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Educating and Equipping Church Leaders

Guest Post By Brother Jay Martinez

Baseball Dugout

Millennials no longer bench-warmers

Although I was born in the middle of the Millennial generation, 1989, it is still hard for me to consider myself a Millennial. The reason I find it hard to accept that I am a Millennial is because I do not feel I fall into the stereotype of a Millennial. The stereotype of a Millennial is they are lazy, liberal-minded people that will never be caught without their phone, and that they are always looking for an argument to get into to prove how intelligent they are. Millennials are thought of as nonworking people that live into their late twenties staying at their parents’ homes and never admitting that they are wrong.

Even though I do not consider myself part of these stereotypes they do offend me. The reason behind this has to do with the fact that not all Millennials fall into these stereotypes. Many Millennials have become successful individuals and are continuing to accomplish goals that they have embarked on. So to think of Millennials as lazy, nonworking, know-it-all people that have nothing better to do than ruin your day, is completely wrong. However, because of these stereotypes most of the older generations view Millennials as the lost generation that cannot be reached and therefore see no reason to pursue them.

Millennials Are Willing to Step Up When The Church Invests in Them

This is a terrible way of thinking! Millennials have proven that they are good people that are willing to learn and help those in need. So, the question should not be “is it worth the effort to reach them, but rather how can we get Millennials in to the church where they can make a difference?” A high percentage of Millennials will gladly offer their time if the church is willing to invest time into them. Many Millennials are open to the idea of having a mentor or a group of individuals that they can be a part of and learn with. This is way many churches have gone away from night services and have moved towards small home bible studies that will allow different individuals to have a closer inaction with each other.

No Longer Bench-Warmers

Millennials are always looking to be the difference maker so, why not give them the opportunity at church. Allow the young generation to work within the church and let them see how the church operates from the inside. By giving the individual the opportunity to see how the inner workings of the church operate you begin to establish a foundation that can be built on.

Let us move the church away from forcing the younger generation to sit in the pews and listen, to allowing them to grow as leaders and feel that the are contributing to the church and to the Kingdom of God.

There should be no reason for looking at Millennials as the lost generation or thinking that they are a waste of time. Instead let us look at this generation as the generation that will be the difference makers, but it starts with us committing first.      

Jay Martinez 

   

 

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Guest Post By Jaime Cortez

Church

A Millennial’s Perspective: Everywhere I Go I Am Labeled Instead Of Loved

Have you ever heard older generations complained about Millennials? If you have, you’re not alone.  The truth is, Millennials have been accused and blamed for so many things in our world. If the economy is crashing; blame Millennials. Restaurants are closing down? Blame Millennials. And the list goes on and on.

What people need to understand is that Millennials are not responsible for every tragedy that happens in our society. We are a generation that happened to be alive in an inexplicable set of circumstances (social, political, economical, etc…) and people seem to forget this. The million dollar question people in our communities and churches ask about Millennials is how can I help them? And by that they mean, how do I change them and make them like “me”? Which is counter to what Jesus taught. 

How One House-party Quickly Became a Doctor Consultation

In the gospel of Matthew there’s a fascinating story about Jesus and a tax collector. If you know anything about tax collectors, they were hated and despised because they were mainly Jews working under the Roman authority. When Jesus saw Matthew, he told him, “follow me.” Matthew got up and followed him (Mat. 9:9). The story continues in Mathew’s house having a party. The guests were sinners and more tax collectors. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked the disciples, “why does your teachers eat with tax collectors and sinners [Millennials]. So Jesus replied, “those who are healthy don’t need a doctor. Sick people do.”

There is Comfort Knowing Jesus is a Savior to All

Jesus loved the tax collectors and sinners, and guess what? He loves Millennials too. We are called to love one another, just as Jesus has loved us. The church needs to learn to see beyond labels and start loving people for who they really are, a human being created in the likeness of God.

Show Appreciation for Millennial’s Interests

One practical step that church members can do to see beyond labels is to accept and love these young adults for who they are, human beings created in the likeness of God. How can you do this? Take interest in what they like and technology is one aspect they love. Ask them to facilitate a class to senior adults to help them navigate social-media, Internet, and so on. This will create an intentional ongoing relationship with other members in your church.

Love them for God died for US too!

