Recognizing Generation iY in Your Church: Leadership that Works

Some years ago, I watched an unforgettable documentary on TV. Michael Weisser and Larry Trapp lived in the same town, outside of Lincoln, Nebraska in the early 1990s. Michael noticed diverse ethnicities moving into town who weren’t getting connected socially. So he began to create welcome baskets for them. He knew they were feeling like outsiders, since most of the locals were not African American, Asian, or Hispanic.

Larry Trapp was the Grand Dragon of the local Ku Klux Klan. He stood for everything opposite what Michael Weisser was doing. He was anonymously calling those new people in town and demanding that they leave, or there would be hell to pay. He’d threaten them if they didn’t move out. When Larry Trapp heard what Michael Weisser was doing with the welcome baskets, he decided to call him…and threaten his life.

Michael returned home one night to hear this threat on his telephone answering machine. Hmmm. Do you know how he responded? Instead of fueling the conflict, he never even called the police. He decided every telephone call deserved a callback. So, he did some homework on who might have made such a call (it didn’t take him long to figure it out; Larry Trapp had a reputation in town). Michael called Larry back. This is what he said: “Larry, it’s Michael Weisser. I got your phone call.” Then, without making any mention of the threat, he went on. “I wanted you to know that I did some homework on you and heard that you were a diabetic. And, I heard that you were confined to a wheelchair. (Both of these statements were true). I just got to thinking that maybe someone like you could use the help of someone like me. You see, I have a big van, and I would be glad to drive over, pick you up and run some errands for you if you ever need that. What do you say?

Larry Trapp was stunned. He was quiet for a few moments. Then, he mustered the words, “No thank you…but, thank you for the offer. I have never been offered anything like that before.” As fate would have it, the next day, Larry called Michael back and took him up on his offer. These two men began spending time together over the next several weeks. These two became friends, which led to Larry Trapp’s resignation from the Klan and his public denouncement of all he had done with them. Larry Trapp ended up moving in with Michael, where he stayed until he eventually died from his diabetic complications. But it wasn’t until that town had been transformed by one leader who acted instead of waiting on someone to authorize him.

The Spirit of Leadership

Michael Weisser is a case study for us. The very spirit he demonstrated is the kind of leader who attracts young people today. It wasn’t about tenure or titles, power or positions—but about influencing through service. Stop for a moment and contrast his style with the popular, power-trip leadership in so many corporations today.

Leadership that connects with this Generation iY of paradox also seems paradoxical:

  1. It is organic…yet organized.
  2. It doesn’t demand titles…yet commands authority.
  3. It is more about serving a cause than sustaining a company.

These next generation leaders possess two qualities that make it work:

  1. Clarity – I see what must be done to solve a problem.
  2. Courage – I am willing to take a risk to do what must be done.

This is what leaders start with.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Elmore

Tim Elmore

Tim Elmore is the founder and president of Growing Leaders. His latest book Habitudes for the Journey is designed to master the art of navigating life’s critical transitions.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Recognizing Generation iY in Your Church: Ready or Not, Here They Come!

Millions of high school and college students have just graduated nationwide. Today’s grads are part of the Millennial Generation. They represent the second half of this generation, and I call them Generation iY, because they grew up influenced by the “i” world, iPods, iTunes, iPhones, iChat, iPads…you get the point.

These grads from Generation iY (the kids born since 1990) are now job hunting. Business media is inspecting them like scouts hunt gifted athletes. About 10,000 of these kids turn 21 every day. Their generation is 80 million strong and growing. Their presence in the workplace is already causing a splash because they are…well, different. While the media describes them as “entitled” or as MTV’s “no collar workforce,” I think if we understand them, we can make the most of their gifts. Based on stats from Pew and Mediapost.com, let me de-code them a bit below.

1. They appear “choosy” or picky…but they want work to have meaning.

These students are primed to “give it their all” but only if they find jobs that offer meaning, mentors and merit. They want their job to matter, they want to grow and they love being “heard” by supervisors even though they’re young and have no experience. The desire to make a difference is a core Millennial trait.

2. Their work ethic appears low…but they want to connect socially.

The average adolescent is disconnected from others only one hour a day, out of 24 hours. They sleep and often shower with their cell phone. The quest for meaningful work and relationships seem odd to elder employers. “Loving what I do” outranked a big salary or a bonus, according to Pew Research. 89% agree it’s important to be “constantly growing at my job.”
71% want coworkers to be like a second family.

