It’s been noted by some generational analysts that millennials are the most cause-driven and transient generation in history. So, what’s the church to do? Like with other cultural questions, the church is left with these two options: mimic and cater to the cultural realities or leverage and redeem the cultural realities. I’d argue we ought to do the latter.
Data from the suggests that transience is the current reality of millennials. However, these statistics are not much different than previous generations during the same stage of life. So, rather than frustrating ourselves with the reality that our young adults won’t remain in one church forever, maybe we should consider how to effectively develop this generation so that we can mobilize them with confidence.
The research I’ve referred to in two recent posts (and ) suggests the need for a clear plan to develop and mobilize young adults in order to leverage their generational realities for the mission of God. One of the ways that we are to do this is to help them distinguish between the cause-driven tendencies of their generation and the mission-driven call of the church.
Here are six major distinctions between cause-driven and mission-driven.
- Costs individuals very little more than money
- Provides great potential recognition and notoriety
- Caters to the desires of theindividual
- Helps in building a resume
- Can be a means of vocational advancement and individual success
- Can flow from a willingness to give in order to get a good return
- Can cost an individual everything, even their life
- Often leads to suffering and provides little recognition or notoriety
- Requires great sacrificefrom the individual
- Helps in building the Kingdom of God
- Can be a means of leveraging vocation for the benefit of others
- Can only flow from a generous heart desiring to give at great cost
It’s entirely possible that we engage young adults in the opportunity to participate in a cause and never leverage them for the mission of God. Why settle for this? As my pastor, Pat Hood, often says, “God saved you to send you.” If we want to effectively engage young adults, we must create a runway to mobilize them for the larger purpose that God has made them to be a part of—the costly yet rewarding mission of God.
Steven Ackley, his wife Emily, and their four kids live out their love for anything sports and Cookout milkshakes in Murfreesboro, TN where Steven serves as the NextGen and College Pastor at LifePoint Church. Steven holds a D.Min. and an MDiv from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can connect with him on Twitter.