In The Millennials, Thom and Jess Rainer take a look at the unique characteristics of the generation born between 1980 and 2000. Examining this generation, the Rainers uncover many facets of this group of young Americans that set them apart from their counterparts from the Baby Boom generation and Generation X.
The Rainers do what they do very well. The book is written with an engaging style that keeps the mountains of statistical data from boggling the mind or lulling it to sleep. Thom and Jess intersperse statistical survey data with enough personal interview highlights to keep the text flowing and keep the numbers making sense. At the end of each chapter, the authors offer summaries and conclusions that keep the reader tracking with their findings.
Negatively, this book is a statistically-driven work. If you do not like stats and demographic analysis, you probably will not enjoy this book. You can certainly still benefit from it if you will give it your time, but if numbers make your head spin, this work will not keep your attention.
The authors also acknowledge that no amount of statistical analysis can ever predict what God will do in and through a generation. So, while the work is helpful to show us that those born between 1980 and 1991 (the book limits itself to the older Millennial generation) are looking to make a difference in the world, tend to dislike institutional religion that does not impact the community, tend to shy away from harsh-sounding truth claims, and treasure their relationships with their families, we cannot know for sure what the Lord might do with such a generation. As the authors make clear, this generation is the least churched of any in American history. At the same time, this generation's Christians are as radically committed to Christ as any generation in memory.
The Millennials is an interesting and helpful look at the differences in generations. The book has helpful insights into how churches might want to think regarding this younger generation. While no church should compromise its teaching or the commands of Christ in order to "bring in" the latest generation, a look at the facts of a generation as the Rainers have provided can certainly help church leaders to better understand the thoughts and motives behind those who may be quite different than they themselves are.