3. They want to belong…before they believe or behave.

To understand the “cart” and the “horse” in a Gen iY kid’s life, it’s important to know that they’ll work till midnight on work projects, but only if they’ve been given a sense of “ownership” and have been listened to by colleagues. 50% of them would rather have no job, than have a job they hate. 95% are motivated to work hard if they know where their work is heading. We will get the conduct we want if we first connect the mundane task they perform with the big picture.

4. They appear to be cocky…but they believe they offer something valuable.

Raised by “peer-ants,” (parents are like peers), they’ve always had a say. 76% of them believe “my boss could learn a lot from me.”
65% say “I should be mentoring older coworkers when it comes to tech and getting things done.”
This doesn’t mean they don’t think they have a lot to learn from a boss. It’s a sense that learning is a two-way street, regardless of seniority.

5. They want to apply themselves…but they don’t separate work from play.

In one study of Baby boomers and Millennials, they were asked to anonymously send postcards in which they explained what it would take for a
company to get them to do the best work possible. A typical Boomer response was: “Give me my objectives and get out of my way.” A typical Millennial response: “I need flexibility, respect… and snacks.” According to Generation iY, work should be fun.

6. They appear to be insubordinate…but they just want to create their job.

These conforming non-conformists are a paradox. They want to invent their job, then add value. 66% of them agree they want to invent their own position at work. 60% agree “if I can’t find a job I like, I will try and figure out a way to create my own job.” 83% of Generation iY is “looking for a job where my creativity is valued.”

7. They appear to be different…but actually want to be part of the big picture.

A full 70% of Millennials say they need “me time” at work, almost twice as many as Baby boomers.
93% said they want to be themselves, yet they do want to blend and be part of something bigger than themselves. 75% of Gen iY want a mentor, or as one participant said “I don’t so much want a boss; more of a Yoda.” Bottom line? If we will invest in them—they will invest in the work and furnish a huge ROI.

Read more from Tim here.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Elmore

Tim Elmore

Tim Elmore is the founder and president of Growing Leaders. His latest book Habitudes for the Journey is designed to master the art of navigating life’s critical transitions.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Stages of Capturing a Vision

As far as I’m concerned, leadership cannot be separated from vision.  All leaders take their teams to a better place; they don’t merely manage their current territory. Sadly, many leaders assume positions, but only maintain the status quo. There is no original idea, no fresh motivation and no new vision that captures the imagination and energy of their team. When this happens, the person in charge is merely managing, not leading. Managing is necessary, but leaders possess a vision for their team.

The Birth of a Vision

Let’s examine how vision works and how it can work for you, as a leader. It might surprise you to know that the birth of a vision works much like the birth of a baby. Just as parents experience various stages during the ninth months of preparation before their baby enters the world, so teams and leaders experience these same stages as they give birth to a vision.

1. STAGE ONE: SOLITUDE

As a rule, leaders must not only stay busy with the functions of their organization, they must get away in quietness to gain perspective on what must happen to take it forward. In the same way that a husband and wife experience solitude before conception, so leaders must invest time—away from the noise—to think, listen, create, ponder options and dream. For leaders, this time of solitude must follow a season of observing and identifying problems. Their vision must be a picture of a better future that answers a specific problem.

2. STAGE TWO: CONCEPTION

In this stage, a leader conceives an idea. A vision begins inside. The leader may even have an epiphany or a “eureka” moment. Their dreaming pays off in the form of an internal picture that, if executed, could take their team forward. It may not be fully formed at first, just as an embryo isn’t mature in the beginning. But, it is inside and begins to grow. The leader believes this vision not only should be done, but could be done. At this stage, leaders are “pregnant” with a vision.

3. STAGE THREE: GESTATION

This is the longest stage of the process. For a human, it lasts nine months. For a vision to be born in an organization, it may take years, depending on its size and scope. During this time, some team members may walk away. It isn’t glamorous or fun. Sometimes, it’s painful as the team “stretches” as they work to embrace the vision. Leaders must communicate it clearly and tweak it as it forms.

4. STAGE FOUR: LABOR

Just as a mother endures an increased frequency and intensity of pain as she nears the birth of her child, so leaders and teams usually experience an increased volume and intensity of “labor pains” just before they realize their vision. Sometimes team members wonder if all the trouble is worth it. But this labor pain is a sign that the birth of their great goal is near and they must persist.

