CRC Staff | March 29, 2023 | CRC | Helping Millennials Thrive, George Barna
From the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University

Groundbreaking research from Dr. George Barna shows that Millennials struggle with existential crises in four defining areas of life: relationships, mental health, meaning and purpose, and faith.

Born of that research, a new book from Barna, Helping Millennials Thrive: Practical Wisdom for a Generation in Crisis, not only details the central challenges facing the Millennial Generation, but offers practical wisdom on how to overcome these challenges from key national experts and ministry leaders.

Initial findings from Barna’s research from the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University revealed that Millennials are grappling with four significant crises.

Specifically, Millennials find it difficult to trust others and often go out of their way to avoid relational conflict. A majority struggle with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression or fear, and acknowledge some degree of emotional fragility or even mental illness. Three-fourths of Millennials are searching for meaning and purpose. And a record-breaking 40% of young adults identify as “Don’ts”—claiming they don’t believe, know, or care whether God exists.

Only 4% of Millennials have a biblical worldview—the lowest level of biblical worldview understanding of any generation since first measured more than 25 years ago by Barna.

Born of that research, a new book from Barna, Helping Millennials Thrive: Practical Wisdom for a Generation in Crisis, not only details the central challenges facing the Millennial Generation, but offers practical wisdom on how to overcome these challenges from key national experts and ministry leaders.

ACU President Len Munsil, who wrote a foreword for the book, said its purpose is to do much more than just inform. “One of the most compelling elements of the Millennial Generation is their deep desire to be a positive influence, to build relationships and community, to improve society, and ultimately do something significant with their lives.”

Munsil continued, “This powerful resource gives a richer understanding on how to walk alongside this generation. My hope is that readers will be challenged and encouraged to consider their role in helping this unique and powerful generation to flourish.”

The Millennial research was commissioned by Foundations of Freedom to better understand Millennials, the nation’s youngest adult generation, and to identify ways the country can better support their development. Foundations of Freedom founder Dave Dias described Helping Millennials Thrive as “an entire resource library—all contained in one book.”

“Dr. Barna is a very accomplished researcher, and this almost looks like a magnum-opus moment … in terms of what he’s been able to report to us through his deep research,” Dias said.

It’s a very practical resource, presenting “various perspectives from people who really care deeply about … the next generation in a very pragmatic way,” he continued. “I think it’s a very unique construct.”

“The research identifies some very real and very deep problems,” said Dr. Tracy Munsil, Executive Director of the Cultural Research Center and editor of the book. “Our desire in publishing this resource is to not only share Dr. Barna’s findings to help better understand this generation, but also to bring together key voices who can help identify real solutions—practical ways to support, encourage, and help the next generation experience all God has for them.”

The book’s structure includes two distinct and separate parts. In the first half, readers will find more about the four main themes of the research—relationships, mental health, meaning and purpose, and faith—as they have access to the entirety of Barna’s research and detailed analysis. In the second, they hear from ministry leaders such as Dr. Che Ahn (Harvest Rock Church, Pasadena, CA), Samuel Rodriguez (National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference), Dr. Raleigh Washington (Awakening the Voice of Truth) and Ken Sande (Peacemakers Ministries / Relational Wisdom 360). In total, eleven different experts contributed to the work, expanding on and responding to Barna’s research.

Three generational spiritual fathers who contributed to this work—Che Ahn, Samuel Rodriguez, and Raleigh Washington—are convinced the Millennial Generation can lead the nation in revival.

As Ahn explains, “I believe God wants to use the suffering our nation is going through—and especially the Millennials—to turn their hearts back to Jesus.” The Millennials Generation is one “that has been shaken to its core,” and he believes this shaking is a “divine wake-up call.”

“For this urgent hour in America, we need to tap into divine strategies to bring about revival and reformation” among Millennials, Ahn explained.

Similar messages of revival permeate the contributions from Rodriguez and Washington. Pointing to the “Agenda of the Lamb,” Rodriguez offers seven propositions for guiding Millennials to revival. And Washington notes that “Millennials are the largest generation of all time—and the most godless.” But that is not the end of their story, according to Washington. The solution, he argues, is to “recognize the spiritual issues in our cultural decay and awaken the voice of truth.”

The book’s other contributors offer pragmatic actions for helping Millennials build healthy relationships and authentic community, to restore their sense of identity and aid their mental health, and to reclaim and re-construct their faith—all with the objective of restoring the plan God has for their generation.

As Dr. Barna notes, those concerned about encouraging and supporting the Millennial Generation can start by helping them “in grasping baseline truths about life.” In evaluating what his research tells us about the Millennial Generation, “It all comes down to worldview.”

Helping Millennials Thrive: Practical Wisdom for a Generation in Crisis is a publication of Arizona Christian University Press. Contributors include:

Dr. Che’ Ahn (Harvest Rock Church, Pasadena, CA)

Samuel Rodriguez (National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference)

Dr. Raleigh Washington (Awakening the Voice of Truth)

Ken Sande (Peacemakers Ministries / Relational Wisdom 360)

Dr. John Jackson (President, William Jessup University)

Lucas Miles (National Radio Host / Author)

Jason Jimenez (Stand Strong Ministries)

Dr. Isaac Crockett (Stand in the Gap Media)

Garry Ingraham (Love & Truth Network)

Dr. Jeff Phillips (Professor, Biblical Studies and Theology, Arizona Christian University)

Dr. JoAnna Dias (Founder and Psychologist, Gracious Gift Ministries)

The book is available everywhere books are sold or by ordering here.

Savannah Smith, CRC Research Associate, contributed to this report.