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The Millennials: Connecting to America's Largest Generation [Hardcover]

Thom S. Rainer , Jess W. Rainer

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Book Description

Jan. 1 2011
At more than 90 million strong, the Millennials-those born between 1978 and 2000-have surpassed the Boomers as the larger and more influential generation in America. Now, as its members begin to reach adulthood, where the traits of a generation really take shape, best-selling research author Thom Rainer (Simple Church) and his son Jess (a Millennial born in 1985) present the first major investigative work on Millennials from a Christian worldview perspective. Sure to interest even the secularists who study this group, The Millennials is based on 1,200 interviews with its namesakes that aim to better understand them personally, professionally, and spiritually. Chapters report intriguing how-and-why findings on family matters (they are closerknit than previous generations), their desire for diversity (consider the wave of mixed race and ethnic adoptions), Millennials and the new workplace, their attitude toward money, the media, the environment, and perhaps most tellingly, religion. The authors close with a thoughtful response to how the church can engage and minister to what is now in fact the largest generation in America's history.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Publishing Group (Jan. 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433670038
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433670039
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 15.2 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #388,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  52 reviews
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Statistically Sound Dec 26 2010
By Travis Peterson - Published on
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.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting insights Jan. 20 2011
By Joanna - Published on
Young adults are often the subject of much stereotyping in the media and by members of other generations. In The Millennials, Thom and Jess Rainer present their findings from extensive interviewing of young adults.

The book presents a fascinating snapshot of the views and priorities of American young adults on a wide variety of topics. In addition to statistics the book quotes extensively from their interviews. Some of the responses in areas like respect for authority will likely come as a surprise. Responses to some other topics like organised religion are predictable but it still may be helpful to hear the conclusions in such to the point terms.

I am somewhat skeptical of some of the conclusions about how the millennial generation is going to change society for the better. While I don't doubt the good intentions of many of the interview subjects, I am not convinced that the intentions will be as well acted on as the authors believe.

I "read" this book in audio format. While the narration was clear and easy enough to listen to, it didn't really work well for me in audio. I think this was mostly to do with all the quotes.

If you are interacting with young adults in the workplace or ministry this could be a good resource to help you understand them better. Others may find it interesting but a bit long.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but repetitive July 29 2011
By Grant Marshall - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this book for a number of reasons. For one it was reviewed by Trevin Wax whom I respect and admire. It was also about the generation I am a part of, and thought it would be interesting to see firstly how easily I have given into the prevailing culture and to get some insight on how to reach those in my generation for Christ. Like the authors I am an Evangelical Christian with similar motives. The research conducted also made this book seem attractive. The book did have some interesting facts, but there wasn't enough revelatory info from the research to make it truly great. I found it most helpful when they said that the biggest challenge for Christians is not overcoming objections to the faith but overcoming apathy. So insightful. However the book suffered from a lot of repetition. So many chapters simply stated the same facts from the previous ones. It could have been shortened quite a bit. I was hoping for more info on the interviews themselves, maybe some transcripts of how their conversations went. The whole book had a clinical feel to it. This may be in part to all of the authors confessing their love of numbers and stats. Another fatal flaw of the book is that for all the amazing research the authors did, they still did not go far enough in their analyses. One thing I wish they had touched on more was the issue of same sex marriage and co-habitation. I knew the stats from the book but the question of worldviews and reasons why this generation believes what it does was left largely unanswered. This was dissappointing, because as a millennial I am alreasdy aware of the trends, I just want to know WHY they are happening. I don't know if the authors ever bothered to ask the respondents why they felt the way they did. Perhaps they were just more interested in what they believed as opposed to why.

Overall the book was helpful and I did pause and quote sections to my wife as I read it, but I get the feeling there are probably more helpful books out there.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Repetitive July 29 2011
By JustAnotherBookworm - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
These two take the "Tell, Tell, Tell" approach way too far. This book could have been half as long with as many times as they repeated themselves. I had to hunt to find the new material in each chapter and section. By the time I was 37% of the way into the book, I got tired of searching for new information. It's rare that I don't finish a book, but this one will go in that category.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good info, but.... Feb. 9 2011
By Judy Schriener - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Good info here but I can't imagine such a book without ANY graphs, charts, pictures or other visuals when there are so many statistics to consider when talking about the Millenials, especially when comparing with other cohorts. I ordered it on Kindle and then decided I wanted and needed the graphics that would not have been included in the Kindle version so ordered the hardback. Thumbed through it and was quite disappointed to see absolutely zero graphics. So beware if you're looking for serious research material.

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