How To Communicate With Millennials – Part #3

millennials

Well here is one more blog about communicating with millennials. I appreciate the guys who have shared that this discussion was helpful in understanding this generation that is so much a part of today’s world.

I want to finally answer the question: How do I communicate with millennials?

There is no magic bullet. I want to answer the question by asking YOU a question: How do YOU like to be communicated to/with?

That pretty much answers the question. With any generation the Bible lays a pretty solid foundation to help us with communicating. Proverbs is a classic book of God’s Word that addresses how much I need to think about my words and how I communicate with my words.

I don’t really think communicating with millennials is any different than communicating with the silent generation, the boomers, or busters.

But let me offer some insight: 

1. This generation will not be motivated by the false guilt that worked for some generations. I shared before that they don’t want to just talk about issues – they want to do something about it. Recently I was taken to task because it appeared that America’s Keswick was not addressing the who black/white/racism issue. Quite frankly I was stunned at the comment that was posted on my Facebook wall. The reality is that America’s Keswick HAS addressed these issues. This summer we had three black preachers share God’s Word for our summer conferences. Two specifically addressed the racism issues. Over the past 20 years, our ministry has become a ministry of color and every ethnic group. 50% of our Labor Day weekend guests were comprised of ethnic groups: Hispanic, Black, Asian and Indian. It was cool. My response to my critic was that we are not talking about it – we are living it.

All that to say is that if you want to motivate this generation – tell them the issues and then give them the freedom to use their giftedness to address that issue – not just financially – but hands on.

2. I am 62 years of age and I laugh because some of my “senior” friends still speak to me as if I was still 20 years old. Robert Hayes and I often joke that we must wear signs on our foreheads that read “ Village Idiot.” Sometime we are treated like we have no clue how to run a multi-millionaire non-profit ministry. So what am I say? The millennial generation are not just “kids!” They are educated, well-read, technologically equipped and connected, and eager to learn. Don’t come on to them as “I have all the answers and you are just a kid” mindset. Open your ears. Open your heart and let them verbalize what they are thinking. Listen to how they will solve a problem, address an issue, handle a task. Want a secret? Sometimes there ideas are even better than ours and you might be able to say, “Why didn’t I think about that?”

3. Focus on what’s right with millennials, not what’s wrong with them. They are far from perfect. But guess what – neither were we. The good old days were not necessarily all the good old days. My wife had to take me to task once in how I was communicating with our son, Zach. I was focusing in one all the things he wasn’t doing the way I thought he should. She looked me in the eye and said, “He’s a good kid. Keep this up, and you are going to lose him.” That really hurt and was a HUGE wake-up call. I wish I could tell you that I get it right with Zach all the time. But I have made huge progress – we’ll maybe you need to ask Zach that question.

So there you have it. I’d love to hear your feedback. Thanks for letting me share my heart.

Written by Dr. Bill Welte is President/CEO of America’s Keswick: He has been married to his child sweetheart for 40+ years, and has three married kids, one that is engaged, and 10 amazing grand kids. He loves music and is an avid reader.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 111; Proverbs 19

Daily Quote: Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. RUDYARD KIPLING

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:38-39

How to Communicate To Millennials

Group of young people sitting at a cafe, top view
“ … of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their command …” 1 Chronicles 12:32

Life does begin to look different at age 62. I know I have said this before, but it really does. And I find myself thinking much more about impact and legacy the closer I get to 65.

What I am not saying is that I am throwing in the towel at age 65. Dr. Howard Hendricks used to say that more guys have cardiac blow-outs on the way to Florida when they retire. And Moses didn’t get started until age 80 🙂

What I am realizing is that one of the things that really floats my boat right now is investing in the next generation and how important that is for so many of our ministries moving forward.

So this discussion will not just be one blog entry, but most likely will be a series of disconnected connected thoughts – my meanderings through this journey.

Just about every major ministry is getting ready to go through a transition at some point in the next five to six years. Some of these ministries will be faced with challenges because their entire scope of ministry is centered around a personality.

Can I give you a few? Charles Stanley. David Jeremiah. John MacArthur. Chuck Swindoll – just to name a few. The media ministry as you and I know it is about to make a shift. Few guys have been able to pull off still having media ministry after they are in glory. The only one that has really pulled it off is Dr. J. Vernon McGee. That guy has been dead for years, but still is high up on the radio stats.

Many ministries who have gone through the “succession” process have blundered their way through the process. I have been interviewing Christian leaders who have been through it and quite sadly, about all of the godly men that I have talked with only one was able to say it really went well.

Our ministry is going to be 119 years old this September. Very few ministries get to be 119. So I am very much praying through with much concern, where do we go from here.

Let me start by making some assumptions:

  1. God has it already figured out, but He seems to invite us to be a part of the process. That’s why we are strengthening our commitment to prayer for His leading and direction.
  2. God has not promised us that we will even be in existent as a ministry 5, 10 or 15 years from now. But we want to be faithful and good stewards of what He has given us, and until He tells us it is time to close the doors, our Board and leadership team what to be faithful to the call of God on our lives.
  3. Many of our leaders and teams are aging and close to retirement age so there is a good reason to think about investing in the next generation.

When I came to America’s Keswick 20 years ago, the lion share of our our team were a few years older and a few years younger than me. The “old guard” was a small minority. If I were to retire at age 65, the new guy coming in at age 42 would be inheriting a huge “old guard” and a small team of next generation leaders.

Please hear me. WHAT I AM NOT SAYING is that if you are over 50, 60 and 70, God can’t use you. We have had tons of people serving at America’s Keswick into their 80’s over the years and they have done so with excellence and integrity.

Our world is rapidly changing and with those changes come new challenges and opportunities that are hard for us even in our 50’s and 60’s to accept and handle. Just think about technology. 20 years ago when I first came, we only had a couple of computers. My Administrative Assistant was still using an IMB Selectric Word processor. Now we can do our work right from our smart phones. And the technology is advancing more rapidly than most of us can keep up with.

Well I have used up my words for this week. Stay tuned and hang in there with me. Please? I appreciate you.

Written by Dr. Bill Welte is President/CEO of America’s Keswick: He has been married to his child sweetheart for 40+ years, and has three married kids, one that is engaged, and 10 amazing grand kids. He loves music and is an avid reader.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 90; Proverbs 29

Daily Quote: “Anyone who stops learning is old … Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” ~Henry Ford

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? ~Romans 8:31-32