A great post on Millennials from my friend Carson Clark over at “Musings of a Hardlining Moderate”! Read and share 🙂
By Carson Clark
The last month quite a few people have been picking my brain about how to effectively minister to my peers, the Millennial generation. The first thing I often say is, “Millennials don’t like Superman. Not like their parents and grandparents, anyway. They like Batman.” Once the puzzled looks set in I clarify, “You won’t understand my generation and won’t effectively minister to them until you truly grasp that, and understand why that is.” I’ll unpack that in four ways.
First, Millennials on the whole aren’t a big fan of things that are campy. Thus the dark tone of the acclaimed Dark Knight Trilogy, the commercial failure of Superman Returns, and the recent removal of the red underwear in Man of Steel. This is why most Millennials prefer The Passion of the Christ to Fireproof and Switchfoot to Newsboys. This also explains why no Millennial I’ve ever met really likes Thomas Kincaid or Precious Moments. Cheesiness repels us. .
Second, Millennials tend not to resonate with outward displays of perfection and invincibility. We find Superman rather boring and unrelatable. He flew really fast? He picked up another plane? He punched a bad guy really, really hard? Yawn. Such superhuman physical and psychological strength is simply unrelatable. That’s why pastors need to jettison the old model public persona of the flawless, all-knowing leader. Weakness draws us.
Third, Millennials are often tired of being treated like they’re “special” just for existing. Superman was born with superpowers. Woopty doo. Batman, on the other hand, went to the Far East in order to gain his skills through hard work. One of the latent traits I’ve observed among my generation is an eagerness to achieve something. That’s why the widespread impulse to dumb it down and make it as easy as possible is exactly the opposite of what’s needed. Challenge inspires us.
Lastly, Millennials seem to have a much more nuanced/ambiguous worldview. We snicker at Superman’s “Truth, Justice, and the American Way.” We prefer Batman Begins in which Bruce Wayne muses, “The first time I stole so that I wouldn’t starve, yes, I lost many assumptions about the simple nature of right and wrong. And when I traveled I learned the fear before a crime and the thrill of success. But I never became one of them.” Complexity intrigues us.
In light of all this, let’s give a couple practical examples of how to minister to Millennials. If you’re a dude and you act like you’ve never struggled with lust and never looked at online porn, we’re pretty much going to immediately write you off as full of crap. The same thing goes for a woman who acts like she has never struggled with body image issues. Be open. Be honest. Be real. Most Millennials want to know you empathize and are vulnerable. If you can’t, leave us alone.