Be the Force! Millennials & Boomers Working Together
by Dave Geenens
As a volunteer high school football coach, I used the physics equation for force to help our under-sized linemen embrace the work and process required to defeat larger opposing linemen. The formula is: force = mass x acceleration (or speed). The key to a smaller object (little mass) generating a force great enough to move a larger object (lots of mass) is speed.
Think of your Church as the under-sized lineman and some of the world’s biggest problems as the much larger opponent. The only way the Church makes a significant impact on those problems is to increase its acceleration or speed. Now consider that within most of our congregations there exists two groups who, if properly harnessed, have the heart and capability to create that force.
Millennials are one of those groups, characterized by an unashamed and unfiltered desire to change the world! That desire applies to their work places and, equally, to the greater world around them. They don’t want to work at a place where the work doesn’t matter, yet they simply don’t have all the tools needed to accomplish their idealistic dreams. They’re ready to move NOW, but the Church’s pace of impact and related change is an anathema to Millennials.
Then you have the Baby-boomers; a generation of people who are entering their retirement years healthier and wealthier than any previous generation in history. They have resources and practical experience yet feel under-utilized and all but ignored. They are frustrated as they watch the Church continue to choose traditional mission strategies that focus on relief and create little or no lasting change. They give of their resources, yes, but there is so much more they want to offer in terms of sustainable answers to huge problems. They, too, are ready NOW, but plod along with the pace of the Church.
These two groups together possess the heart and the capability to change the face of church missions. And church missions has the potential to genuinely and effectively address many of the world’s problems. The key is for church leadership to create the space to bring them together, consecrate their efforts, and release them to do what God has equipped them to do.
Outside of the Church, a current macro-trend is building that is invisible to many. While the well-publicized largest transfer of wealth to future generations is forthcoming as the Baby-boomers pass away, the largest transfer of business leadership is upon us! The Gen-Xers and the Millennials are the heirs to the reigns of business for the next 50 years! The Church, fueled by the hearts of the Millennials and the capabilities of the Baby-boomers, with Gen-Xers filling the void, has the unbelievable opportunity to harness the reigns of business for the good of all mankind!
But this can’t and won’t happen without the Church intentionally changing its approach both to missions as well as the very people who can help us make the kind of lasting difference the world is desperately seeking. If the Church can do this, it will find an abundance of highly motivated and capable people ready and willing to help the Church be the force!
This year SATtalks invited a number of Millennials to share their thoughts about church missions and sustainable transformation. Hear what Lindsey Strickler and John McGovern had to say in their SATtalk entitled, “There Shouldn’t Be a Line.” Both are entrepreneurs involved in business startups and have a deep love for the church. They want to be solving meaningful problems and creating meaningful change and believe business is a tool God can use to transform communities.
They don’t see life in compartments like secular vs sacred, business vs ministry or even Millennials vs Boomers. Instead they take a both/and approach and ask of both Millennials and Boomers, “What problems exist that we can solve together, “you have passion, I have wisdom how do we remove the line between the two and use them to drive our mission forward to live out what Christ has called us to?”
Watch Lindsey Strickler’s and John McGovern’s 2016 SATtalk – “There Shouldn’t Be a Line”
Dave Geenens is the President and CFO of Fire Door Solutions as well as Associate Professor in the School of Business at Benedictine College. He’s the author of three books and serves on the board of Significant Matters