Jaime Cortez

Jaime Cortez

Jaime Cortez
Community Pastor
FBC Athens  

 

3 Step Exercise.001

 

 

Would you agree that ministry can mean different things to many people?  While the Great Commission should be the heart of any ministry the means to accomplish this is not always agreed upon.  This becomes even more muddled when a group consists of different ethnicities or walks of life.

The Rut

Wanting to disrupt the direction of the small group structure I focused on a ministry vision planning session.  This structure consisted of a sit and discuss scripture to mature believers.  While this structure has been the norm I believe churches need to be sensitive to the community needs.  During this session I challenged the group to list ministry opportunities where they felt a calling to.  This allowed me to gauge where their hearts and passions were.

Talk about amazing results!

A young lady proposed a career clothing closet, career services that included resume building, and job interview coaching.  Another, a married couple, proposed expanding an already existing benevolence fund.  Out of this exercise the group backed three outreach ministries.

Let me walk you through this vision planning session I conducted.

The How-To’s of Vision Planning

1. Generating Ideas

The goal is to have individuals list as many ideas as possible.  It is important that each person has a voice in the exercise.  Do not allow couples to submit a combined idea.  This idea generating will go on for several minutes until each member has provided at least 5 ideas.  This gives you a good number of ideas to work off of.  Several ideas will appear similar to those previously stated and that’s ok.  Record those as well.

*Your focus at this stage is Quantity!*

Word of caution! Do not work logistics out during this initial stage.  This can derail the session in a heartbeat.  Attendees will try to hash out the details and you need to reign them back in.

2.  Priority Ranking

At this stage of the vision planning the goal is to rank the ideas on a scale of 1-4.  Number 1 being the most important and 4 the least.  It is imperative that an idea not be presented as not important but rather not feasible due to budget, building constraints, etc.  This will avoid hurting the owner’s feeling and keep them involved.  The host will ask the group to rank the activity and can be recorded by a show of hands.

3.  Implementation evaluation

At this stage the group is in the weeds discussing available resources.  Here the attendees will focus on the details like available volunteers, room requirements, additional tools, etc.  A rule of thumb, any idea with a number one is considered the easiest.  This idea can be implemented in less than three month’s time and requires the least resources.  A number 4 will be one that would require a larger budget and resources allocation.  For example, recalling the resume services.  It was voted to be a “1” priority and “1” for ease of implementation.

Vision planning

Example of Small Group Ministry Vision Planning

 

The Results

This was an effective session as the group backed three ideas.  The above picture doesn’t include all the generated ideas but trust me there were many!  To date, I have organized one session and have participated in two with great results.

Are you ready to challenge your small group?  This is fairly easy to lead and consider me a source should you need help.  I can be reached at joelbgallegos@gmail.com.

The Case for an AWOL, or John Mark

John Mark Departs
John Mark Departs after First Missionary Trip

“Now when Paul and his party set sail from  Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia; and John Mark, departing from them, returned to Jerusalem.  Acts 13:13 (NKJV)

Got Betrayal?

Can you recall a time when you recruited an individual to assist you in a task and shortly after commencing they left?  Perhaps at the peak of the task? You might have had a sense of betrayal but continued on-ward.  In reading of Acts 13 we see this scenario unfold and the consequences in later chapters.  However, we are not previewed to the reasons for John Mark’s departure.  There are scholars who present unique thoughts.  Mathew Henry believed John Mark did not like the work or missed his mother.

Family Ties

John Mark and Barnabas were related.  At the initial trip they visited Cyrus where Barnabas’ family lived.  See where this is going?  John Mark was probably well received in Cyrus and might have enjoyed the company of family members.  Things got real shortly after departing Cyrus and heading to the Island of Paphos. Here they encountered a sorcerer whom Paul condemned to blindness. V6-11.

The Division Trip

In Acts 13:13 John Mark departed and left for Jerusalem thus leaving Paul and Barnabas to continue the trip.  This early and un-welcome departure did not set well with Paul.  In reading of Acts 15:37 when the Paul and Barnabas discussed “visiting the brethren in every city” Barnabas was determined to take John Mark.  And in verse 38 “Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had separated from them and had not gone with them to the work.”  This dispute would be the end of this missionary duo.

What Does This Have to do With Millennials?

