Both the Tennesseean and USAToday had front page articles referencing a study on Millennials published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. According to this study, Millennials are less civic minded, less focused on helping the larger community and more focused on materialistic values than Gen Xers. In other words, Millennials might be as selfish and shallow as the rest of us.
For some reason, every new generation sees itself as different from every other generation while every other generation views the new generation as the worst in the history of the world. My generation was going to change the world! We saw ourselves as anointed to wrestle control from the corporations and politicians that were ruining our country…Then, we all grew up and got jobs. Some of the same ones who protested Wall Street got jobs on Wall Street and well, we know how that turned out.
I have been in ministry for over thirty years and I have worked with every generation in the local church. From Builders to Millennials, I have seen them all and I find this generation (Millennials) no better or no worse than anybody else. Given time, I am convinced you will find the percentages shake out about the same across the board.
There are those who are in for themselves and there are those who need to do something more. And here is what I have found out in working with them all — work with those who want to work. In my ministry, I have wasted a lot of hours trying to convince people with a lot of talent, but no desire, to focus their energies on something that mattered. All of my persuading rarely changed anything. On the other hand, I have watched ministries explode under the leadership of a leader who, while limited in ability, had an enormous desire to see something happen. I have been surprised to discover it is rarely the person with the most talent that made the greatest impact. It’s the person with the most desire.
So, when I work with Millennials or Builders, my rule is the same. I work with those who want to work. Funny thing, Jesus had the same philosophy. He worked with people who allowed Him to work. He didn’t do any mighty works in Nazareth because the people didn’t believe. Yet, He healed the blood disease of the woman who touched the hem of His robe because she believed. If you didn’t want Jesus to work, He wouldn’t force Himself into your life.
If you do this as a leader, two things will happen. First, things are going to get done. Second, people will see things getting done and want to come be part of the success.
So, who are the people around you who want to work?
Start with them.
And the second question is obvious…
Are you someone who wants to see Jesus work in and through your life?