It seems everyone's got something to say about millennials. From our tech-use to our desire to do work that matters (and why that's a problem) to how to keep us, or get us back, in church. While not everyone agrees on the precise birth year range for millennials, it's roughly between 1980 and 2000, which means I am one, whether or not I fit the stereotype.
You know the stereotype: Man buns (what's the female equivalent?), excessive use of smart phones (guilty), tattoos, hanging out in coffee shops (I wish). It doesn't matter that these descriptors also apply to other age groups or that there are plenty of millennials that don't epitomize any of this. It also doesn't seem to matter that these aren't even our important identifiers (let's go back to that doing work that matters and I bet we'd find a connection to our wavering presence at church). The rhetoric tells us we have been labeled mostly as a problem.
There's enough "bad press" or negativity around my generation, it's time we stop being spoken about and instead speak for ourselves. To step up and call up our peers, contributing the best of what we've got and making the most of what we're working with. Many of us are already doing this, but lest we get bogged down by yet another joke undermining our generation, this is your reminder to keep on.
Millennials: You're my generation. One worth fighting for. More importantly one worth fighting with. We don't need to convince anyone of that but ourselves.
First, we've got to stop listening to the negativity about us and truly seek truth. Who we are, what we have to offer, our purpose in this world, and how we'll overcome the challenges of this season. These important details are not up to marketers or researchers or church leaders. Our questions of identity and purpose through all of life's seasons (yes, for you other generations, too) belongs in God.
That's the purpose of this post. Circulating some hope and truth and encouragement for my generation. But not just for millennials, because the truth about our identity and our purpose transcends generations.
Our Identity: We are made by a Creator who loves us...We are made in the image of the God who created the universe (Genesis 1:26). We are children of God and thus heirs; as heirs we may take part in Christ's suffering, but we will also take part in His glory (Romans 8:16-17). We don't yet know our full identity as children of God, but our hope is that as Christ is revealed, we will find that we are like Him (1 John 3:1-3). We won't let anyone look down on us or label our generation with negativity; we will read truth and meditate on truth and let our actions speak for us in love, spirit, and faith (1 Timothy 4:12-16).
Our Purpose: to love God and people...Our "all" in life comes down to fearing God and keeping His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13), which are summed up in loving God with heart, soul, and mind, and loving our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). As the Israelites were tested in their faith and God provided for them, we know that we will have trials in our faith and God provides for us (Deuteronomy 8:1-6). Whatever our excuses and our limitations to not show up, God is calling us anyway (Jeremiah 1:4-10).
Our Season: for such a time as this.As long as earth remains, seasons and the ups and downs and rhythms of life will go on (Genesis 8:22). There is a season for everything, and a time for every purpose; God has placed eternity in our hearts to endure until He makes everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11). Like a tree planted by rivers of life, our lives will bear fruit in season (Psalm 1:3). We will not get tired of doing good, because we will see the reward if we don't give up (Galatians 6:9). We will not get away with sitting idly as the world all around us aches and even dies in the need of God's love; we exist for this time and this place to do our part (Esther 4:13-14).
To recap: You are God's special and planned for creation and generation. Your whole life has purpose and meaning that starts with loving God and loving people. Your identity and purpose remain through any season, even when you don't feel it. And God's good gets the last word. Always. When we live in these truths--in God's truth--we will impact our present world for His glory.
Let's encourage each other across generations with this Truth, because we are stronger together in Christ than we are apart (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11).
Don't let anyone try to convince you otherwise.
PS, I led a discussion on this with some fellow millennials this last weekend. If you're interested in discussing and praying with your peers on this topic, you can grab the handout I made with Bible texts and discussion questions about our identity and purpose through all of life's seasons.
Get the PDF >> here.
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