This post is an excerpt from the ebook, Millennials and the Church, written by Hannah Osborne.
Millennials have grown up relying on technology. Those born in the early 1980s might remember a time without computers, but TVs were most likely a household staple, and video game systems quickly became a major form of entertainment for young people.
Since the creation of Facebook in 2004, Millennials’ social interactions have been significantly changed by social media. Advances in technology have heavily influenced Millennials throughout their childhood and into adolescence and adulthood.
Smartphones have dramatically shaped the way Millennials view technology. Computers, MP3 players, telephones, calculators, maps, cameras, clocks, notepads, and Bibles are all now contained in one handheld device.
Any information, whether it be someone’s Facebook profile or the definition of a word, can be looked up instantly. Millennials are the largest adopters of this form of technology; in a 2015 Pew Research study, 86 percent of respondents aged 18–29 own a smartphone.
Greg Witto, Director of Campus and Family Life Ministry at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Charleston, Illinois, has been mentoring and leading Millennials since they first began entering college. He says that Millennials are “technologically astute.”
They understand the value and purpose of technology, quickly adapting to learn to use any kind of program or device. However, he counters this characterization with the following warning:
“There is an inability to properly manage the technological interaction [in Millennials]. I see [technology] as a deterrent to healthy interpersonal communication. I do believe, and once again it’s a generalization, that there is an inability to communicate.”
Regardless of whether they were born in the early 1980s or late 1990s, Millennials’ education differed greatly from that of their parents. Whether computers were seen as an exciting budding technology or a commonplace learning tool, Millennials’ education has been dictated by this form of technology. Smart Boards, online textbooks, and YouTube videos have been used in the classrooms of most Millennials at some point in their education.
In the earlier years of computer technology, the Internet was not a trusted source for formal research, but as professional journals have migrated online, many projects rely solely on electronic resources.
In today’s colleges, it is far more common for students to find all research articles online than to use any printed resources at all. With the Internet constantly in the palm of their hands, Millennials need only a few seconds to find their desired information.
Now that most Millennials are in the workforce (or will soon be entering it), technology dictates how they apply for jobs and what kind of jobs are available. Website development is a field that is projected to grow 27 percent over the next ten years.
Online portfolios are required for most writing or design careers. Most available job opportunities require extensive familiarity with various forms of technology, and Millennials are already well-equipped to handle them.
To learn more ways churches can interact with millennials, download our free ebook Millennials and the Church.