Monday, October 31, 2016

Do you really think " my little vote won't make a difference".

Reprinted from an essay provided by the Honorable Mary Morgan, Supervisor of Elections, Collier County, Florida.

The most often heard excuse for not voting in an election is "my one little vote won't make a difference." Yet history is full of instances proving the enormous power of one single vote. In many cases, the course of nations has been changed because one individual ballot was cast, or not cast, depending upon your point of view. Consider this........

In 1645, one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England.

In 1649, one vote literally cost King Charles I of England his head. The vote to behead him was 67 against and 68 for -- the ax fell thanks to one vote.

In 1714, one vote placed King George I on the throne of England and restored the monarchy.

In 1776, one vote gave America the English language instead of German (at least according to folk lore.)

In 1800, the electoral college met in the respective states to cast their two votes for President. At that time, the U.S. Constitution provided the candidate receiving the most electoral votes would become President and the candidate receiving the second highest number of votes would become Vice President. When the results of the electoral college votes were opened by both houses of Congress, there was a tie vote for President between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. That threw the election of President into the House of Representatives where Thomas Jefferson was elected our third president by a one vote margin.

In 1824, none of the four Presidential candidates received an electoral majority. The election was again thrown into the House of Representatives, where John Quincy Adams defeated front runner Andrew Jackson by one vote to become the nation's 6th president. Andrew Jackson received the majority of the nation's popular vote.

In 1844, in the backwoods area of Switzerland County, Indiana on election day, a farmer named Freeman Clark lay seriously ill in bed. He begged his sons to carry him to the county seat so he could vote for David Kelso to become a state senator. David Kelso had defended old Freeman Clark on a murder charge and obtained his acquittal. The old farmer Freeman Clark got to vote for Kelso, but Clark died on his way back home. Kelso won the election by one vote. Both Freeman Clark and David Kelso were long-time Andrew Jackson supporters.

In 1844, when the new Indiana senate convened, Democrats had a majority of one counting David Kelso. At that time, state senates had the task of electing the state's United States Senator. The Indiana Senate Democrats held a caucus where it developed a majority of the party delegation favored a man who would vote against the annexation of Texas if elected to the U.S. Senate. David Kelso refused to vote for the Democratic Party choice and a deadlock resulted between the Democratic and Whig candidates. This continued for days. Finally, Kelso made his move. He proposed a new candidate: Edward A. Hannigan. In his party caucus, Kelso notified his Democratic associates he would bolt and vote with the Whigs thus electing a Whig to the Senate - unless the Democrats supported Hannigan. The Democrats felt constrained to accept Hannigan who was then elected as Indiana's U.S. Senator by one vote -- that of David Kelso.

In 1845, Texas was admitted to the union as a state by one vote -- that of Edward A. Hannigan from Indiana. The 1844 and 1845 excerpts on the series of single votes leading to Texas statehood are from the book Magnificent Destiny.

In 1846, a one vote margin in the U.S. Senate approved President Polk's request for a Declaration of War against Mexico.

In 1850, California was admitted to the union by a margin of one vote.

In 1859, Oregon was admitted to the union by a margin of one vote.

In 1867, The Alaska Purchase was ratified by just one vote paving the way for the eventual admission of America's largest state in 1958.

In 1868, one vote in the U.S. Senate saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment.

In 1875, a one vote margin changed France from a monarchy to a republic.

In 1875, Florida's U.S. Senators were still elected by the state legislature. Democrat Charles W. Jones of Pensacola was elected to the U.S. Senate by a majority of one vote.

In 1876, no presidential contender received a majority of electoral votes so the determination of the country's president was again thrown into the U.S. House of Representatives. By a one vote margin, Rutherford B. Hayes became the new U.S. president. When Tilden's party protested the tabulation and demanded a recount, Congress established a 15-member electoral commission to again count the electoral votes and declare the result. By an eight to seven margin - again, one vote -- the commission affirmed the count and gave the election and presidency to Hayes.

In 1885, two members of the Florida House of Representatives waged a friendly but close contest for Speaker of the House. Robert W. Davis of Green Cove Springs defeated Gen. Ernest Yonge of Pensacola by one vote.

In 1889, by a one vote margin, Washington was admitted to statehood with the union.

In 1890, by a one vote margin, Idaho became a state.

In 1916, if presidential hopeful Charles E. Hughes had receive one additional vote in each of California's precincts, he would have defeated President Woodrow Wilson's re-election bid.

