Around The Grounds (28/10/2014)

Around the Grounds is a list of articles or posts I recently found interesting. I hope you do too.

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The Unexpected Sacrifices Of The Mission Field – Kevin DeYoung is doing a little less blogging in the next few months – writing a book of course. But, this gives one of his mates a chance to do some guest blogging, particularly on missions. Looks like it’ll be a good read.

Six Millennial Statistics Every Adult Should Know – This post provided a few emails between colleagues as we began thinking through the questions he asks. I’ve already written about one of them here. I plan to write some responses to the other questions posed in the next few weeks too.

Millennials And The Bible – Another insightful post from Barna about the Millennial generation. I like the paper version too, much more authentic. 😉

Education, Millennials and Missions

millennials-graphic-600The post ‘Six Millennial Statistics Every Adult Should Know‘ was published a little over two weeks ago. I was sent a link for it through a colleague who also challenged a group of us to respond to one of the questions being posed and how it related to missions and missions engagement. As a side note, I reckon this article is worth consideration, as opposed to other Gen Y blog posts because it actually asks really good questions at the end of every point. In any case, I responded to the question through the group email in the following way. You’ll notice I’ve also included the paragraph and questions I was responding to.

Well Educated

School plays a larger role in this generation of young adults than any in American history. 23% have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, making them the most educated generation ever. Obviously, some have stayed in school due to a poor economy. (It just wasn’t a good time to launch a career). Others stayed in school because mom or dad pushed them to get that college degree and a “white collar” job instead of a “blue collar” job, and parents were all too happy to have them live at home during (and after) the process. So they’re well educated but may need to take a job they are over-qualified for at first. It also may mean they take a job where they must “pay their dues” in order to make progress. This is difficult.

Question: How can we enable young adults to capitalize on their education and leverage it to take them where they’re most gifted to serve?

My thoughts:

Most of my “ministry career” has been doing youth and young adult ministry in the rich part of Melbourne. The majority of my kids were going to private schools or top public schools in the state. The importance of education is taught at an early age and takes away time from church. The pressure from the school and parents was enormous, so much so that many of the year 11-12’s were having mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

The expectation is to continue this education into their university studies and then career. Western culture teaches them to continue studying and gain better and better results in order that they can do the exact same with their kids etc.

We all really know this don’t we…?

But, because they’re so educated it means they won’t begin to think about missions in a serious capacity until they’re almost out of their university degree. This has implications for us as the average age of someone jumping into missions and heading off long-term will continue to be pushed out to the 30s and 40s – once their education and career has been established.

Because they’re so educated it means they will want to use what they’ve learnt in the future. It’s not often to have someone come and say they’d like to just give up what they studied and worked toward for something else. Well, unless they’ve been in the workforce for 10 years and its time for a career change or something. This has implications for us as those who wish to do missions will want to use their skills and education as the backbone to their missionary effort. This might mean people won’t fit into our organisation but on the other hand it will mean we get well-educated professionals when they do fit.

Because they’re so educated they will be better able to understand the concepts and ideas that missiology and theology present to them. I don’t think any teaching is too deep for any Millennial, as long as its clear and answers the question of why. The implication for us is that there needs to be in-depth and rigorous training and development given throughout their “missionary career”.

Because they’re so educated they will have a fair bit of financial debt. While Fee-Help and HECS is brilliant and in reality may not need to be paid off because they won’t earn enough it is still a debt they will be carrying. Depending on their personality they may wish to pay it off or live with it hanging over their head – like I do. This has implications for us because they may wish to pay this off as they serve and therefore have it included in their support budget. Also, if they’re required to go to theological college then that debt will be increased at a significant rate because of the private nature of theological schools.

I think the tough question is how do we show that they will be using their education as part of their missionary efforts on the field?

To suggest that they won’t be using any of their studies will simply drive people away. We need to take each person as they are and show them how they can be of great help using their skills and what they’ve learnt. Telling stories of workers who’ve gone over and found that their skills and education help them build relationships and teach others is important. And, I think it’s important to show people that their education is more than just a visa platform too.

How would you respond? 

More Millennial Posts

The last few days have seen an influx of Millennial articles hit my social media stream. The two I link to below are quite good and show an understanding of Millennial culture. Again, I do get sick of these articles a bit because they can be so generalised. Have a read and enjoy!

Millennials need a bigger God, not a hipper pastor by Drew Dyck is a good reminder to speak of a vision of God who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-capable in this world. One who will continue to stay faithful to us, even when we reject Him and sin against Him.

Ten reasons churches aren’t reaching Millennials by Frank Matthew Powell is written for churches and pastors who are seeking to engage this generation. Unlike other posts which outline what’s wrong with the generation this outlines what’s wrong with the churches who aren’t respecting Millennials.

I’m So Over Gen Y Articles

I’m so over generalised articles about Millennials/Gen Ys.

Every week there are new articles about how to deal with those in their late teens to early thirties.

So over it. 

Pic: poshcoworking
Pic: poshcoworking

Perhaps it’s because I sit on the border of the Gen X/Gen Y dateline, but I find many of the articles are simply older people trying to work out how to deal with younger people.

I work with young adults, and have done so for a long time. I know it’s important to know what’s important to them and how to relate to them.

But guess what? 

If you spent time with them and walk alongside them then there’s nothing more to get. Like any relationship anyone has ever had with anyone else, you get to know them. 

Anyway, a recent article I thought was actually good, and in relation to mission, was published in the Evangelical Missions Quarterly entitled, “Millennials & Mission: Demystifying and Unleashing a Generation” by Jim Raymo. I almost typed Rambo there because his name reminds me of Rambo. Maybe that’s too Gen X, but I digress.

Raymo outlines some good points on what not to do when you’ve got Millennials in your mission organisation and then gives point about how to better integrate them too. I think he has some good points and most of the article is quite positive, which I appreciated. It’s certainly worth a read if you’re in an organisation that is working with Millennials-which is, like, everyone.