What I Learned from Spending 4 Days with Millennials


I spent the last four days in Jacksonville, FL where I spoke at the First Baptist Church’s Pastors Conference. I have been at this conference for the past 5 years, but this year I made a point to spend more time hanging out with my friend, and conference leader, Trey Brunson and his entourage of helpers.  I didn’t know what to expect at first, but not only did I have blast with them, I also learned a lot from these guys.

Millenial Christians

(L-R) Trey Brunson, Sam Lee, Chris Brown

Trey is a bright, passionate and resourceful 26 year old who has way more responsibilities anyone his age should have but deals with it like a pro. During the conference some have jokingly commented that my time investment in my young friends was a futile attempt to hold on to my fleeting youth.  Personal aging issues aside, I want, as a communicator, to understand, relate and reach a generation of young leaders who think and act differently than me.  While it’s easy to read about millennials, sharing life with them is a much more rewarding and rich experience.

First Baptist Church Jacksonville Sanctuary

First Baptist Church Jacksonville Pastors Conference

Here are some thoughts after spending 4 days with a group of millennials:

They still believe their dreams are within reach.

They are willing to take God at His Word.

They are prolific texters (not a word, but should be). I suspect Sam is dating about 3 girls by the amount of text the boy generates.

They still believe they can change the world.

They want passionate, authentic leaders to challenge them.

They value relationships above possessions and career goals.

They want mentors to speak into their lives.

They are open to honest conversations on any topic and willing to discuss even the most personal matters with a total stranger.

They accept people where they are.

They are confortable with the mundane, the sacred and the down right ridiculous—all within the same conversation.

They rather work out of conviction than out of fear.

They can stay up all night and function all day with only a few hours of sleep.

After spending a few days with these guys, I don’t regret my choice. Even though I didn’t get enough sleep and ate too much bad food. Oh, and I was also introduced to Lingerie Football League. However, I don’t know if they’ll say the same about hanging out with me.

When did you last spend time with a younger generation? What did you learn?

  • other than texting, I feel like I had those same thoughts when I was a bit younger. I'm not sure that changes as much from generation-to-generation, as much as we just lose it as we get older.

    When I want to connect with someone younger than me, like at church or something, I just try to think about what I was going through at that age.

    • Interesting thought. Life has a way to beat out the enthusiasm out of us. The older I get the more I feel disconnected from those thoughts.

      • We gotta fight back, friend!

  • Well, I spend every day with the younger generation, since I'm in it. 🙂 And, I thought I'd add a bit to your observations:

    * We still believe our dreams are in reach *because* we are willing to take God at His Word, and He has said that anything is possible with him, the God who is capable of more than we can ask or imagine.

    * We still believe we can change the world, and we want to start by renewing the passion in our leaders, giving them permission to be authentic. We want to live our lives in a way that says, "Come on, Mentor, challenge me! Speak in to me! I'm ready to run, but I need a coach!"

    * Our open and honest conversations are what lead to the type of relationships that outweigh possessions…sorta like that other young guy who lived 2,000 years ago…

    We're young, and we will make mistakes. But it's so encouraging to see someone who believes in us and is interested in spending time with us. Interested, even, in joining us and mentoring us! Thank you, Maurilio!

  • Linda

    Thank you for the reminder that we can learn from anyone, specially those who are younger. I have a tendency to stay connected with only people my age. It's time to do something about itn.

  • We had four teenagers on our Haiti Mission Team this past month. All I can say is that they gave me hope-hope for the future-a whole lot of it. I am not sure what went into their decisions to go on this trip, but i do know that they left Haiti completely compelled by the love of Christ. I was right there with them.

  • Kristin

    I am impressed with the Millenial generation's awareness. Information is so accessible to them. Their decisions/writing can be well formed from the web and other tools as they learn from other's mistakes and then, look even brighter.

    • They have the world's information at the touch of their cell phones. Education for them cannot be about knowledge of facts. They can get those anywhere at any time.

  • I am part of a younger generation and I definitely value the company and wisdom of mentors as well as surviving on 4 hours of sleep per night on average.

    Now where did I put my coffee mug? 🙂

    • So how old are you?

      • 27. But I've been told I look 32.

        Whenever my wife (who is 30) and I go out to restaurants she gets carded and I don't.

  • Im approaching 40 and your post still resonates with my heart as if I was in my 20's. I love hearing about the generation right behind me in this light.

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  • Rodney Eason

    As a manager of 20 somethings to 50 somethings, I can tell you that this generation has been the most complex because they push back on the notion of the obedient – just because I am glad to have a job mentality that my parents had.
    My wife, Carrie, and I are hosting a group of young adults at our house once per month. We do not know who will show up. The first time we did it, we had over 20.
    At one point, we were talking about the Super Bowl and I made a comment that they probably did not want to watch it at our house because our tv is a little, 12 year old Trinitron. All of them were like, whatever.
    I told this later to Carrie and she has found that this generation has watched their parents go into debt for the American dream and struggle to keep up. She also noted that she sees more of the young adults not fixated on material things but personal relationships.
    That, gives me a lot of hope.

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