Mark Vowels, CGO Director
“If you can’t beat them, join them.” Okay, two questions.
Why would we want to beat them? Millennials are the future!
And why would we think in terms of surrender rather than engagement? The truth is, for a variety of reasons, millennials offer great hope for the future of Gospel ministry.
Because millennials value authenticity, they are prime targets for discipleship.
They want to talk, to listen, to be coached, and valued. They want to know you and understand how you make life work. They want to experience your walk with Christ in the same satisfying way you do.
So be open. Be transparent. Be welcoming. Show them what’s under the hood. Let them into your life. They will expect to be treated as an equal – a true brother or sister in Christ – not like a project, but like a friend.
I know a man who is twenty years older than me who is personally discipling around twenty millennials. He devotes most of his time to pouring himself into this generation. They know everything about him and he knows everything about them, and they are growing together into Christ-likeness.
Then, millennials make great disciple-makers.
They thrive on relationships and networks. That spells evangelism and discipleship. By their very nature they make good missionaries. I know a millennial couple here in Greenville that has hosted forty different people in their home this year, just to get to know them and to pursue the chance to show them Jesus.
We don’t have to teach millennials the importance or the methodology for building relationships. It’s in their DNA. No previous generation has such potential in doing the basic work of the Great Commission – making disciples.
In my last post, I said that millennials are disruptive. But that doesn’t mean they are provocateurs. No, they are creative. They are entrepreneurial. They are change agents.
In church, in school, in the work place, or in society, people can see that as a threat or they can see that as a doorway to new ideas, new approaches, and new blessings. Listen to them! Don’t dismiss them! Don’t let cultural or generational differences cause you to miss the gold nuggets in their gravel-filled pans.
Last, millennials are optimistic.
That’s why they leave our churches for places that vibrate with hope. So often we give them a steady diet of gloom and doom.
On the one hand, millennials will shed what seems like an empty shell of tradition in a heartbeat, but on the other hand, they will cling tenaciously to what they believe to be true. They will give of themselves sacrificially to causes in which they believe.
So let’s introduce them to good causes and good ministries. Take time to explain the value and benefit of investing themselves in your ministry opportunities. Don’t expect millennials to just volunteer. Recruit them with good stories and with avenues to contribute, have a voice, and make a difference.
If you just want to fix millennials, I have two responses. One, good luck with that. And two, please don’t tell me. I’m much too busy with a host of opportunities to partner with millennials for the advance of the Gospel.
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The CGO Blog
Written by the CGO staff, with guest posts from students and other faculty/staff at BJU to provide thought leadership for missions in a new millennium.