One of the catchiest videos I’ve ever seen is entitled, “Gotta Love Millennials.” Sung to the old Beatles tune, Obladi-Oblada, its opening stanza provides a humorous picture of a stereotypical Millennial:
There he sits inside your local coffee shop
Sporting a man bun and facial hair
Somehow he believes although he has no job
That by his thirties he will be a millionaire …
The song goes on to poke fun at Millennials’ financial dependence on their parents, their inability to receive criticism, and the inflated confidence they developed by receiving “participation trophies.” (If video screen does not appear below, refresh your screen or click here.)
There are two ways to view this video. One way is to use it to reinforce a caricature that portrays all twenty-to-thirty-year-olds as being narcissistic, lazy and entitled.
The other way is to see it as a call to look past the stereotypes and seek ways to love and serve a generation that has so much potential and yet faces so many challenges.
These challenges are well documented. Although Millennials are the most highly educated generation ever, they face staggering college debts and are the most unemployed and under-employed generation in the last thirty years. As a result, their lives are often marked by frustration, fear, doubt and anxiety.
They also suffer from what Tim Elmore calls “artificial maturity.” Because of their life-long access to the internet, most Millennials have acquired a vast amount of information, which creates the appearance of being knowledgeable, disciplined and well-rounded. But most of this information is theoretical; it has not been acquired, refined or applied through real life experience. As a result, it often crumbles in the face of adversity.
One of the most common deficiencies that Elmore and others have identified among many Millennials is their weak relational skills. Their dependence on superficial social media has stunted their ability to engage in robust, empathetic, face-to-face relationships and successfully resolve the conflicts of real life. As a result, when they discover they can’t simply “de-friend” a difficult co-worker, they often quit a job and retreat to their parents’ basement until they find the courage to venture out again.
Fortunately, these patterns are not universal. Many Millennials are mature, disciplined, hard-working and relationally skilled. Our ministry has recently hired two such people to lead our new RW Ministry to Millennials.
As the daughter of the former Speaker Pro-tem of the Montana House of Representatives, Sarah Laszloffy developed a passion for public service at an early age. Sarah ran for office at 19 and is currently the youngest member of the Montana State House of Representatives. In her second term she chaired the House Education committee and served as caucus Majority Whip. Sarah now serves as the Training Coordinator for Relational Wisdom 360. She is a Certified Relational Wisdom Instructor and accomplished conference speaker. Prior to joining RW360, she was involved in a variety of Christian relief ministries, which took her to over thirteen countries. An avid athlete, she enjoys backpacking, rock climbing, ice climbing, skiing and sailing.
As my son, Jeff Sande has been immersed in biblical peacemaking from an early age. He began teaching relational wisdom at 18 and became a Certified Relational Wisdom Instructor at 21. He has traveled extensively, receiving outstanding reviews for his presentations at youth conferences and corporate training seminars (see A Wise Son Makes a Glad Father and My Wife’s Punch List Was Driving Our Son Crazy). Jeff is currently completing a double major in business management and marketing at Montana State University-Billings. He also works in the accounting department for a local business corporation and is leading the social media marketing program for Relational Wisdom 360. Jeff is an avid weight-lifter and holds a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Sarah and Jeff are available to serve your church, ministry or business as you seek to improve the relational skills of your young adults. They are skilled and winsome speakers who easily engage their audiences and provide humorous, practical and biblically-grounded ways that Millennials can apply the principles of relational wisdom to build on their strengths, overcome their weaknesses, and fulfill their potential as image-bearers of God.
If you’d like to explore the possibility of inviting Sarah or Jeff to speak for your group, please email Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org with details on your organization and needs.
We look forward to exploring ways that we can assist you in learning how to love and serve the Millennials that God brings into your church, ministry or business.
– Ken Sande
- Based on your personal experience, what are some of the most common characteristics of the 20-30 year-olds you know? What are their strengths? Their weaknesses? What challenges do they face?
- Why is it dangerous to stereotype a group of people?
- How does God look at this generation of young people?
- How has God positioned you to love and serve people in this generation? Are you taking full advantage of those opportunities? What could you do differently in the days ahead?
- How could your church, ministry or business utilize Sarah or Jeff to teach relational wisdom to your young adults?
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