This is the second in a two-part series focused on reconciling The Greatest Generation and Millennials.
There might be no work with a less-intriguing title than the book titled “How To Read A Book” by Mortimer Adler. Among other things the author seeks to advance the reading potential of the reader to the level of “syntopical reading”, which is defined as reading that is able to appropriately analyze and compare writings that fundamentally disagree. If you’re already bored know that I feel your pain.
But in the book Mortimer makes a great point about examining a book or an argument. He states that “before you say that you disagree you must be able to say that you understand”. His conclusion is simple enough; it’s unfair and unreasonable to reject an argument or position unless you legitimately understand it.
My fear is that much of the rift that seems to exist between The Greatest Generation (those that experienced the World War II/Korea era) and Millennials (born between 1980-2000) exists simply because we do not understand one another. The more-mature wonder why the less-mature are so less-mature. And the less-mature wonder why the more-mature aren’t more mature in the ways that they think they should be more mature. Discipleship in the church has unfortunately been generationally segregated which creates an even greater chasm between Millennials and The Greatest Generation. We walk past one another in the church hallways and sit together in the same pews. We park in the same parking lots, read the same Bibles, and maybe even pray for one another. Unfortunately, too often the relationship between these generations is nothing more than a shallow “good morning” or hollow “nice to see you”.
The purpose of this blog is to assist those belonging to The Greatest Generation in understanding Millennials. We (Millennials) are a unique and complicated breed, but I believe that we are understandable. Therefore, below I’ve listed 4 facts that every Greatest needs to know about Millennials.
1. We love you
Millennials love hard. Many of us come from broken families devastated by drug addiction, divorce, and debt. We see you and your apparent stability and are attracted to it. We see the legacy that you’ve allowed God to build through you. You may think that we take for granted all that God has done through you, but we don’t. We recognize it and we love you for it.
2. We need you
We (Millennials) don’t know what we’re doing. Yes, we look cool in our black-framed glasses and skinny jeans but beyond the surface we’re struggling to find our way. We need you to show us how to manage our finances, serve in the church, and be faithful. Many of us have never had any true biblical one-on-one discipleship. We need you to show us how to follow Christ.
3. We want you
I’ve had MANY older Christians tell me that they feel like younger Christians do not want them in their life. The Greatest often perceive Millennials as not valuing their opinion. These feelings could be no farther from the truth. Millennials crave at the deepest level relationships with older believers. If you were to reach out to a Millennial and devote yourself to intentionally investing in them they would likely accept (and be eternally thankful for) your service.
4. We’re in this with you
Admittedly, our passions may look a little different than yours do. We tend to find justice ministries appealing and don’t necessarily gravitate toward the culture wars that have marked the generations before us. We’d rather sit down and talk with someone that disagrees with us than to avoid interacting with them. But even though our application of the gospel may play out a little differently than you’re used to, we are all clinging to the same Jesus. We really do want to continue in the gospel that you’ve handed on to us. We hope that we can receive the baton and run the race with half the vigor and determination that you have.
Now, what should you do?
We want you in our lives and our churches. Please, don’t give up on us. Choose to swim against the current of seeing us as a waste of time and space. Use your days to show us what true Christianity looks like. Your investment in us may very well bring about a new wave of revival that sweeps the globe.