Browsing Category

culture

culture

7 Reasons Millennials Are Awesome

January 12, 2017 • By

Millennials.

Just the mention of them causes some folks to roll their eyes and question the future of our nation once the youngsters are running the place. It seems like a popular past-time to bash those who were born between 1980 and 2000. In fact, you can hardly scroll down your Facebook feed without seeing a blog post or article criticizing them for being entitled, lazy, or selfie-obsessed.

As a pastor who’s been leading Millennials for a while, I have to say I’ve really enjoyed spending time with the next generation. In fact, I’ve made a list of seven reasons why they’re awesome. Check it out.

They’re entrepreneurial. Millennials aren’t stuck in the mindset that you have to get a corporate job with benefits, put in 30 years, and be taken care of by the company through retirement. They’re okay with making less to do what they love, starting new businesses, and carving new paths.

They’re compassionate. I’ve never known a generation to care so much about making a difference in the world. For our camp for abused and neglected foster kids, many of our camp counselors are┬áMillennials and they come back year after year to invest in the lives of their campers. Some have even gone to foster care training so that they can open up their homes to the orphans of today.

They’re flexible. They don’t seem to be stuck in any particular way of doing things. If we make changes at that last minute or adjustments to the way things are done at the church, they just roll with it. I love that we can count on our Millennials to go with the flow.

They’re creative. Growing up, if I wanted to record an album, I had to pay a recording studio huge sums of money to make it happen. If I wanted to be a photographer, I had to purchase an expensive camera and pay to have my pictures developed (while I waited a couple days). If I wanted to make a movie, it would have cost more than a house! Millennials have grown up with affordable technology that helps make all that happen, and they’ve been able to foster those expressions since they were a very young age.

They’re tech-savvy. This goes along with my last point. Growing up with technology, there’s just no learning curve for them. When I was a kid, it was a big deal to be able to set the clock on the VCR without a manual. Millennials are programming virtual reality video games for fun in their spare time.

They’re transparent. I never have to wonder what a Millennial is thinking. I asked one what she though of my book and she answered, “I didn’t think it was going to be that good but I was really surprised.” Maybe not the most gracious answer, but I didn’t leave wondering how she really felt. Growing up in the age of Amazon reviews and social media has taught them to give their opinions plainly and with honesty.

They’re adventurous. This is one of my favorite Millennial traits. Every year or two, I take a foreign missions trip (most of the time to Ireland). I like to take people with me because the experience is wonderful, and has a way of expanding the way you see the world. Besides my mother, the only people who have been willing to go with me are Millennials. They’re okay with breaking their routine, taking time off work, and getting the money together. Instead of immediately thinking about the reasons they can’t, they think about ways they can! It’s an adventure and they’re in!

I’m excited and honored to get to pastor Millennials. I have high hopes for the future and, well, they’re pretty awesome.

 


culture

Election Aftermath

November 12, 2016 • By

I had the unusual privilege of observing our nation’s presidential election unfold from a different country’s perspective this year. From the country of Ireland, I watched the news coverage and read Facebook posts as the announcement of our 45th president was made. As I did, I was extremely surprised by the reactions that were expressed over the outcome. In my 45 years, I have never witnessed such unrestrained airing of opinion and conjecture over an election.

In the wake of such strong, angry, and sometimes fearful responses, I thought I might remind you of a few truths to help make your day, and the people around you’s day, a little bit better.

First, to those who have been gloating over the victory of your candidate, please stop. Your man won. Savor the fact that you voted for the winner. Throw yourself a little party even, but there’s no need to rub others’ noses in the loss of their choice for president. It shows little class, and doesn’t honor others to declare how right you were.

Second, to those who have been bemoaning the loss of their candidate, please mind how you express your disappointment. There is a younger generation that is watching how you handle this. Your children and grandchildren are likely to take on your fears, attitudes, and even despair. It’s not a burden that’s fair to place on them. I can only imagine what they’re thinking with all of us grown ups going around gloating and bemoaning.

In the midst of all of the visceral reactions to the election, it seems that we’ve forgotten the most important commandment. It’s to love. We’re called to love those of different political bends and love those who disagree with us. Back in my peewee league football days, we congratulated the team that defeated us. It was a way of graciously accepting that we could have done better and a reminder to play smarter next time. And when we won, we humbly accepted the losing team’s congratulation and moved on to the next game. We lost and won in a loving, respectful way and we didn’t villainize the players on the other team.

If you’re in a cynical funk, and really feel the need to place the blame on someone, or a group of someones, you have my permission to blame the media. It’s no secret that they have controlled the narrative for this election and, for the most part, we’ve gobbled up most of what they’ve fed us with very little research on our part to determine if they’re telling us the truth or find out where the candidates really stand. Their job is to attain, and keep, as many watchers, readers, and listeners as possible, and not to lose you with the boring old truth. Don’t believe the hype. Take it all with a grain of salt.

It’s always been a comforting thing for me to know that the president of our country has limited power. For some reason, we behave like we’re electing a god. I remember people saying that Obama was going to be “rounding up Christians”. Well, here we are, still worshiping in public. The POTUS doesn’t have absolute power. He still leads within a system of checks and balances. In addition to that, we hold elections for a new president every 4 years, and one can’t serve more than 2 terms. For over 150 years, the political pendulum has swung back and forth, with Democrats in power for a season, and Republicans in power for a season. At worse, the other party will be in power for a while, and then things will swing back to your party. Just try to relax and enjoy life in the meantime.

Lastly, I believe that we would get worked up far less if we didn’t so easily forget that our hope is not in political leaders. We are citizens in God’s Kingdom, strangers, not of this world. Let’s act like it. Let’s praise God for His goodness. Let’s serve others with the love and compassion of Christ. Let’s invite others into this wonderful Kingdom and reflect the immense hope that is within us!