By Josiah Espinoza| November 19th, 2018
There has been an increase of restlessness in the Church among Millennials. As a Millennial myself I have experienced the burning desire to see a new movement of God where men and women in my generation are used to bring about revival and cultural reformation. We desire to see God use us to the fullest of our gifting and calling, but it seems like we are stifled at every turn. We think that the baby boomer generations ideas are “old” and in need of a “fresh perspective.” We sometimes allow our frustrations to pour out onto our social media platforms because we think we have no other real opportunity to speak about our ideas and when we do we are ridiculed for them. I know because I experience these things almost all the time. I burn with the desire to fulfill my calling to Pastor and Preach the word and that desire can overwhelmingly cause me to think that I am being prevented by the previous generations who will not give me the chance to do so. I hear the voices of my Millennial brothers and sisters and I can genuinely connect with all of them on these sentiments. I know that it can be discouraging. I know it can lead to thoughts of “packing up and leaving”. I know it can lead to passivity. It can lead you to think, “What’s the point, if at every opportunity I am told no”. Do not be discouraged! Our time will come. For the time being, let us remember a few things while we patiently wait.
1) Respect Our Elders
1 Peter 5:5 says, “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'” God has called us to humility. We must recognize that the older generation has valuable wisdom and knowledge that they can impart to us. I recognize in myself that I have the tendency to rely on my education and my academic accomplishments to justify my pride, but that is not how we are to be in Christ. We must be willing to learn from our past leaders. Now that does not mean that we simply jettison our newer ideas and different ways of thinking because someone older claims that we are wrong, but it does mean that when the older generation speaks, we listen, we engage with them meaningfully and we do not disrespectfully quarrel with them. For the Scriptures says “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.” (Lv. 19:32) Perhaps out of our decency and respect they will be willing to listen to us as well.
2) Work Diligently Meanwhile We Wait
Though we may not be doing precisely what we believe we are ultimately called to do, we still have many opportunities to serve God and his people. Preaching the gospel to our generation is one of the primary ways we can be about the Kingdom of God. If we take Matthew 28:18-20 seriously, then we will be unstoppable. No one understands our generation better than us. We speak the same language, we have experienced similar hardships, we have suffered through similar things, we are in the same “stages of life”. We have the youthful energy to invite one another to each others houses, to be hospitable and loving to our Millennial neighbors. We have an immense opportunity to be the light of the gospel of Jesus to so many of our peers. In 2019 Millennials are expected to outnumber boomers according to a Pew Research study, which means we have an entire generation to reach that will very soon become Presidents, Congressmen and Congresswomen, Governors, Mayors, Policeman, Teachers, Doctors, Pastors and Leaders. What will we do? Will we sit back and complain about the previous generation’s lack of motivation? Or will we go to work? Millennials are currently the most educated and the hardest working generation today! Do not let your gifts, talents and hard work go to waste. Let us be about our Father’s business and toil for the Kingdom.
3) Let No One Despise Your Youth
Millennials are far too often caricatured as whinny, spoiled children who still have growing up to do. I have been married almost 9 years, I have 4 children of my own and I think that people still feel this about me. Maybe because my thinking as a Millennial fundamentally clashes with the previous generation’s worldview. Perhaps it is due to the overall generalization of my generation, though I would argue that the boomers were characterized the same way during their hippie phase and yet God used them powerfully! Ultimately, I believe it has to do with the fact that I am 29 years old and in the eyes of the older generations there is nothing that we can possible teach them. But I will hold fast to 1 Tm. 4:12 which clearly encourages me and all Millennials. “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” As Millennials we recognize that people will despise us because of our age, but as Paul says, do not let it get to you. Recognize that your youthfulness is a gift and a treasure! Use it for the glory of Christ. Be the example to all others on how to speak about truth, to have meaningful conversation, especially if it is on our favorite method of communication, Facebook. Tell the truth, be respectful, control your words and do everything in love understanding that differences of opinion does not mean you do not love.
We are paving the way for the next generation. What example will we be to the world, to America? We should not be ashamed of the generation the Lord has put us in. Own it! We are Millennials, the next group of people that will bring glory to God, bring change to our local communities and that will pave the way for future generations.