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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  

 

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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.

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.

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.

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.