Millennials: The Money Challenged Generation

For Millennials born in the 80s, school debt is significantly higher than for the Xers and Boomers of previous generations —approaching $40,000 per graduate! Church planters know the pain of this financial strain all too well. Recently, I met three different planters that are struggling with a $90,000 debt for their MDiv degree. This left them with no choice but to work bi-vocationally to plant their church.

Difficulty Getting Started

Part of the difficulty millennials face is finding jobs that relate to their college preparation. Some are responding by going back to graduate school and incurring even more debt with little assurance that a job will be waiting for them when they graduate. Others find they have to relocate to secure short-term contract work. This, of course, undermines their relationships and makes life more uncertain as they try to get started.

More Millennials Living Homeless

Millennials are also having to pay more for rent than older generations.  As a consequence, a higher percentage of millennials are either living at home or homeless than any other generation. For example, Christine and I have had two millennials live with us, in our inter-generational household. Before joining our household they had lived in their cars for months because of the high cost of rent in Seattle.

Giving Up on Buying a Home

Since the cost to purchase homes seems to keep going up faster than the rise in income, a huge number of millennials are deferring purchasing a home.  Reportedly a growing number don’t ever plan to purchase a home. For example, many of us in the silent generation were able to purchase a house on a single income.  For Millenials purchasing a home, in many markets, requires such a high percentage of two incomes that numbers in this generation don’t feel it makes sense.
Yet, I believe, despite all the daunting bad news, millennials are still the all time “good news generation!”

Millennials …the Good News Generation!

Millennials may face a lot if bad news but they are a good news generation! This is a generation that is much more aware of the issues of economic, racial and environmental justice than those who came before them. More than that, a higher percentage of Millennials want to invest their lives in serious neighborhood empowerment and new forms of social enterprise that enable under resourced neighbors to become more self-reliant. They also are discovering how to embody different expressions of church to help them as disciples of Jesus; expressions that empower them to put first things first in their lives.
I see millennials calling us to more awareness of the issues of economic, racial, and environmental justice than those who came before them - Tom Sine Click To Tweet Trevor and Hillary are a millennial couple who live in the top floor of our inter-generational household here in Seattle. They are planting a new church here called Kardia.
I am impressed that in the first year they have over 50 interested young people coming to their gatherings.  A major part of the focus is showing members how to become more creative stewards of their time and resources.  As a result many of them are freeing up time and resources to make a difference in the lives of the homeless here in Seattle.
One of the most important topics for this generation is how, as followers of Jesus, to steward their entire lives to be the empowered good news generation they are meant to be!
In a future post I will share one creative way to enable millennials to become generation empowered by helping one another discern how to put first things first in the way of Jesus. We would love to share your stories of new startups of how millennials are becoming generation empowered.  Send your stories this week!
Email you stories to me this week to twsine@gmail.Com
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About the Author

Tom Sine


As we race into a future of accelerating change and uncertainty leaders in the church, and those they work with, are looking for new ways to live, keep their noses above water and make a difference. 2020s Foresight: Three Vital Practices for Thriving in a Decade of Accelerating Change is a new book published by Fortress Press that Tom Sine has written with his friend Dwight Friesen who teaches theology at the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology and is a leader in the Parish Collective. Tom and Dwight offer 2020s Foresight Webinars in which they describe practical ways Christian leaders and educators can enable those they work with to: 1. Anticipate incoming waves of change so they have lead time to create new ways to respond 2. Innovate by learning to research a broad array of creative responses 3. Reflect on how to select innovative responses that both engage the new challenges and that reflect the way of Jesus. If you are interested, contact Tom. Check out his website on Innovation: Tom Sine holds a Ph.D. in history with a minor in strategic foresight. He has worked for three decades with a broad range of churches, non-profits like Habitat for Humanity and Tear Fund UK as well as college students and recent grads to create new ways to live and join those making a difference in these increasingly turbulent times. Tom and Christine Sine, and their pup, Goldie, live in an intergenerational community in Seattle where they seek to model a new way of living for the 2020s called the Mustard Seed House. They and their six other residents share a weekly meal and liturgy, monthly gardening and generous hospitality when social distancing is reduced. Christine has a very active blog on creative spiritual practices for times like these: Check out her newest book: The Gift of Wonder by IVP. Christine also hosts webinars on spirituality and gardening.

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