On November 8, 1923, members of the then recently -- formed revolutionary political party met to elect a leader in a Munich, Germany beer hall. By a majority of one vote they chose an ex-soldier named Adolph Hitler to become the Nazi Party leader.

In 1940, the vote taken by the French parliament to maintain its status as a republic failed by a margin of one vote.

In 1941, the Selective Service Act (the draft) was saved by a one vote margin -- just weeks before Pearl Harbor was attacked.

In 1948, a Texas convention voted for Lyndon B. Johnson over ex-Governor Coke Stevens in a contested Senatorial election. Lyndon Johnson because U.S. Senator by a one vote margin.

In 1948, if Thomas E. Dewey had gotten one vote more per precinct in Ohio and California, the presidential election would have been thrown into the U.S. House of Representatives where Dewey enjoyed more support than his rival -- incumbent Harry Truman. As it was, Dewey was expected to win the general election by a landslide so most Republicans stayed home. Only 51.5 percent of the electorate voted. Truman defeated Dewey.

In a 1955 city election in Huron, Ohio, the mayor was elected to office by one vote.

In a 1959 city election, mayors of both Rose Creek and Odin, Minnesota were elected to their respective offices by one vote.

In the 1960 presidential election, an additional one vote per precinct in Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, and Texas may have altered the course of America's modern history by denying John F. Kennedy the presidency and placing Richard Nixon in the White House eight years earlier.

In 1962, the governors of Maine, Rhode Island, and North Dakota were all elected by a margin of one vote per precinct.

In 1984, a Monroe County, Florida commissioner was elected by one vote.

In 1994, the U.S. House of Representatives enacted a law banning specific classes of assault weapons. The vote was initially tied but one member changed his vote to approve the ban.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Punching holes in the darkness!

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94), the author of classic books like Treasure IslandKidnapped, and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, spent his childhood in Edinburgh, Scotland. Apparently, one evening, when he was a young child, as dusk was turning to darkness, Robert had his face pinned to the window at the front of his house fascinated by the lamplighter coming down the street, with his ladder and burning wick, lighting the old-fashioned gas street lamps and setting them ablaze for the night. 

Seeing their son glued to the window, his parents asked him, ‘Robert, what in the world are you looking at out there?’ With great excitement he exclaimed, ‘Look at that man! He’s punching holes in the darkness!’

Punching holes in the darkness! That is what it must have seemed like to an impressionable young child watching the descending darkness being driven away, bit by bit, by the lamplighter as he lit the various lamps along the street. And this, of course, is what Jesus Christ came into our world to also do – not by lighting old-fashioned gas street lamps – but simply by his Presence and his Passion! 

The Apostle John tells us, in the Prologue to the Gospel that bears his name, that with his Incarnation Jesus ‘brought light to everyone … a light that shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot extinguish it … the One who is, in and of himself, the true light who gives light to everyone’ (John 1:4-9). In reality it is impossible to separate the Incarnation and the Cross – they are, in effect, the ‘head and tail’ of the same coin. Without Christ’s Passion – the events surrounding his death and resurrection – his Incarnation would have been pointless! But, equally, without his Incarnation, the Passion simply would not have taken place!?

But what does John mean by Jesus Christ being ‘light’ for everyone here in this section of the Prologue to his Gospel? Clearly ‘light’ here is not simply indicative of ‘light as natural phenomena’ or even metaphorically of ‘light as a natural understanding of things – the natural gaining of knowledge and wisdom’ and so on. The ‘light’ that John refers to here is ‘spiritual revelation’, the ‘understanding of spiritual things’. 

It is, as the Apostle Paul tells us elsewhere, particularly ‘the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’ (2 Corinthians 4:6). In reality it is the key to all true understanding. It takes us well on the way to finding answers for all the key questions of life – Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? Accessing this light is essential. As someone once wisely said, ‘We need an understanding of spiritual things, and a spiritual understanding of other things!’

Later on in John’s Gospel, John records that Jesus re-enforced this great truth when he bluntly spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life!’ (John 8:12). 

