International (MNN) — Millennials: young adults currently between the ages of 18 and 35. You may associate the words “lazy” or “entitled” with this generation. Micah Tyler’s catchy and viral song sums up the way most people view Millennials.
Millennials number about two billion worldwide or 27 percent of the global population. According to this July report, most of them live in one of five countries: India, China, the United States, Indonesia, or Brazil.
In Western nations, most Millennials are tech-savvy. That often puts them on the fast-track to management positions in the corporate world. As stated here, 50 percent of working Millennials are in leadership positions, and 41 percent have four or more people reporting to them.
When it comes to church leadership, Ken Janke of Global Advance says passing the baton is difficult for some leaders. But, maybe not for the reasons you assume.
“One of the things we kept hearing from these leaders was, ‘This Millennial generation…we want to involve them in the work of advancing the Gospel and completing the Great Commission…but we don’t understand what it takes to do that. Can you help us?’”
What Millennials have to offer
Earlier this year, Global Advance surveyed more than 400 Millennial Christians from 24 countries about their spiritual needs and perspectives. See their answers here.
The results of the survey were more than encouraging.
“We’re beginning to see how Millennials are wired up to walk in both of those fields of marketplace and pastoring, frontline leadership,” says Janke.Millennials also appear to have been gifted with an “entrepreneurial grace,” he adds.
“I like to refer to it as a ‘pioneering’ gift among Millennials…. They have aspirations of starting entrepreneurial businesses that have social impact, or social justice mechanisms built into them, that can be powerfully leveraged for Kingdom impact.
“They just think differently about how to go about pioneering new things.”
It’s clear that a bright future lies ahead for Millennial leaders, but there are also challenges.
While Generation Y is confident in many ways, they’re also insecure. Respondents said self-awareness was their “greatest leadership challenge,” says Janke. Millennials admitted they didn’t know enough about themselves.
A second challenge involves those currently in authority.
“They’re looking for someone to champion them and to help them…take the next step in their ideas…for how to advance the Gospel in their context.”
Bridging the leadership gap
Knowledge is nothing without action. In 2017, Global Advance is taking their NextGen initiative to a new level.
“We’re trying to take real strategic steps to train and equip both Millennials as well as existing leadership on…leadership characteristics that are scriptural and biblical…that can help bridge this leadership gap,” Janke says.
“We’re going to nine nations in 2017 that we’ve never been to…Africa, Europe, Asia, [and the] Middle East, gathering Millennials, training and equipping them; but, not only that, we’re also gathering the pastors in those nations to learn about the seven leadership principles we pulled from this survey.”