What's in this session?

  • Millennials are the largest living generation in the United States (Pew)(0:55)
  • 79.8 million people between the ages 20 and 37; 74.1 million Boomers (1:44)
  • Millennial population expected to continue growing until 2036 because of immigration and top out around 81 million (2:32)
  • 1 in 3 American workers is a Millennial (3:11)
  • 26 year olds are the single largest age cohort in North America (Wall Street Journal) (3:21)
  • Why Millennials scare me (4:50)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Brady Shearer: Pro Church Daily is brought to you by Storytape, unlimited stock video downloads on a single monthly subscription. Head to Storytape.com and you can browse through every single video clip we have to offer for free.

Alex Mills: Well hey there, and welcome to Pro Church Daily, the show where in ten minutes or less, you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus while navigating the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years. I’m your host, Alex Mills, and joined, as always, by the boss man, Brady Shearer. In this episode, we’re talking about why millennials are scary.

Brady Shearer: Millennials are scary.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: The simple reason for that is the misconception that I’m seeing. Basically, the world as a whole that is 35 and older at this point. We still think … When I say, ‘we,’ I don’t mean ‘we,’ because I’m not 35 or older. I mean ‘they,’ but I don’t want to get into that ‘they’ versus ‘us’ mentality.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: This generation that’s above us, and the generation before them, they still see millennials as this up and coming group. This group that’s coming in the future and one day, they’re going to take over. In reality, millennials are already the single biggest demographic in North America.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: This is what’s scary. Really the misconception amongst churches, amongst pastors and church leaders, that millennials … ‘We can focus on them in the future.’ I think that if we start overlooking millennials, this giant generation now, we’re going to be pretty vulnerable as churches come very, very soon, if not already. Let’s dive into a little bit of statistics to back this up. Millennials are the single largest living generation in the United States. That data point comes from Pew Research. Just in 2016, that’s from millennials surpassed the boomer generation as this largest living generation.

Alex Mills: Wow.

Brady Shearer: Sorry Gen X, no hate meant to you. Exact numbers, and this was as of 2016. We’ve got 79.8 million people between the ages of 20 and 37. That’s a 2017 number. Basically if you’re thinking, what is the actual age of a millennial? In 2016, they used the current ages of 18 to 35. We’re in 2018 now. Let’s talk ages 20 to 37.

When it comes to generational gaps in where you put the cut-off date for generations, there’s always a little bit of argument. If you’re on the really early or late end … I have a lot of friends that are kind of like mid-30s.

They’re like, “I guess I’m a millennial, but I don’t have too many subscription boxes.” These aren’t necessarily hard cut-off times on the front and back end, just generalizations; because someone’s got to put the cut-off time somewhere, or we can’t get reliable data at all. We’ve got 79.8 million millennials.

Alex Mills: Wow.

Brady Shearer: That number’s actually still projected to go up, all the way up until about 2036, where it’s going to hit 81 million. Not that new people are being born in the millennials generation, but that’s actually through immigration.

Alex Mills: Okay.

Brady Shearer: People that are coming to North America. If you compare that to the boomer generation, right now they’re sitting around 74 million. This is not to say that boomers were not a colossal generation when it comes to size.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: There was a reason they were called ‘boomers,’ but finally, Gen X was not able to surpass boomers, but millennials have. We’ve finally seen this tipping point where millennials now make up the single largest cohort within the population of North America. One in three current American workers is a millennial. Come the next election, there are going to be more millennial voters than any other group.

Alex Mills: Wow.

Brady Shearer: This is a really cool data point from The Wall Street Journal. Right now, I am 26 years old. I’m turning 27 in a couple of months, but I’m still 26. 26 right now is the single largest age in North America.

Alex Mills: Man.

Brady Shearer: The more 26 year olds than any other individual age. What we’re seeing right now is this really interesting shift when it comes to the marketplace. You’re seeing this shift where big brands, let’s say Target, let’s say Walmart, let’s say … Amazon’s a little bit too of a new breed to include then. These big box stores, the big manufacturers that have been around for the longest time that have targeted almost the entirety of their ad spend and their marketing towards Gen X, towards boomers. Suddenly, I’m noticing this, the ads are starting to turn a little bit more towards millennials.

