Baby Boomers have spent the past three decades dismantling and reassembling the church structures created by their parents, often in the contemporary and seeker-sensitive models. Starting about ten years ago, some of their Gen-X successors began making their own contribution to American Christianity. The "emerging church" leaders introduced postmodern worship with indigenous music combined with ancient rites and emphasis on sensory experience.
Millennial generation leaders are beginning to take their places now. Born after 1980, this next "next generation" is optimistic, globally aware, entertainment hungry, and communal. They have been affirmed and busy since they were born, and they have high self-esteem. They are the "everyone gets a trophy" generation.
The oldest are 25 years old, and are the newest youth pastors, college ministers, and seminary students. As with earlier generations, new styles of leadership and organizational expectations will develop.
We first noticed the differences in them as they assumed leadership roles in our church's college ministry. In this ministry, I was at first a Boomer leading Gen-Xers. Then I was leading Gen-Xers to minister to Millennials. Now, the Millennials are taking over.
For pastors still struggling to figure out ministry to postmoderns, it may be helpful to focus on Millennials, perhaps the first generation native to the postmodern era. How can we welcome the Millennials as members of our ministry teams?
1. Create cooperative organizations. Think "us." In seeing our staff transition from mostly Gen-X to Millennials, I find a higher sense of being together in the work. These young adults focus more on what we can accomplish together, as opposed to the tension that can arise from ...