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Educating and Equipping Church Leaders

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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  

 

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.

So you might have seen these young,casually dressed individuals around your community, cafe-haus, or in your church pews and wondered…”who are these people?”

These people, my friend, are Hispanic Millennials.  Hispanic Millennials are defined as individuals born from 1981-1996 and make up the largest racial group in the U.S.   A large number of Hispanic Millennials were born in the U.S. making them proficient in speaking the English language.  This is a shift from older generations as they preferred their native tongue.

As you begin to identify and interact with members from this group I have listed below 6 characteristics that make this group unique. (I only provided a small list but am confident this will allow you to meditate on and start planning).   It will behoove you to consider these characteristics when planning material and ministry opportunities.

They include:

Family focused- Hispanic Millennial men are more involved in children activities than prior generations.  Churches will need to seek opportunities where men can serve alongside their families.  My wife, my girls, and I, along with other families, volunteer in a community soup kitchen and this helps me spend special time with my girls.

Community driven– They seek to form relationships beyond their four walls.   Shortly after Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas Coast a young Millennial reached out to the Convencion director and mobilized a group that would travel to the coast and provide much neeeded supplies.  While leading a small group I provided them an opportunity to identify areas in which the congregation could serve.  There were several ideas all with a heart for the community.  They included providing breakfast burritos to neighboring apartments and shopping centers, a career services team,  and a clothing closet.

Strong desire to connect with cultural roots– While fewer speak the Spanish language they still seek to connect with their heritage.  We see this in marketing and more recently in Hollywood’s productions.  When we first attended our previous church we sought those older gray-haired couples that resembled or reminded us of our “abuelos”.  As a result, we became members of the congregation.   BTW the Mexican meals provided were a special touch too!

Sense of belonging–  My wife and I longed to be a part of a group where young and old couples came under the same roof and shared each others trials and victories.  Seeing that this presented an opportunity we sacrificially and humbly allowed our home to be this sanctuary for four great years.  My wife and I are both recipients of long-life friends because of this opportunity.

They are confident and optimisticYes, they think that anything we set out to do we can succeed in.  Many grew up in homes where their parents struggled financially and experienced doing without and now they believe it can only get better.  They have the “It can only get better” mentality.

They value transparency and authenticity-  Don’t try and sell to them.  This is a big turnoff and will have a less than desirable impact.   They can see right through the smokescreen.

What’s Next?

You as a church leader are in a unique position to embrace this group and minister to them.  The calling will not be an easy one as a large number of Hispanic Millennials are “detached from institutions” including religion, a study by the Pew Research group concluded.  I am encouraged that this calling presents a great opportunity to share the gospel and convert, then disciple, and finally promote into leadership roles.