Engaging Millenials in Missions, pt. 2

Posted: February 22, 2013 in Millenials, Missions
Tags: , ,

From the Pew study I referenced in part 1, we get an exciting picture of a group of young people that may better understand what really matters than their elders did. Family, helping others, openness to others – these are more valued by Millenials. At the same time, church has lost their trust – although faith is still important.

In order to engage Millenials in missions, a few key words come to mind. Family, authenticity, education and compassion are important. Being techno-savvy, providing means to connect in multiple media, and enabling them to fulfill their extended family responsibilities will be things that they will probably look for in an organization.

I think making an appeal based on the radical nature of the missionary lifestyle will be attractive for many Millenials. They’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt – but they haven’t incarnated Jesus Christ among the Uzbeks, yet. Also, the more creative opportunities we can offer, the better.

Continuing a focus on the spiritual aspect of our mission is vital, as well. We probably don’t have to worry anymore about a denominational affiliation being important, or even about the old discussion of church/para-church. Millenials don’t seem to care. But we really need to continue to promote and model an authentic, transparent walk with Christ – in all levels of our organization. This will both attract and keep people who join us.

Millenials say that the older generations have a better work ethic and more developed moral values. I think Millenials expect us to help them develop those aspects better. We ought not be afraid to mentor them in those areas. In fact, any way that we can continue to integrate the Builders and Boomers, even after their retirement in organizational “family” could be very valuable for all of us. And I believe Millenials would welcome the input of those who are now old enough to be their grandparents.

Of course, everything we can do to use the web, facebook, twitter, etc. will be helpful – for as long as those media are still in use. Actually, more than helpful – irreplaceable. Our use of these media can be simple – but it has to be done well. However, I think personal relationship and trust building is still vital in our recruiting – it isn’t replaced by technology, but can be enhanced by technology.

Anything we can do to become more diverse will be welcome to Millenials, as well. With a globalizing world, and the Millenials’ openness to other cultures, if our agencies aren’t much more colorful in 20 years, they will probably be in danger of dying. Opportunities to be involved in compassion ministry will also be more attractive than many other ministries. Anything we can do to encourage and facilitate continuing education is already a necessity, considering that over half the Millenials are already at or beyond university age.

This Baby Buster sees the Millenials as just as great a potential for change as the Boomers have been – and to be honest, with more positives than the Boomers gave us. But we can’t just “buy” them into our own agenda and vision. Sure, we can and should influence them, but they will want to create their own thing. Can we let them? I hope so.

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