Fascinatingly however, Matthew tells us that in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus also told those who would follow him, ‘You are the light of the world!’ (Matthew 5:14). So how can Jesus be ‘the light of the world’ and we – all those who choose to ‘name the Name  of Christ’ – both be ‘the light of the world’ at one and the same time? Well, simply by allowing Jesus to live in and through us! In and of ourselves, we cannot bring spiritual light to anyone!? But if we allow the light of Christ to shine through us to others, then we too can be the vehicles, the channels, the instruments through whom God can work in the lives of others! God’s purpose, in coming into this world in the Person of Jesus Christ, was to ‘punch holes in the darkness’ for us! 

And his on-going purpose for his Church – all those who truly ‘name the Name of Christ’ themselves – is that we too should ‘punch holes in the darkness’ for others! As Jesus himself also taught us in the Sermon on the Mount, ‘In the same way, let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven’ (Matthew 5:16)! So, wherever we are – and wherever we go – let us endeavour to let God’s love shine through us so that, by our manner of conversation and life, we too will ‘punch holes in the darkness’ – the spiritual darkness that surrounds us!

It is vital that the Church – particularly ‘local churches’ – grasp the importance of this principle! It is all too easy for us to become very ‘inward looking’, a ‘holy huddle’ obsessed with ourselves, our problems, the way ‘we’ do things, the way ‘we’ worship, etc. rather than seeking to genuinely be ‘a caring Christian church at the heart of the community’. 

Having ‘retired’ from the Baptist Ministry some four years ago now, I have had the opportunity to visit a number of local churches, during that period, simply as a member of the congregation. One of the things that has struck me in that time has been the absence of Intercessory Prayer in many churches during the main Sunday Services. I have often come away wondering ‘If we aren’t praying for the Church and the World – particularly for our local town or community – in our Services, who is?’ For me – whatever else we may seek to do in our local community – intercessory prayer is vital if we are truly to be ‘salt’ and ‘light’ and ‘leaven’!

The Grace Outpouring (first published in 2008) is the remarkable story of how a small Community of Christians in rural West Wales brought significant blessing to their local community simply by regularly and consistently praying God’s blessing on that community. I would encourage you to read the book for yourself – a new, more up-to-date edition is about to be published – and be both challenged and inspired as a result. 

The book encourages us to ‘imagine a House of Prayer in every town. Imagine churches filled with Christians who want to bless others; who want to pray and then stand back and watch God at work, changing lives before their very eyes!’ In other words Christians, and local churches, prayerfully ‘punching holes in the darkness’!

O Jesus son of God, so full of grace and truth,
The Father’s saving Word, so wonderful are you.
The Angels longed to see, and prophets searched to find,
The glory we have seen revealed.

You shone upon the earth, but who will understand?
You came unto Your own, but who will recognize?
Your birth was prophesied, for You were the Messiah,
Who came and walked upon the Earth.

Your glory we have seen, the one and only King,
And now You’re living in our hearts!
Light of the world, light of the world,
Light of the world, You shine upon us!

~ Matt Redman (1974- )

Contributed by Jim Binney

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Don’t Let Your Politics Trump Your Christian Principles

During the political season some of us seem to say and do things unbecoming of Christians. I suppose  it has always been this way, but I believe fear and anxiety have been exacerbated by social media and the 24 hour news cycle. 

So this is a friendly reminder to not allow your politics to trump your Christian principles.

Be Wise

Whoever you’re voting for – or whether or not you’re even voting – you probably think your political choice is the wise choice. You most likely want others to see the wisdom in your choice. There is nothing wrong with that.

 But let me ask you, what is real wisdom? What does wisdom look like?
Most people think wisdom is just about knowledge; making the right choices and having the best arguments. However, James wrote, “Wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17).

When you interact with people about politics, are you being peaceable? Are you being gentle? Are you being “open to reason”? That phrase means you can easily be convinced when someone presents a solid counterargument. So when you interact with people, are you showing yourself to be “open to reason” or are you showing yourself to be stubborn and hard-headed?

You might very well be making the best choice politically, but that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily being wise about how you express your political views. I think we could use a little more “wisdom from above” in the current political season.

Don’t Gossip or Slander

There is a vast difference between sharing your thoughts about a legitimate news item and passing along conspiracy theories that may or may not be true, simply because they bolster your political argument. Whether or not you like the person, or agree with their policies, you must remember that every political candidate is an actual human being created in the image of God.

When you speak about a political candidate, the same “rules” apply as when you are talking about your next door neighbor. Even if you don’t like your neighbors, even if your neighbors are horrible people, it doesn’t give you the right to spread rumors about them. You still must treat your neighbors – and political candidates – as you would like to be treated (Matthew 7:12). Do you really want others spreading nasty rumors about you?