Alex Mills: Yeah, for sure.

Brady Shearer: You look at the data, and if you’re a big brand, you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Well, why are we marketing to this group that is smaller?’

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Sure, they might have a little bit more money, but volume wise … and also, we want to get ahead of this. How can we target these millennials that are now finally taking over positions of leadership. They’re staring to make more money. They’re having kids. Maybe some of us might even buy a home. Probably not. Will we buy a car? Maybe. Maybe we’ll just rent it. Whatever, but we’re coming into that position where millennials have more disposable income. Brands are shifting the way that they target and market to us. That’s simply because we’re the largest group.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: I say all that to say this to churches. Why do millennials scare me? Millennials scare me because we’re living through the biggest communication shift in the last 500 years. We’re not just seeing this huge boom of population with millennials, but we’re coupling that with the realization that millennials grew up with digital communication in a way that no other generation has.

Alex Mills: Yeah, that’s right.

Brady Shearer: I’m fascinated to see what generation Z, Gen Z, yet to be named, does behind us, because they grew up in a world where pretty much mobile devices always existed.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: You and I, we still remember a time where Facebook wasn’t a thing. It gained public access in 2013.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: I was 12 years old at the time.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: I still remember that.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: I remember the migration to Facebook. Point being, we grew up as digital natives. We’re living through this huge communication shift. No industry is immune. That includes our churches.

Alex Mills: For sure.

Brady Shearer: This isn’t to necessarily pit older people against younger people. This is a two way street. Naturally, one of the things that comes out of this quote unquote argument is older people feeling like, ‘Oh, these young, entitled folks.’ I was having a haircut the other day.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: My barber is, let’s say in his 50s.

He’s just like, “Yeah, millennials are entitled.”

I was like, “You’re just wiping off an entire generation like that?”

He’s like, “Correct.”

Then you have younger people that are like, “Why are these older people not retiring?”

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: “Why are they not giving us opportunity?” It comes down, it needs to be a two way conversation.

Alex Mills: “Why aren’t I old enough to be in leadership at church?”

Brady Shearer: Yeah, like I am … That’s a great point. I have a car. I have a kid. I have a mortgage.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: I have a business. I have a job. Oh right, but I still can’t lead at church yet.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: This has got to be a two way conversation.

Alex Mills: For sure. I see it. I see it a lot in the church world. We work with churches. I work with churches online every day. We’re going to talk about this in another episode, but the age of pastors is only going higher. The average age of pastoral ministry. We see it in leadership in churches. We’re, like you said, millennials; the biggest generation on earth right now. We need to open the gates of these roads, like you said, this two way street, and start working together as one generation that lives on the earth, at a single point in history.

Brady Shearer: If you are a younger person, you can start stepping up, doing things on your own, doing things within your church. If you’re an older person in leadership, if you have the power, start reaching down to these younger people. Otherwise, I think that your legacy as a church, as a leader, is vulnerable if you’re not able to pass on to the next group.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: That will do it for this episode of Pro Church Daily. Before we go, we wanted to tell you about Storytape. Storytape is our unlimited stock video platform. Storytape.com. We were actually able to secure the dot com URL for Storytape.

Alex Mills: Awesome.

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Alex Mills: Really?

Brady Shearer: It’s one word.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

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Alex Mills: Yeah.

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Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Storytape gives you access to, at this point, more than 6,000 clips. You can download them all unlimited on your unlimited subscription. For the month of January, we’re not just going to give you the footage as we always do. For Pro Church Daily viewers and listeners, you guys only, we’re offering 25 video templates to accompany all of these footage downloads. Now you can take all the footage and put it directly into a template, kind of like paint by numbers video editing style.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

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Alex Mills: Yeah.

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Hey, thanks for listening to today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. If you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe to Pro Church Daily for new podcasts, just like this one, every single day. If you’d like to support this podcast, leave us a rating or review. It doesn’t cost you much, but it means the world to us. Talk to you tomorrow.



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