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How Do Adventist Millennials Compare

Regardless of your age, one’s perception plays a significant role in shaping your sentiments, valuing, and behavior. Young adults [those post high-school through pre-parenthood] have many opinions, and when asked, “What is your perception of the Seventh-day Adventist Church?” there was no lack of responsiveness. In a recent study of Adventist Millennials, we took a look at Adventist young adults and compared them to over 27,000 of their peers as studied by the Barna Group

Here’s what the research revealed, as summarized in Ministry Magazine:

In his book You Lost Me, Barna Group’s president and owner, David Kinnaman, details six perceptual grievances that Millennials tend to harbor against “the church” as a cultural institution. These grievances hold that the church is: intolerant of doubt, elitist in its relationships, anti-science in its beliefs, overprotective of its members, shallow in its teachings, and repressive of differences.

Based on this survey of Adventist Millennials, these grievances hold true to an even greater extent when it comes to the Adventist young adult perceptions of the Seventh-day Adventist church. The percentages of respondents who say their experiences fit these descriptions are higher than the national norms—for all six perceptions. For example, while one in four (25%) of U.S. Millennials (with a Christian background) say that Christianity in America is repressive of differences, almost four in ten (37%) of Adventist Millennials say this is true of Adventist churches. And while just over one in five (22%) of U.S. Millennials with a Christian background say that Christianity in America is like an exclusive club, more than one in three (34%) of Adventist Millennials say that Adventist churches are exclusive. Almost twice as many Adventist Millennials say that Adventist churches are anti-science (47%) compared to U.S. Millennials with a Christian background (25%). Adventists also score much higher among Millennials when it comes to being overprotective (36% vs. 23%) or intolerant of doubt (28% vs. 10%).

Keep in mind, these respondents were recruited from young adults who still have some connection to the Adventist Church; indeed, some are still very active in their local congregations.

The following media interview with Dr. Jenkin summarizes well the findings regarding young adult perceptions of their local Adventist church. Clint Jenkin, Ph.D. is Vice President of Research for Barna Group, and served as the lead researcher for the Adventist Millennial Research study.

Young Adult LIFE [YAL] is excited to share this video resource with young adult ministry leaders and supporters. Find more resources at their recently launched website, YoungAdultLife.com


Young Adult Life is the official young adult ministry movement of the North American Division of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Together we are a full-throttle force across North American Division sharing the hope of Jesus with the largest young adult generation in the history of the world. YoungAdultLife.com

For more commentary and suggested solutions, check out Best Practices for Adventist Ministry.

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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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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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