When dealing with millennials you must realize that they will be like John Mark who demonstrate zeal and can eventually burn out.  Should this happen, I prayerfully encourage you to reconsider before ousting them from your team.  I can relate with young John Mark.  I was delegated tasks to complete and would leave them half done.  My work was subpar.  However, I am thankful the leaders that entrusted me with the tasks did not abandon me when I failed time after time.  They stuck by me and I turned this around.

Study Questions (Reference Acts 13)

Q1-  How had the Antioch church prepared  before sending Paul and Barnabas on this journey?

Q2-When has an individual with potential caused you to lose sight of your goal or vision?

Q3- What practical application can be drawn from John Mark’s behavior?

Q4- If you have demonstrated behavior like John Mark how did you overcome it?  Were there damaged relationships?

Q5- Does all mission work require the support of the home church?  Why or why not?

Q6- In verse 12, Paul asks “will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord?”  The is the modus operandi, MO, of the enemy.  He will take the truth and distort it.   How has this deceit played out in your life?  What truth has the enemy sabotaged?

Q7- In verse 7 it’s ironic that Bergius Paulus was an “intelligent man” but was not able to discern that Bar-Jesus was a demonic power.  What does this say about worldly intelligence and it’s ability to discern between spiritual welfare?

Q8-Why is it important for the enemy to setup camp among the powerful and elite?

hispanic-family-walking-in-park-together-picture-id514134693

“We can’t have kids running around the building,” a church member mentioned when the committee debated an outreach program to  Hispanic millennials and their families.  Yikes!  So let’s be intentional about inviting non-church attending Hispanic millennials and expect their children to behave like our sweet chamacos that were raised in church.  Sorry, it ain’t happening!

Take a moment ponder on the above scenario.

Done?

Good, let’s move on and ask yourself, “is the church ready for disruption?”

Let’s consider that 28 percent of Hispanic millennials are not affiliated with any religious group the Pew Research concluded.

28% #Hispanicmillennials #unchurched, Pew Research

That’s by far the largest generation that has lost any denominational designation.  This larger percentage of this group are in the 18-29 year old range and have delayed marriage but not necessarily having children.  In fact, this age range will typically have 3+ kids.

Jeff Iorg, President of Gateway Seminary, made the observation that church is being done with events and programs that don’t connect with him and he’s ok with that.  At the time of the writing Dr. Iorg was close to the age of 60.  He goes on to say that millennials need to reinvent programs that reach the same demographics.

Again,  it’s worth asking;

“Will your organization be ready for disruption?”

http://pewrsr.ch/RuZoCdhttp://pewrsr.ch/RuZoCd

 

Take Action Now!

There is a community outside your walls that desperately needs to hear of the hope that is in you.  But if you’re not intentional about it it will not happen. As you look over your members start visualizing who will be the leaders that can take this initiative. Once you do this your church leadership needs to get going. I have identified a couple of low-cost ministry opportunities your church can start immediately.

 

Provide Financial Education

How many of us wished we would have had better managed our finances?  I know I struggled with this.  My home church offered a financial course and this did two things for me: 1) Made me a tither 2) Was more committed to the church.

It’s no secret Millennials carry debt and are “financially stressed”. This is an area that has an immediate impact.

One such training is Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University or FPU. Almost anyone with a pulse can lead this course as it only requires a host play the DVD and ask questions out of a book. Mr. Ramsey does all the teaching. My wife and I participated in FPU as part of our pre-marriage counsel and it has paid dividends.

hispanic millennial financial.jpeg

Partner with other non-profits

Millennials will give of their time where they can use their skills.   I’m reminded of a friend who coaches several basketball teams throughout the year. I never pictured this individual doing this type of activity!  They want to see their volunteer work pay off immediately; think a soup kitchen, career counseling, or group project. It is noted that they prefer to work in groups rather than solo projects. I look back on the ministry opportunities my family and I participated in and many involved serving alongside other families. This reminds me…

Don’t be of the mindset that HM are selfish and are all about me, me. Or as my mom says, “yo yo Generation.


What about you?  What other ministries have you had success with?  I’d like to  hear your input.

Church leaders- I feel your pains and understand your struggles.   There is never enough time to cover your pastoral/ministry duties let alone research and understand who Hispanic Millennials are.   It gets even more complicated!  How does one minister to their unique needs?

Fear not hermano!  This blog will provide church leaders a platform where resources are shared.  Resources will include topics that Hispanic Millennials face, ideas to minister to them, and practical studies.