Millennials are here to stay.
We need to embrace this change and make the younger generation feel welcome.
I have heard a lot of people say that millennials are an entitled bunch. I have worked with many millennials, and I don’t agree with that statement. Millennials will work just as hard and as smart, as those from any other generation.
They just want to do it on their terms. Keep in mind, that’s what we wanted to do too. It was just done differently back then. We wanted that for our kids as well; but change takes time.
Now that a new generation has come along, one with the ability to embody the things that we wanted - freedom to make our own way - we say that they are spoiled. They are not, they are just lucky enough to be living in a world that we helped create for them, because it is what we wanted.
Our dreams for the future have come true. We have developed a world where our kids and grandkids can enjoy the freedom to choose, and the boldness to go elsewhere, if they are not satisfied.
If you are not satisfied with your current circumstances, then I suggest that you take a page out of their book and make a change.
It’s a new world out there. Just as we took over our parents’ world, millennials are starting to run ours. It is not a new phenomenon. It happens to every generation.
We need to embrace this change and make the younger generation feel welcome. The music is slowly changing. The great pastors of yesterday, are being replaced with those who espouse love, rather than hell. Bible Study is now Small Groups. It’s a new world.
When I was younger, we did what we were told, and accepted promotions and raises when they were doled out. We were not shy about asking, but we waited our turn. The average jobs a baby boomer has in their lifetime is three, their kids will average five.
Millennials are on track to be have more than 11. They have decided to choose their life and their working circumstances.
Baby boomers and their children are for the most part in the same church that they started in once they got married and settled down. With millennials, by regularly changing jobs and locations throughout their lives, they will be changing their church often as well.
We need to be ready for this and we need to be flexible with their schedule. Many of us serve every week and some of us work every service. This is not good for the family and it is not good for your worship.
Those of us in leadership have chosen this role, however, others including millennials need to be able to sit with their family and spend time with their friends, to stay connected to the body of the church.
We should spend the time that it takes to get to know everyone’s needs and wants. We are all serving for a different reason. Millennials are smart and quick to volunteer, but they want to be challenged. Trust them and help them to grow into a position that you feel may be a stretch for them.
If we can send 18-year-olds overseas in the service, your 17- to 20-something can handle a camera or a lighting board.
This is not so different from the way things were 100 years ago and beyond. Kids were in the fields at a young age. Young boys and young girls ran many aspects of the home, farm, or family business. Most did very well and still do today.
At 16, I regularly drove a truck one hour into Los Angeles to pick up furniture for my company, and by 17, I had a set of keys to all three stores.
Kids today know what they want and by and large, they are ready to work. They just don’t want to be told what they should do. They would rather like to try a variety of jobs, and when they settle on a choice, they will give you all that you expect and more.
Several years ago at my church, I had a group of millennials on my staff. They were very challenging and wanted to change everything.
At first, I resisted.
Luckily, I listened to one of their mothers and let them find their own way. Within 18 months, much of what we did had changed.
And for the better, I might add.
These millennials could see outside of the box that we had spent all those years creating and brought fresh eyes to our tech team.
I am not sure that I would have made it as the tech director as long without them. Since then, I have stepped out of that role, and I can see a new team emerging with ideas and energy, which is a blessing to see.
Accept that things are changing and be a force in that change for the good. Everyone will benefit.
Change is coming, and you can be a part of it. Or you can get run over by it.
My advice would be to charge headlong into the future.
Embrace change and listen to what millennials have to say by asking their advice regularly.
You can’t change everything, and some things take time to change. But if they see that they can be a part of the change, and that they can be part of the process, you will earn their respect and they will give of themselves freely.