Thursday, March 29, 2012

Why I love the Millennial Generation

"Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, 
is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 
But, solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have 
trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." Hebrews 5:13-14

The group of college students that Spouse and I study the Bible with are some of my favorite people on the planet. From the beginning, we knew they were different. Some of these students were with us when we worked in the student ministries (youth group) years before and we saw something very special in them then. Our College Minister/Superman, Mike, needed some help in the college department, so we graduated high school. :)  We 'moved up' with some of these Millennials, as they are called.


Who are the Millennials?
Simply defined, they are those individuals born between 1980-2000. They are a larger generation than even the Baby Boomers, so they can not be ignored. This is awesome, because who likes to be ignored??
They can not be ignored in terms of their values, their spending habits, their education nor their individual purpose.

This is what's up: I am crazy about the crew of Millennials that I call mine. No joke. They know who they are.

In the 3 years or so we've been working with our collegiate group at Plant City's First Baptist Church, there were several characteristics we noticed about this group:

  • They believe in Absolute Truth. Right vs. Wrong? Bring it. And they want to talk about it...till the wee hours of the morning. :)
  • Millennials want to talk about these things because they value relationships. Hello? Facebook and Twitter. It's about connecting. Praise God for letting me be one with which they want to connect.
  • They are optimistic. Millennials, in general, are a pretty hopeful generation, but these are Christian Millennials. They are hopeful because they believe the battle has already been won. 
  • They have no tolerance for injustice. Period.
  • They have pretty good relationships with their parents. Very early on, I 'got it' that these parents are involved parents. I would get Facebook messages and texts from parents telling me they were grateful for what Mark and I were teaching. What? They talk about it?? Nice! Check this: my students value their parents' perspective! Whoa.
  • Millennials can track insincerity like a bird dog. They want you to be real with them: the good, the bad, and the ugly. If not, be gone.
  • For my crew, they are straight up in LOVE with God's Word. All of it. Even the hard stuff. They require--get that, require--solid, Hebrews 5:14-style, deep biblical teaching. And, if they don't get it, they won't be back.
  • They are doers of the Word. Take action. Get. It. Done. No committee meetings, no red-tape: do work.
So, these are a few of the things I kept telling people about this new ministry. I would tell anyone who would listen. (Like I'm doing now...) 

<Insert quickie book review here>

THEN, a super-writer, Thom Rainer and his millennial son, Jess, wrote a book about them! The Millennials! My lovely 10 year-old bought it for me for Christmas. She's a genius.

I am so bitter I didn't write this book! They are spot on! As I was reading it, I kept telling Mark, "This is so great! It's what we've been saying about our kids!"  I was so excited! Still, bitter, but excited. 

Still, I learned a great deal from the book, and some of what they wrote just affirmed in detail what I already believed to be true.

  • The Millennials are the most diverse generation and know very little racism.
  • They are slated to be the most educated generation ever.
  • They believe they have a voice. And they are right. The 18-29 year olds voted in our current president. 
  • The Millennial Generation will be the most adoptive generation in history. Praise Jesus. James 1:27 is coming alive through them.
I didn't intend on writing a book review, but I do recommend this book if you even so much as know someone born into the Millennial Generation. If you work, serve, or minister to a millennial, you definitely should read it. 

Here's Thom Rainer's website: It's a Lifeway book, too, by the way.

<End of impromptu book review.>

Bottom line: These 'doers of the Word' are a force to be reckoned with. They are world changers, but not like we've seen before. Watch them go. Better still, jump in with them.  Tackle a cause with them.
Be real with them.
Affirm them.
Debate with them.
Mentor them.
Challenge them.
Play Catch Phrase with them.
For Peter's sake, feed them. 
Love them.
It's easy.

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