The Never Ending Love Affair by The Barna Group With The Millennials
Evangelicals and other conservative Christians have a nasty habit of ignoring certain groups of people – such as the elderly, widows, widowers, the divorced, and never married adults who are over the page of 30.
At the same time these groups get nary a mention – or tweet – other groups, such as The Millennials, are focused upon obsessively. (That, or married couples who have children. Married couples who have kids get lots of coverage in evangelicalism as well.)
I began following the Barna Group Twitter account about two or three months ago (or it feels that way; it may have been longer or shorter than that).
During that time, I have noticed that they tweet about the Millennials frequently, or on a consistent basis.
Every so often, the Barna Group will tweet about general topics that are not necessarily pertaining to Millennials, such as…
(Barna Group tweet: “Real data confirms how drastically the moral,social, and spiritual lives of Americans have changed and are changing. https://www.barna.org/churchless“)
Which is fine.
However, I have yet to see a Tweet, or a regular series of tweets, addressing studies or articles about Gen X, Gen Y, adult singles, the divorced, or widowers, and, in particular, why these slices of the demographic pie have stopped attending the church, or why they are feeling neglected, and how churches can win these groups back.
If you’ve read blogs and books by people in those demographics, or the work “Quitting Church” by Julia Duin, you will see that many other people, who are not millennials, are dropping out of church also.
But all the publicity and hand-wringing by Christians (including the Barna folks) concerns the Millennials.
Is this a money making thing? Do churches or Christian groups or polling groups get more money by focusing on the current crop of 20-somethings?
Because I’m at a loss to understand what the extreme concern is over whether or not a 21 year old frat boy decides to stop going to church – and little to no attention is being shown for, example, the 38 year old, never married, childless woman who has had it with church and has quit.
I find it ironic that Barna Group seems to be concerned over Millennialls quitting church, but one factor of several I have personally quit church (and possibly the entire Christian faith) has to do with evangelical Christianity’s fixation upon youth. Christians never shut up about married couples, marriage, or “the millennials” and “how to reach children.”
Meanwhile, next to no effort is made by Christians to minister to anyone over the age of 29. If you are over 30, never have married, and never have had children, churches are not welcoming.
I have tweeted to The Barna Group several times in the last few months pointing this glaring omission out – that they rarely tweet about other groups.
A couple of times, one Barna Group lady, and some Barna Group guy told me they do sometimes do research on other groups. The guy who has tweeted me back two or three times seems annoyed by me.
I’m not purposefully trying to annoy him or anyone at his group, but I am merely pointing out the on-going tendency by their group, and Christians in general, to completely ignore non-Millennials, and I find this tendency, well, highly annoying.
Today, under yet another Millennial themed tweet by the Barna Group, I replied, “Another tweet about the Millennials,” and this exchange happened:
I don’t recall ever asking or demanding that the Barna group cease tweeting or writing about the Millennials (though I do think it an enormous waste of time and concern to expend this much effort on 20 somethings).
My point is, if you are going to yak about the Millennials, research them, tweet about them, coddle them, and try to reach out to them to win them back to church, you really ought to be spending an equal amount of time on other groups.
For every tweet, survey, or article about The Millennials, how about one about widows of any age, or divorced people or adult singles?
Over half the American adult population is now single – adult singles now out-number married couples in our nation. You’d think this would merit more attention (and in the form of Tweets and surveys) from Barna, but they seem overly preoccupied with the Millennials who are already a very self-absorbed bunch; they don’t need any more attention.
If you’re in a group that insists on tweeting about the Millennials five or more times a day, how about an equal amount of tweets about other demographics?
Here are some more tweets from the Barna Group about Millennials, observe the date and time stamps on each (farther below).
In-between these tweets, Barna Group does sometime tweet about issues that pertain to everyone, not just Millennials, such as this one, which mentions “adults,” and not millennials in particular.
(I tried to copy only different tweets from their Twitter page, but there may be one or more duplicates below that I pasted accidentally. Barna Group sometimes re-tweets the same material several times over, so some of what you see may appear to be a duplicate, but is not.)
But look at how often they focus on Millennials – and this is just from the month of October:
Another Millennial themed tweet by Barna Group:
This was a Millennial themed tweet that was Re-tweeted by Barna Group:
(And you see that “Continue Reading” link below (if you are viewing this on the blog’s main page?) Click that to continue the post and see more Millennials obsession by Barna Group, there are even more tweets)
Another Millennial themed tweet by Barna Group:
Why do they care so much about “the next generation” when current (older) generations are dropping out of church also?
And some Christians start dropping out of church in their mid 30s and older, or become atheist or agnostic in their 40s – where are the tweets and studies discussing this?
Making space for Millennials? What about making spaces for Gen Xers? Gen Y? Folks older?
What about the church preferences of Gen Xers? Widows? The Divorced? The never married who are over the age of 30? The infertile? The childless?
And, I have to quit at this point because their feed ends with the “Twitter is experiencing difficulties” message. But you get the idea. These guys tweet regularly about Millennials. I don’t see the same care and devotion to the divorced, the adult never married, the child free, the childless, widowers, and why women are leaving church.
Oct 29, 2014
In the days since I posted this, The Barna Group have continued to tweet about Millennials several times a day, daily. This is but one example.