The insights of James Penner and Associates (JPA) are instructive and even revolutionary. For the past fifteen years they have been engaged in research and writing on such topics as millennial consumerism, aboriginal youth, youth culture, and the relationship of youth to religion and other social institutions.
As a sociologist since the mid ‘90’s, James has been examining and collecting national youth data via interviews, surveys, and by working in the trenches in the front lines of social change. He has been consulted by government agencies, employers, schools, parent groups, and faith communities. He has also created a popular “Sociology of Youth” course which he has taught at the University of Lethbridge for 15 years, and he continues to teach at post-secondary institutions across the country.
In 2012 James Penner et al released a ground breaking research document titled Hemorrhaging Faith: When and Why Canadian Young Adults Leave and Return to Church. Since then James and his team have crisscrossed the country helping Canadians understand the relationship of millennial youth not only to church, but also to other Canadian social institutions. He has also addressed audiences in the US and parts of Europe. Presenting together with millennials, JPA teaches about meaningful intergenerational relationships in a way that resonates with all audiences.
Millennials’ top values continue to be friendship, freedom, trust, honesty and being loved. But because of our culture’s individualism, credentialism, materialism and hedonism, today’s youth are being severely diminished. JPA helps empower millennials to discover their identity, achieve maturity, deepen the intimacy of their relationships, and realize their divine destiny. On any given day youth face many decisions complicated by a bombardment of unlimited and unfiltered information. Some decisions are benign; others carry with them a lifetime of consequences. Growing up in today’s word is becoming increasingly challenging, with a complexity that runs deeper than the worn-out cultural expression: “Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.”
The images and stories that bombard young people today are many-faceted, ambiguous and enticing. The hustle and bustle is fast and pervasive. The story of life, the space to ask oneself questions, and the opportunities to be authentic and closely related to trustworthy people – these are all now harder to find. JPA equips and advises people of all ages how to shape and inform the transitional period from youth to adulthood.