Recruiting Millennial Leaders

If you visit our blog regularly for advice about leading kids, you might be wondering why I'm talking about millennials today. You might be thinking this isn't the age you lead, so this particular blog isn't for you. You might even be tempted to click away to another topic. But I hope you'll stick with me, because millennials are a very crucial age group to get involved with leading GA, RA, and CA.

As a millennial myself, I've developed an awareness of the disdain and bewilderment people often direct at my generation. And I wonder to myself, "Why are people pushing us away instead of embracing the opportunity?" That's what I want to help you do today: embrace the opportunity to recruit millennials to become a new generation of GA, RA, and CA leaders.

If you're at a total loss of how to connect with millennials and bring them into the leadership fold or you need a few pointers, it's okay. I want to help you with my firsthand knowledge of my generation, which is sometimes described as elusive, but is in actuality ready to embrace the mantle of leadership, if only we could be given the chance.

Let me give you a peek into the minds of millennials. Keep in mind that no one, in any generation, can be boxed neatly into specific characteristics. But these insights are what I've witnessed, experienced, and researched about these potential leaders.

  • Millennials need a cause. If you've ever wondered why this age group tends to run away from institutions (including, sadly, churches), it's because we aren't connecting with a cause—a reason. Millennials want to know if a cause is worth handing over our time and lives. When reaching out to millennials about leading GA, RA, or CA, put a focus on what these organizations do, not just what they are. Start by telling us how missions organizations teach kids about missionaries, and then take that even further. Give specific examples of kids who are taking what they learn and moving outside the church to share the love of Jesus with others. Show us the reason. Show us why you do what you do.
  • Millennials need real responsibility. This generation is ready to lead—we're just waiting for the gates to open. If you give responsibilities to millennials in your church, you are instilling in them a sense of trust. You are saying to them, "I believe in you, and I know you can do this." Reach out to millennials with the cause and the "why," and then follow through by giving them the responsibility of helping kids learn how to share the gospel with the world. As an added bonus, millennials who feel trusted with responsibility in the church are more likely to stick around!
  • Millennials need to feel like leaders. Everyone on this earth is an individual. We all have something unique to offer. But that also means we have differences, which are sometimes hard to mesh together. It's important to respect the individuality of all people, and this includes millennials who may have stepped up to a leadership role in your children's missions organizations. Understand that they might have a different style of leadership, and realize that their style needs to be fostered, encouraged, and mentored. Don't fret over your potential differences; instead, let new leaders work out their new leadership roles. Avoid trying to mold or force them to be just like you. Celebrate what makes you different and learn together how to make your time with kids as valuable as possible.

My prayer is that I've helped you feel more comfortable and knowledgeable about recruiting the millennial age group. While I'm not an expert, I do know from experience what my generation desires in life and how to help us use our talents. Don't run in fear from the term "millennial." We need you to help us step up to the plate. After all, millennials are the leaders of the future. Let's all work together to make sure that future involves a continued commitment to teaching kids to share the love of Christ with all the nations!

 

Jessica Graham is a copy editor for the Children's Resource Team at national WMU. She feels her faith grow daily just by copyediting GA, RA, and CA materials from start to finish. Jessica is passionate about reading, relationships, and bridging the generational divide.

 

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