Colossians 3:8 says, “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” You do not have the right to talk maliciously about, or spread rumors about, someone just because they are running for public office.

We must stand for truth. And standing for truth doesn’t just mean supporting the right candidates or the right policies, it also means verifying everything for accuracy before spreading it to others.

Don’t Be Divisive

The church has too much division already and the way we express our opinions about politics often causes even more division. There is nothing wrong with expressing your opinions, but when you express them in such a way that you make your brothers and sisters in Christ your enemies, your opinion has become a spiritual problem.

Yes, the character and the policies of those holding public office are important. Yes, lives hang in the balance. But we cannot sacrifice the unity of the church in order to achieve our political aims.

Romans 12:16 says, “Live in harmony with one another.” 

And Proverbs 6:19 says the Lord hates when someone sows discord among brothers.

Politics are temporary. 

The church and your soul are eternal. 

Don’t let temporary things trump eternal things,

Contributed by 

Wes McAdams

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Failure of Short Term Optimism

On September 6, 1965, Admiral James Stockdale’s A-4 Skyhawk was shot down over Viet Nam. The injured Stockdale found himself captured and imprisoned in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton”, where he was a prisoner of war for over seven years. He was the highest ranking naval officer held as a prisoner of war in the Viet Nam war.


Stockdale was kept in solitary confinement for four years, placed in irons for two years, denied medical care and malnourished. Despite these terrible conditions, he led an “underground resistance movement” which brought hope and a sense of esprit de corps to his fellow POW’s. Still, many prisoners died under these grueling circumstances. Finally, in 1973, the brave admiral was released, and awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor is 1976 by President Ford.

 Several years later, author and researcher, Jim Collins, interviewed Stockdale in the campus of Stanford University, and asked the decorated offer how he coped with the demoralizing effects of his imprisonment.

 Stockdale replied, “I never lost faith in the end the end of the story. I never doubted that not only would I get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”

 Then, Collins asked, “Who didn’t make it out?”

 "Oh, that’s easy,” Stockdale responded, “The optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas.' And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter.' And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart."

 Now, I certainly believe in optimism. The title of my newspaper column, “Positively Speaking”, speaks to that. However, I believe Stockdale was right.

 A misplaced, short term optimism can lead to failure and disillusionment. It’s much better to focus on the long term.

 Some day
 Some way
 I’m going to make it.

 Things may not go as I’ve expected or desired, but I’m not going to let a few temporary setbacks keep me from my ultimate destiny. Rarely, does a person follow a straight path from success to success. Usually, there’s quite a winding road, replete with failures, frustrations, shortcomings, and disappointments.

 The important thing is to keep plugging on, regardless of the short term circumstance. Eventually, you’ll find your way.

 Success is getting up one more time than you fall down.

Contributed by Mark Wilson

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Three Sure Ways to Create Conflict

“Any fool can start arguments; the honorable thing is to stay out of them”                                                                      (Proverbs 20:3 TEV).

Wise people are peacemakers, not troublemakers. Wise people don’t carry a chip on their shoulder. They’re not always looking for a fight, and they don’t intentionally antagonize other people.

The fact is, if you’re around anybody for any length of time, you’ll figure out what that person does that irritates you, and you file that information in the back of your mind as a tool to use when you get in an argument. It becomes a personal “weapon of mass destruction”! When you get in an argument, and that person says something that hurts, offends, or slights you in any way, then you pull out the big gun. You push the hot button. And it works every time!

You know what the Bible calls that? Foolishness! You’re not getting any closer to the resolution. You’re not helping the relationship. In fact, you’re hurting it. It is not wise.

Proverbs 20:3 says, “Any fool can start arguments; the honorable thing is to stay out of them” (TEV).

We all use tools, tricks of the trade, and skills in relationships that are actually counter productive. They’re hurtful, they’re harmful, and they don’t get you what you want out of relationships. In fact, they get you the exact opposite behavior. But when we lack wisdom, we use them anyway.

There are many of these tools, but here are just a few:

1.   Comparing. Never compare your wife, your husband, your kids, your boss, or anybody else, because everybody’s unique. Comparing antagonizes anger.

2.   Condemning. When you start laying on the guilt in a relationship, all you’re going to do is get the exact opposite of what you expect. It doesn’t work. It’s foolish.

