The Millennial Leader: An Introduction

I started laughing before I typed a single letter of this blog entry. “The Millennial Leader”–even the words make me laugh. I have to tell you, I have worked with a lot of millennials. In my current job, I started out surrounded by millennials. One was very smart but incredibly insecure; one was gorgeous but made very stupid decisions on the daily; and one was fairly smart and hard-working. All three were women. I currently work with one millennial male, and he’s a mix of all three of those. Somewhat smart, makes stupid decisions on the daily, hard-working, gorgeous (lol). He is a far better example of what millennial leadership should look like than the girls were–which, as a woman myself, naturally upsets me.

Millennials are the subject matter of leadership material everywhere; interesting, because my generation never needed books written on how to deal with us, work with us, or train us to be leaders. Seems most of us just naturally figured it out. But with these new generations, that is not the case. There are tons of videos, articles, and books that deal only with how to work with millennials and groom them for leadership. The truth is, millennials are a lot of hard work in the workplace. Looking at the four I mentioned up there, only one has moved on to do bigger and better things–the fairly smart hardworking woman. The rest are floundering, because they entered into an organization that did not train them properly, work with them on their skills (leadership and otherwise), and expected far too much of them in an environment not well-suited for them. That is partially the fault of organizations and companies worldwide; the rest of the blame falls on parents, culture, and millennials themselves who have been handled with kid gloves so they only respond to compliments, praise, and rewards.

And if there’s one place where millennials are getting far too many leadership opportunities and not nearly enough training, it is in the church. Don’t get me wrong; I see the need for millennials in our churches. We want and NEED this generation to be involved in the church and contributing to its success. However, we are doing them an injustice by not giving them proper training and support and making sure they are being healed from their issues prior to throwing them into ministry.

My church is no different. I can look across our campuses and see the involvement of millennials as pastors (youth, worship, children’s, even campus pastors). But I also see where we as a church have failed them. We plucked many of them from their former environments–where some of them are struggling to overcome family issues, addictive behaviors, and worse–and expected them to lead ministries and people without giving them the resources to succeed.

And as this is happening, the millennials themselves are demanding to “have a seat at the table”–to contribute and speak their minds without fear of failure. And all the while, they are failing to lead with integrity and failing to thrive because they refuse to be held accountable, refuse to give up their vices (desiring to be worldly and godly at the same time), and refuse to mature emotionally (and thus, spiritually). And I am watching it happen with great sadness.

And yet, my worship leader, at the tender age of 23, stands head and shoulders above his peers. I’ve led and coached a number of people in my lifetime, and I’ve been led by a number of people in my lifetime. And I am also very proud to say that he’s one of the best leaders with whom I have ever worked.

I am excited to share how a ministry team can thrive under a spiritually mature millennial who leads with integrity and honor. You don’t want to miss this!

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