Leading today's young adults might not be as hard as you think.
who should lead twentysomethings?
By Jacob Riggs
“We need someone in our church to lead twentysomethings...but who?"
However, the answer isn’t as difficult as you might think.
We assume a leader of twentysomethings has to:
Look cool. You dress trendy and use a lot of product in your hair.
Know pop culture. The Office is Tivo’d, and you can instantly recall the name of the most recent American Idol winner.
Be online. Because if you don’t twitter, you’ve got no chance at connecting with this generation.
If the list above leaves you scratching your head in confusion, it’s okay. I don’t think any of these stipulations are necessary to be a good leader of twentysomethings (although it might help to be on facebook). No, the important requirements run deeper than that.
Let me give you an example.
I have a friend who influences my generation heavily. He is very well respected. College students and twentysomethings love to hear him speak. He has counseled countless twentysomethings.
He wears penny-loafers, khakis with pleats, parts his gray hair from right to left, has probably never seen The Office, could care less who won American Idol this season, and doesn’t have time for Twitter.
What is it about this man that resonates so much with the twentysomething generation?
First, he is willing to listen. My generation longs for someone who is interested in them. We have been the targets of marketing our entire lives. We see hundreds of advertisements every day. Everyone wants something from us. So when we find someone willing just to listen and give a little, we jump on it.
If you can learn to listen, you can lead twentysomethings.
The second reason this man resonates with my generation is that he’s genuine. The absolute worst thing you can do when trying to reach out to twentysomethings is to be someone you’re not. Don’t even go there. It won’t work. We will see right through you, and you’ll lose our respect in an instant.
If you can be genuine, you can lead twentysomethings.
Finally, this man resonates with twentysomethings because his passion for God is obvious. This is the ultimate common denominator. It’s what you’re trying to connect my generation to. And it’s what we long for and need!
If you have a passionate love for God, you can lead twentysomethings!
The church needs you to reclaim what’s been lost. My generation (in general) has left, and someone needs to do something about it. Why not you?
You can listen.
You can be yourself.
You can love God.
You can lead twentysomethings.
About the Writer: Jacob Riggs is associate editor at Randall House Publications. He’s been married to Lynsey for over a year now. He graduated from Free Will Baptist Bible College in 2008, is currently working on his MAR degree at Reformed Theological Seminary, and writes a blog about twentysomething ministry at www.afrayedknot.com.