3.   Contradicting. William James, the famous psychologist said, “Wisdom is the art of knowing what to overlook.” There’s some stuff you just need to overlook.

The Bible says in Proverbs 14:29, “A wise man controls his temper. He knows that anger causes mistakes” (TLB). Have you ever said or done anything stupid out of anger? Yes? Because when you get angry, your intelligence goes out the window. When you get angry, you say and do foolish things that are actually self-defeating.

Did you ever think about the fact that there is only one letter difference between “anger” and “danger”? When you get angry, you are in dangerous territory. You are about to hurt others — and yourself — with your own anger.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

As you prayer - What are you counting on?

Tonight we gather for prayer at 7:00pm in the Worship Center of Gastonia First Wesleyan Church.  Here is a little primer for our time together this evening.....

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

10 Characteristics of Churches that GROW!

I’m sure you’ve heard the startling news that Thom Rainer, President and CEO of Lifeway has said, “eight out of ten of the approximately 400,000 churches in the United States are declining or have plateaued.” 

Depending on the year, the pace of dying churches has been a little more or about the same as the pace of new church plants. And while many of these new churches are seeing growth in reaching people who were unchurched, ground is still being lost. If reality is even remotely close to what Lifeway has claimed, what can be done?

We’re not ones to stay in a place of fear here at Rookie Preacher. Instead, we see it as our mission to give you practical help on how you can be a better preacher and church leader. So, instead of sitting and worrying about the state of the Church in America, let’s begin asking the question, what are growing churches doing differently?


Scripture and experience are clear: God causes true growth to happen. He is the one who grows people deeper in their faith. He is the one who draws people to Himself. He is the one who tills the soil of hearts, making them receptive to His Gospel. He is the one who leads pastors to lead the local church where He desires it to go.

This series has that truth at its core. It also has this truth at its core: God works through people to accomplish His mission, to cast His vision for the future, and to disciple people for His glory. So it is with that tension in mind that we proceed to see the 10 characteristics of churches that grow. The Growing Church Series will consist of 10 separate and highly practical articles on the following characteristics:

1.   Staff Led, Elder Protected Governance Structure 

This will also work if you have a governing board that you don’t call elders. Be sure to read this before you write it off.

2.   Courageous Leaders Who Pray Boldly and Take Bold Action 

Church leaders shouldn’t just be pray-ers, they should be do-ers. And this isn’t about big programs and flashy promotions. This is about the nitty gritty decisions of leadership.

3.   Genuine Heart for the Lost and Desire to Embrace the Mess 

Inward-focused churches are dying churches. Growing churches aren’t just conscious of the lost, they pursue them and are ready to take on the messes of life they may bring.

4.   Engaging, Gospel-Proclaiming Preaching

Many people advocate for shorter sermons. That’s fine, but I think it misses the point. Preaching in growing churches engages people on multiple levels and is a tool to proclaim the good news of Christ.

5.   Children’s Ministry that Kids Don’t Want to Leave

This goes far beyond fun and games, but those are certainly part of it. Imagine kids being in an environment that allows them to understand God’s love for them while being invested in by caring adults who partner with parents to disciple them!

6.   A Clear Path to Guide Guests to Become Regulars 

Please, please, please don’t ask guests to stand during service. That’s a surefire way to make them not come back. Instead, have an incentivized path to help them get connected to the church.

7.   Lay Leader Development and Empowerment 

Equip the Saints. Scripture tells us to do it, but what does this really look like? Leadership development is something we know we need to do, but so many of us are at a loss when it comes to practically doing so.

8.   Intentional Small Group Strategy 

Real Christ-centered life, together. This is what small groups should be about. Instead of just settling with meet once a week and talk about the Bible, we want to give you a real, intentional strategy to make your small group ministry effective.

9.   A Clear Path to Guide Regulars to Become All In Members

In my view, church membership isn’t simply about agreeing with a church’s beliefs and showing up on Sundays. It’s about contributing in ways of service, generosity, and being a part of the mission. We’ll give you a practical path that will allow people to go deeper in their commitment to the local church.

10. Shareable Church Communication that Inspires and Informs

Too many churches do a bad job of communicating past Sunday morning. We can do so much better. We’ll give you practical ways to improve your church communication to make it a source of inspiration and information for your people.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Why Millennials Won't Build the Kinds of Churches their Parents Built

We can’t treat millennials as a homogeneous group. We have to minister to them as individuals, instead.

