Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a Millennial Summit hosted by KLOVE and Air1 radio to listen and learn from some of the top millennial influencers such as Chelsea Krost, Stefanie O’Connell, Jaclyn Johnson, and Matt Valler.
As I listened intently, attentively jotting down notes, I began to reflect (okay…I let my mind drift during one of the presentations) on my last two years of being employed at Jesus Culture as the Director of Leadership Development. To give you some context of our work environment I am the oldest male on staff at the ripe age of 45. That would make me a GenXer if you are familiar with generational demographics.
I am surrounded by millennials (18-35 year olds) and love it. What I’m excited to share with you in this post are my observations of how I see millennials moving our ministry forward and how millennials can help move your organization into the future as well.
Love them well – Unconditional love is especially key in working with millennials. When we love and accept this generation instead of making stereotypical judgements about this generation it will result in relational loyalty. I work with some of the most loyal millennials on the planet, but it’s because we have relational leadership. Many times I fear previous generations expect organizational loyalty without investing any relational equity.
Listen to them – Give an ear to this generation. I was most impressed with KLOVE and Air1 for putting the Millennial Summit on yesterday. The event was primarily for their own employees to come and listen to these millennial cultural influencers and ask questions about what they could do to better prepare their organization as it related to the future. At JC we have the privilege of doing this every week because millennials are not only sitting at the table they are given a voice at the table. If you are going to be leading your organization into the future, you have to be willing to listen to the millennials who are living the future.
Learn from them – When we listen, we learn. Several years ago I read a book written by my friend Earl Creps titled, “Reverse Mentoring: How Young Leaders Can Transform the Church and Why We Should Let Them.” Though the title summarizes it well, the premise of the book is how older church leaders can learn from younger leaders who are more conversant with culture, technology, and social context. One of the things that I see present in our work environment is a humility in leadership that doesn’t have all the answers. Leaders that don’t always have the answer position themselves to learn from a generation that has a lot to teach us.
Lead with Them – Invite millennials to lead with you, not just follow you. One of the key attributes of this generation is they want to participate, they want to get involved and take action. Let this generation lead you boldly into a future that only they can bring you into. All our directors (some our millennials) practice this principle. We don’t try to do everything, but we empower everyone. We invite, include and empower a generation to lead!
Love them, Listen to them, Learn from them, Lead with them and watch your organization move forward into the future ahead with millennials at the forefront.