From time to time, the landscape of generations change, bringing with it an overall “personality”, or feeling… both in the secular world, and in the church world. The feeling may not necessarily be ascribed to by all from that generation, but certainly they are affected by it. Our current generational landscape of young ministers seems to have developed a personality trait of feeling disenfranchised, isolated, or neglected by those who are their mentors and leaders. Understanding that there are definitely issues that need to be addressed, I have some questions… From those that are concerned and/or hurting, I wonder…
…where is your pastor?
…where are your peers?
…where are your mentors?
…where are your proteges?
Much of this is in our own hands to create our own reality.
I have not felt “disenfranchised” in my ministry, although I do see an ever widening gulf between the younger and the elder. I recognize there is a very serious problem. I see the elders now wondering where they went wrong, and out of fear they are throwing everything they can at the issue. Unfortunately what I see being done on the surface is more like a bribe or bandage than a fundamental change. We cannot placate our younger generation with perks and benefits… what we need is a very foundational, spiritual, soul-level change.
In my years as a business leader, I have noticed those who are disgruntled on their job and watched as management attempts to appease them with a raise or bonus. This can sometimes bring a momentary satisfaction, but soon evaporates and the “real issues” become the issues once again.
The change we need is not something that can come today or tomorrow. It didn’t happen overnight, and it’s not going to be fixed overnight. It’s something that must begin today, however. It’s like our nation’s dependence on foreign oil… tapping for oil in Alaska won’t bring instant results, but over time it will work. We need to bring the conversation of mentoring, respect and relationships out into the open and talk about it. But more than just talk, we need to do.
Our younger men need to engage our older men and give them the respect they’re due.
Our older men need to engage our younger men and give them their due respect as well.
Young men had better get under their pastor, and our pastors had better do their job and mentor, lead and train them.
Egos need to be busted… both among our older men and our younger. Humility needs to be the order of the day. Maturity isn’t measured by age, for certain. But age and experience are excellent teachers, and if our young men do not see and embrace the value of this, they are setting themselves up for a frustrating ride to failure.
On one hand, I have little pity for some of those who feel disenfranchised, because in many ways some men have created their own dilemma. You can’t forsake your elders, isolate yourself from mentors and peers, and expect to be included. And sometimes their attitudes are such that… who would want to be in their presence? Sometimes attitudes are so putrid and negative, it’s no wonder people feel alone.