Millennials defy categorization. But that doesn’t stop us from trying to categorize them, anyway.

Especially for Baby Boomers like me. We love categorizing people. It makes ministry easier. Simpler. Safer.

You know, boring.

As I wrote in Why Church Leaders Will Never Understand Millennials, the main reason we’re having a hard time figuring out how to minister to this generation is because Millennials aren’t really a thing. We made them up.

Millennials aren’t really a thing. We made them up.

Sure, people exist in the age range born between 1982 and 2004. But the idea that every generation can be defined by a clear set of distinctives doesn’t apply to them the way we’ve become accustomed to.

How We Started Doing Generational Ministry

Baby Boomers were the first generation to be defined as a homogeneous group. First of all, because there really was a baby boom in the decades following World War II. Our arrival also corresponded with the rise of the universal media. Three TV stations (in the US) one or two local newspapers per town (served by two wire services), nationally-read magazines, and a list of Top 40 songs that almost everyone listened to. And we lapped it up!
Boomers loved having these experiences in common. In fact, we got so used to being defined as a group that we looked back at our parents’ generation and called them Builders. And that moniker fit. They had won the war, then the peace, then built the infrastructure of our nations.

But then came the next generation and we didn’t know what to do with them. So we literally put an X on them – and Generation X was born.

What changed that made Gen X so hard to categorize? The universal, one-size-fits-all media landscape was giving way to a multi-dimensional, choice-heavy society. In 1992, Bruce Springsteen sang 57 Channels and Nothing On, and we all wondered how anyone could navigate life with so many options!
Now come the Millennials. With Facebook, YouTube, Netflix and more all literally in the palm of our hands, the idea of limited choices is a thing of the past. It’s every option at all times. Which makes categorizing this generation not just impossible, but foolhardy.

The one-size-fits-all, homogeneous generation is over. But it really only existed for 50 years anyway. From about 1945 to 1995. We don’t have a name for any generation before the Builders because, without mass media, people were identified ethnically and regionally, not generationally.

Millennials are forcing us to minister in a new way. New for us, that is. But it’s really the oldest way of all. We can’t treat them as a group, or even as subgroups. We have to actually minister to them one-on-one as individuals, instead. Oh, the (mock) horror!

What Kinds of Churches Will Millennials Build?

Millennials won't build the kinds of churches their parents and grandparents built. I don’t know what kinds of churches they will build, but they’ll be very different than what we’ve been used to in the last two generations. Here’s why.
Builders and Boomers took relationships for granted and needed to build structures. Millennials take the structures for granted and need to build relationships.

Builders and Boomers took relationships for granted and needed to build structures. Millennials take the structures for granted and need to build relationships.

My parents’ and grandparents’ generations were literally building and rebuilding nations following the war. For the first time, construction companies didn’t just put up houses, they designed and built entire neighborhoods almost overnight. They ran telephone and electricity cables. They constructed freeways. And they erected church buildings in the same way.

For my parents and grandparents, a permanent church building with pews bolted to the floor, a full-time pastor and denominational label meant permanence and status. In those generations, the fastest way to get money out of their pockets was to launch a capital fund building campaign.
Not so for my kids’ generation. Launch a capital building campaign today and you’re likely to be met with blank stares or questions like “why should I give my hard-earned money to help you build a building?”

The High Value of Restoring Broken Relationships

Millennials aren’t wrong to feel that way. And they’re not uncommitted. They just have different needs and see ministry through a different lens.

In addition to giving them permanent physical structures, we also gave them an emotionally impaired, morally ambiguous, relationally impermanent society. This is the generation where divorce and/or parental neglect are virtually assumed. Contrasted by the sometimes equally damaging do-everything-for-them helicopter parents.

Most of the relationships that previous generations took for granted have broken. So this generation has a high degree of skepticism, low trust in institutions and finely-tuned phoniness detectors.

This generation has a high degree of skepticism, low trust in institutions and finely-tuned phoniness detectors.

The previous generations sang songs of permanence and trust in our structures, like “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” This one gushes over songs about restoring broken relationships and identity, like “You’re a good, good father and I’m loved by you. It’s who I am.”

Neither is wrong. They just have different needs and ways of expressing them.

Now that we have some idea of why millennials are different, maybe we can start talking about how to do better ministry with them. 

Note: ministry must happen with them, not to them or for them.