We’re in the middle of a 2-part sermon series on embracing the Millennial generation. As part of yesterday’s message from First Corinthians 9:19-23, I shared “SIX THINGS THAT WILL KILL FIRST BAPTIST PADUCAH” as we seek to move forward for Christ’s glory. We were pressed for time, and so I promised to send you my list via this blog post.
1. A spirit of division, camping, territorialism, or turf wars.
Millennials appreciate community, transparency, and welcoming environments. Want to turn off a Millennial? Let him hear us fighting about “drums vs. organ!” Or give her the impression that we never change or question anything around here. Millennials crave intergenerational mentoring, but not by someone who makes a habit of talking down to them – or excluding them from the decision-making process. Frank Powell [Restoring Culture Through Christ, June 25, 2015]: “Churches that value racial, generational, and socio-economic unity will attract Millennials. Why? The gospel is most fully reflected when all of these groups are brought together, and most of them are just crazy enough to believe the power of the Spirit is sufficient to make it happen!”
2. A mindset even vaguely resembling “It’s all about us.”
When a Millennial determines that what we do around here, we do mostly to keep our own people happy – he or she is generally offended by that. It is not supposed to be about us. They know that, and they can’t understand why we have forgotten that. They want to see us serving … and stretching … and trying new and innovative approaches to ministry even if some of those attempts fail. And, if something isn’t working, a Millennial absolutely doesn’t get why we would keep doing it just because it used to work.
3. An isolationist, hunker-down, blame-the-politicians approach to culture.
Millennials think we can change the world! From the blog post Millennials Don’t Need a Hipper Pastor, They Need a Bigger God … “Millennials have a dim view of church. They are highly skeptical of religion. Yet they are still thirsty for transcendence. But when we portray God as a cosmic buddy, we lose them (they have enough friends). When we tell them that God will give them a better marriage and family, it’s white noise (they’re delaying marriage and kids or forgoing them altogether). When we tell them they’re special, we’re merely echoing what educators, coaches, and parents have told them their whole lives. But when we present a ravishing vision of a loving and holy God, it just might get their attention and capture their hearts as well.”
4. An environment of phony religion, moralism, or hypocritical judgmentalism.
Millennials are attracted to transparency, vulnerability, and authenticity. They want us to be honest and real about our temptations and our struggles – our successes and our failures. And according to the Millennial mindset, just because you fail does not make you a failure. (Come to think of it, that’s what Jesus taught!)
5. A satisfaction with doing things half-way.
Maybe because their tech-savviness has exposed them to so many things done so excellently, Millennials are simply turned off by mediocrity. We have to think through this at every level of every ministry of First Baptist Paducah. We can’t do things sloppily … we can’t project that we’re always late, and therefore always trying to catch up … we can’t settle for second best when it comes to passion and performance in what ought to be the greatest privilege we’ve ever experienced: being a vital part of Christ’s living church! Millennials want us to dream big, and Millennials want us to go for it!
6. A puny vision, or no vision at all.
Millennials equate inadequate vision with laziness. More activity is not the same as vision. I said this yesterday: “If we as a church are not stirring the hearts of Millennials by our vision for Christ, then our vision is too small!” Think about all those social media outlets with which Millennials are entirely at ease: If and when Millennials get excited about our vision, they will invite all their friends.
Beloved Church Family: Our MESSAGE cannot change, but our METHODS must! Sunday we will conclude this series. I look forward to loving and serving Millennials with you.