I recently taught on the subject of connecting the generations as a Tennessee Baptist Convention’s Woman’s Missions & Ministries Annual event. The following week I heard from a 23 year old young woman named Kate who was in that class and thought her comments were very helpful for us as leaders to read. I am sharing her thoughts with you here. Whether you agree completely with her perspective or not, these thoughts are on the hearts and minds of many young women and we must find a way to connect and support, and even clarify issues between our generations at times. Especially read the last paragraph as to what drew this young woman to the conference in the first place.
"I’m not sure if this will be of any significance or interest to you, but I thought I’d share a few thoughts I had during the session. First, I really appreciated the information about generations…I appreciate solid facts in research and agree with the findings of the characteristics of the Builder, Boomer, Buster, and Bridger generation. It was good to realize significant patterns in the generations so that I can appreciate them more. And though I would consider my grandmother one of my best friends, I think a better understanding the Builder Generation will help me to better understand her.
Secondly, I totally agree with you that if we don’t change our approach to reaching my generation, we will lose them. I have taught girls Sunday School for quite some time, though I am not currently doing so. I was also on staff as a girls youth intern at my previous church and grew up in the Southern Baptist church. However, I have to be honest. I have been somewhat disillusioned with it. I saw where funds went to things such as bigger buildings and better sound systems. The same summer as I interned, I also frequented the refugee camps in northern Uganda where Joseph Kony has ravaged. As are many of the women in my generation, I am so passionate about fighting injustices. I believe we’ll see an end to the AIDS pandemic, just like I believe we’ll end human trafficking’s evil.
The past few years, I’ve been feeling like we, the church, have ignored hard issues like pornography (which I believe really funds trafficking), human trafficking itself, poverty, AIDS, homosexuality, etc. I have heard “love the sinner, hate the sin” and I absolutely disagree with that whole line of thinking. Long story short, I’ve seen a big emphasis on potlucks, mega-church ministries, golf tournaments, and even missions, but not on fighting injustice. The idea of spreading the gospel (which I am absolutely in favor of) is core to the faith, but the gospel is hard to hear when one is hungry, drinking unclean water, or suffering from a preventable disease like malaria.
I am willing to front these issues head on. I am not scared of them and I think this is pretty reflective of my generation. You are right, our generation needs depth and we certainly need real people fighting real issues and showing the love of Christ in that way. I also contend that women are in some ways treated inferiorly in the Baptist church, which is not reflective of my generation… it’s a huge detriment, in my opinion to not encourage our women to lead and to pray and speak publically.
On a more positive note, I was not going to attend the conference, but heard that one of the themes was human trafficking, so I decided to come. The Lord really showed me much grace, in that I was able to see Christian women passionate about learning about and fighting something that is so tragic and is in our backyards."
I know you appreciate like I do, this young leaders thoughts and her willingness to share!
Women Reaching Women, Revised and Expanded version, Chris Adams
Lost and Found, Stetzer, Stanley & Hayes
Context, Threads by LifeWay
The Millennials, Thom Rainer & Jess Rainer
Respect: Meaningful Ministry with Baby Boomers in your Church and Community, Craig & Gandy
Essential Church, Rainer & Rainer
Simple Church, Rainer & Geiger
The Barna Group on-line, http://barna.org
Gen Trends, http://www.gentrends.com/
Scouting the Divine, Margaret Feinberg
No Other Gods, Kelly Minter
Interrupted, Jen Hatmaker
Sacred Roads, Heather Zempel
The Tough Sayings of Jesus, Michael Kelley
What Do You Do With Your Wait?, Mike Harder
Connect the Dots, Mike Hurt
unChristian, David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons