s important for church leaders to understand Millennials and their philosophies and tendencies?
Millennials are leaving the Church at a higher rate than previous generations, and there is little to suggest that this trend is slowing. To retain Millennials, leaders need to better understand them and adapt their leadership to more fully meet Millennials’ needs, which may require acting differently than traditional LDS norms.
Millennial philosophies that contradict traditional LDS philosophies. LDS Millennials feel torn between seemingly contradictory philosophies and beliefs in their religious experience. This puts them in a position where they feel they must choose one or the other, or find a way to ignore the tension. The philosophies Millennials struggle with are of great importance to them, making the issues hard to ignore, and forcing Millennials to take a stance. I will discuss four such seemingly contradictory philosophies.