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Barna Group Examines Adventist Millennials

I'm thrilled at the recent release of the complete report of the Barna Group Adventist Millennial Research.  You can find it downloadable on the new Young Adult Life website.

Dr. Clint Jenkin, Vice President for Research at the Barna Group, served as the principal researcher for the study commissioned by the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists [NAD]. I was delighted to work with Dr. Jenkin and serve as the lead research facilitator representing the NAD.

Dr. Jenkin took part in NAD Year-end Meetings, where he presented a summary of the report findings. The report was met with a standing ovation by our church ministry leaders from across the territory of Bermuda, Canada, Micronesia, and the United States.

It's important to know who Clint is, so as to put into context a series of exceptional interview films where Dr. Jenkin offers Adventists some keen insights for engaging next generations.

Clint Jenkin, Ph.D. served as Vice President of Research for Barna Group. For more than 10 years, he has designed and conducted research for academic, government, and nonprofit organizations.

Clint earned his doctorate in social psychology at the University of New Hampshire, where he was a graduate fellow of the Department of Homeland Security. In this role, he pioneered a number of research techniques to understand public attitudes about terrorism. After graduate school Dr. Jenkin turned down the CIA to join the marketing research team at Focus on the Family, where he eventually became Director of Research and Insights. At Focus, he designed and conducted a range of research projects, including immersive ethnography, focus groups, video-journals, assessment scales, online communities, and of course, surveys.

Dr. Jenkin has presented to the National Academy of Sciences, American Society of Criminology, Department of Homeland Security, and Religious Research Association. He has been published in International Criminal Justice Review, Homeland Security Affairs and Quirk’s Marketing Research Review. His work has also been cited in Scientific American, The Boston Globe, and by FEMA.

Here, Dr. Jenkin offers a concise introduction to the Barna Group, himself, and his role there.

 

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Courage in Digital Babylon

A while back Younger Generation Church hosted a national event with the Barna Group, in our effort to help ministry leaders empathize with next generations. The interactive training/conversation with "You Lost Me" author David Kinnaman, launched our local efforts to intentionally educate and equip our members to love young adults better. With that endeavor has come a sequence of initiatives where we've partnered with the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists to help all our Adventist churches better engage Millennials.

You Lost Me. Live! explored the ways Millennials see the world, and gave particular attention to how young adults experience the Christian church. David Kinnaman's research for the Barna Group as cited in his book, "You Lost Me," captured the sentiments of 27,000 Millennials, and did a great job organizing the findings so we might better understand why so many of the next generation are disengaging with church life. In partnership with North American Division Adventist Youth & Young Adult Ministries, and Southwestern Union Young Adult/Youth Ministries, Younger Generation Church produced a video summary of "You Lost Me. Live!" as well as a discussion sheet to help local leaders start conversations.

At the conclusion of the summary video, David Kinnaman poses some intriguing questions to the Adventist Church:

  • Where do we stand on our love for traditions versus our love for our children? How might we afford next generations to contour and express our traditions in meaningful new ways?
  • How will we respond to rapid technological and cultural changes? How might generations collaborate to meet the real, contemporary cultural challenges?
  • What is our confidence level in the next generation? Are we ready to “get beyond ourselves?”
  • What is GOD asking of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to help the next generation change the world?
  • What is GOD asking of your local faith community as it relates to young adults?

I would encourage you to share this video with your local church leaders then discuss these questions. Help your church discern:

"Do we love our traditions more than our children?"

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YG University [YGU] is our endeavor to be a life-long learning community of disciples, seeking to deepen the Christ-centered devotion of next generations, beyond the contours of Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church.

YGU aspires to be of benefit to the larger sphere of young adult ministry development across the Adventist landscape. We pray to be a blessing to many others and we are excited for the learning opportunities it will offer us as well.

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