The Seven Core Values of Millennials

  • 7 September 2017
  • Geoff Kullman

Any missionary will tell you that in order to effectively speak Jesus into a culture, you first have to understand that culture. And the culture that millennials have grown up in has changed a lot, hasn't it? 

That's led to tons of churches, maybe one just like yours, that are struggling with young people leaving, frustrated that nothing they've tried has worked, and worried if their church can survive this trend.

That's why my team developed The Seven Core Values of Millennials training. Because we know that by helping you build a broader understanding of Millennials, you will be able to build better ministries for Millennials.

I'm going to present the Seven Core Values of Millennials at the Equip 2017 Study Conference, but I have chosen three values on focus on here. 

​Core Value #1 – Diversity

If you've been frustrated by any aspect of the millennial generation, particularly as a pastor or church leader, chances are it may have something to do with their mindset (or preference) for diversity.

But the reason for millennials valuing diversity is simple:

They are the first generation to come of age in a truly global world.  Whereas previous generations had limited (albeit expanding) access to information and opinion, millennials grew up with the Internet... limitless access to information and opinion.

(And for younger millennials... those in their late-teens to mid-twenties... they literally grew up with the Internet in their pockets!)

Unlike Builders, Boomers, or even Gen Xers, the millennial generation has never known a world limited to one single, trusted source of information. Instead, they have always been exposed to choice, relativity, variety, and globalization.

You can't blame a fish for living in water... even though it seems like a horribly silly idea to the rest of us! Neither can you (or should you) blame a millennial for seeing the world through a diverse, globalized lens.

It is literally the only environment they've EVER known!

In other words, understanding the core value of diversity begins with the recognition that we cannot assign a moral value to the lens through which people see the world. 

Core Value #2 - Entrepreneurship 

It may go against some of the (unfortunately pervasive) stereotypes about the millennial generation, but they are, without a shadow of a doubt, THE most entrepreneurial generation EVER!

After all, when you graduate from college with record-setting amounts of student debt, you become rather motivated to try new things!

Entrepreneurs are innovators, constant tinkerers, the never-satisfied-with-the-status-quo type of people. They can be world changers, or drive themselves into bankruptcy... OR BOTH! Like an artist who just "must create" an entrepreneur simply must start new ventures or dive into new ideas.

Millennials are a DIY bunch. And the church (yes, YOUR church) can reap the benefits if you learn how to harness their energy and enthusiasm... and also if you learn to accept the inherent risk that goes along with that energy and enthusiasm!

But, you can also bare the consequences, too.

If any cause or company or organization (including your church) neglects to utilize the entrepreneurial spirit of the millennial generation, they become increasingly more likely to leave.

In other words, if you don't allow millennials to explore, to lead, to fail, to innovate... then you might as well throw them a good-bye party instead!

After all, when the rubber hit the road in the Early Church, it was the risk-takers, the self-starters, and the experimenters like Peter and Paul and Lydia (to name but a few) that stepped into their entrepreneurial calling and spread the gospel throughout the known world.

Core Value #3 - Community  

Here's the thing about community and millennials: it's really hard to sort out.

And not because their generation isn't sure of what they want in a community, but because it looks vastly different from what many of us are used to.

On the surface, community should be a simple concept to explain. It's also typically something that churches and pastors claim they are doing relatively well...

But here is the key to remember when we talk about millennials: community is more than "fellowship" and potlucks! It has to be... in order to for community to exist, there needs to be deep relationships, authenticity, and a commitment to living life together.

When we talk about community from a millennials' perspective, the answers can be confusing to some. Here's why: 

  • Millennials desire deep relationships, but do not need close proximity
  • Millennials feel isolated, even though they are more than "connected" than ever before them
  • Millennials need authenticity, but without forced vulnerability

Community, therefore, might be best described as "a place where people are deeply connected, authentic, and invested in one another... regardless of location or circumstance."

Many of the people from other generations (Builders, Boomers, Xers) often quip that young people have no idea how to have face-to-face relationships because "their faces are always buried in their electronic devices." And while it's true that this can be a potential concern, the community (those deeply connected, authentic, and invested relationships) happening on those electronic devices should NOT be discounted.

Minimizing (or not understanding) these methods of communication and community-building will shut down conversation quickly! As David Stark writes, "The world of many young people is primarily the social world they build online, augmented by face-to-face meetings."

Geoff Kullman is a pastor at a vibrant church in Vancouver, BC that is growing across all generations, but especially millennials. He is also the co-founder of Millennial Consulting and creator of Millennial University. Click here to watch a training video on this content. Geoff will be presenting a workshop at Equip 2017 Study Conference: Transforming Discipleship called "The Seven Core Values of Millennials."