A lot has been written about Millennials (Americans Currently aged 18-35), especially in clickbaity posts about how this generation is breaking everything from consumer industries to church attendance. I believe that generational research is useful; it helps us think in broad terms about the norms of people who grew up around the same time. Yet, it seldom accounts for differences in socioeconomic status, racial or ethnic background, or gender. So any generational research should be taken with a healthy grain of salt on your avocado toast.
We're not sharing any research here today. I'd simply like to share some observations about Millennials in the Vineyard that I noticed his past month while we hosted an event for nearly 400 young adults in Kansas City called Cause Con.
And full disclosure: Yes, I am a Millennial.
1. Vineyard Millennials are Called
Millennials, just like all people, want to know that their life matters. We want to hear that we have significance and that we have a part to play in the world. Yet, we aren't satisfied with cookie-cutter calling. Millennial's kingdom-oriented callings are taking many different shapes. From lawyers to leaders in business and from church planters to creatives, Millennials are seeking to live out our kingdom callings in all areas of life.
Pastors, will you help us dream about the ways we can live out kingdom calling? Here is a video that highlights that theme which was woven throughout the conference:
2. Vineyard Millennials are Listening
We know we are called, but, honestly, we need help discerning those callings. Our world is full of a million causes reaching out to us about to change the world. We need help hearing and discerning what God is doing and saying.
Pastors, we need you to come alongside us and help discern what God is doing in our lives. We need to learn from the contemplatives streams of the Vineyard, and get into relationship with mentors, coaches, and spiritual directors to help us uncover our callings.
This was truly evident at Cause Con. There were practical workshops to equip and train young adults to do the stuff. There were spiritual direction exercises inserted into our worships sets and a daily examen resource to help us notice what God is doing in our lives.
Pastors, who is a Millennial you know who could use your mentorship and support in their discernment process? Check out this Examen resource you can download send them.
3. Vineyard Millennials are Diverse
As a nation, we are becoming more ethnically and racially diverse by the day. This is an opportunity! It is the picture of the city of God that we see in Revelation 7:9: "And there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb." It is an example of how the kingdom is bigger than any one of us.
At Cause Con we saw leadership from the stage that was multiethnic, workshops on learning to love across our differences, and honest dialogue about how a presence of diversity still means we need to do work toward justice equity in our churches and society.
Pastors, we expect that you will be reaching out to and raising up leaders of all ages, ethnic background, and in all neighborhoods of our cities. We want to help, but we hope you use your leadership to make it a priority in our churches.
For a deeper discussion on this topic see this summer's upcoming conference: Better Together: Race, Reconciliation, & The Multiethnic Church.
4. Vineyard Millennials are Capable
In the Vineyard, we have always said, "Everyone gets to play." It’s that radical idea that the stuff of the scriptures isn't reserved for an elite few, but rather we all have a part to play. This was so evident at Cause Con. We watched capable emerging leaders doing the ministry of the event: giving TED style Talks from the main stage, teaching workshops, and praying for one other. The conference wasn't just for us; it was led by us too.
Pastors, this is the same for the local church. Vineyard Millennials want opportunities to sit at the table and strategize about how we can meet the needs of our cities. We desire to have the freedom to be creative about new ministries and methods for kingdom building.
Pastors, we also need wisdom. We want to be heard and we need to learn from the years of experience of senior leaders that have been at this. Please invite us to the table. We want to do this kingdom work alongside you to learn from you.
Who are the Millennials you are discipling?
Pastors, we love you and want to be trained by you. Who are the millennials in your life that are discerning their callings?
You can point them to these next steps:
1. For those just beginning to discern what God is doing in their lives send them to our online course: Figuring out what God wants me to do
2. For those leaders who you think might have church planting potential invite them to start with this simple self-assessment: 10 Questions: Am I called to be a church planter?