5. STAGE FIVE: BIRTH

Finally, the vision is born. All the struggle becomes worth it as leaders and teams get to see the results of their hard work. Interestingly, at this point others flock to celebrate the birth of the vision, like they do in a maternity ward. Leaders may wonder where they were during all the hard work. However, good leaders understand it’s time to celebrate and prepare to parent the new vision.

Think it Over…

1. Have you been on a team when you experienced these stages? What happened?

2. What have you learned about the power of a vision inside of people?

What Voice Inspires Your Vision?

1.  The Inner Voice:  Does your vision come from life goals, mission statements or from your personal passion? The best ones do originate from within, or if not, at some point touch the heart of a leader. You will not accomplish something that you do not believe in.

2.The Unhappy Voice:  Does your vision come from spotting a certain injustice or problem? Do you get irritated at present inefficiencies or wrongs? Do you notice problems and find yourself ting to solve them? Challenge yourself to light a candle rather than curse the darkness.

3.The Successful Voice: Do you find your vision from people who have already gone through the same situation?  Many visions are adopted or adapted by new leaders. Find someone who can be a mentor figure in your life. Explore the ideas of others and learn from them. Some idea may just match your situation.

4.The Higher Voice:  A truly valuable vision is about something larger than merely increasing the profits of a company. It is noble and benefits others. It feels divine, like a gift from God.  Look at the past to guide your present and future. Are you a big picture person or do you live life looking through a knothole?

Questions for Reflection

1. What are your current compelling ideas that could become a vision for the team?

2. Do your core team members agree on what top problems need to be solved?

3. What are some common dreams you and your core team members possess?

4. What are the next steps you should take?

Read more from Tim here.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Elmore

Tim Elmore

Tim Elmore is the founder and president of Growing Leaders. His latest book Habitudes for the Journey is designed to master the art of navigating life’s critical transitions.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Ministry Problems Can Produce Ministry Leaders

In the past I have blogged about the idea that good things can come from bad situations, when those situations force us to do something good we normally wouldn’t do. Whether it’s laziness or lack of motivation, our intentions are better than our actions. Today, we see millions of Americans getting rid of credit card debt and saving money because of the failing economy. This is obviously something we should have been doing all along—but were forced to once we had no credit left.

Motivation is a funny thing. It is best when it comes from within—when we find a purpose to fulfill. However, most of us are motivated when there’s a need to meet. I find I am most strongly motivated when the pressure of necessity raises its ugly head. I am writing a book right now, and I am discovering once again that “deadlines are lifelines.”  When conditions become unbearable or dissatisfying—that’s when leaders step forward and do something. That’s when people discover what’s inside of them.

Charles Darrow was out of work and almost bankrupt during the Great Depression when he and his wife began to dream about what they would do if they had a million dollars. Every night they would discipline themselves to talk about the wealth they would accrue one day. Their regular little conversation turned into a game—with a board, dice, hotels and cards—a game you likely own today: the game of Monopoly. By the way, Parker Brothers bought the game from him in 1935 for a million dollars.

It was also during the Depression that Kirk Christiansen had some time on his hands and came up with his own little diversion. He was a carpenter who made ladders, but needed some extra work and cash. One day, he noticed he had lots of little pieces of wood left over once a ladder was built. He loved kids and started to let kids play with those little pieces of wood to see if there was anything marketable he could discover. It soon became clear they loved to build things with them. Those wood chips became Legos, a Danish hybrid for the words “leg godt” meaning “play well.”

During those same hard times, Alfred Butts was unemployed. Every day he’d read the New York Times, looking for work. As he did this, he realized how much he loved words—reading them, writing them and creating them. Since he had all kinds of time on his hands, he began to explore creating a game out of words. He succeeded and it put him back to work, producing the game called: Scrabble.

Do you see the common thread in the stories of Charles, Kirk and Alfred? It was the very problem they faced that ushered them into success.

I have a question for you. What problem do you face today that may become the very vehicle that enables you to succeed?  With the right perspective, a poor economy, unemployment, or boredom with far too much time on your hands could become your best friend. You just have to gain perspective, and take advantage of your situation. Your best leadership gifts may be summoned by hard times. You may just find your sweet spot when you are forced to do so.

I remember hearing a story about a frog who was hopping along a road when he fell into a large hole. He tried and tried to hop out, but was unable. As his friends came by, the frog beckoned them to go get help. Each of them ran for help, but upon their return they saw the frog hopping along the road again. He was obviously free from the confinement of the hole. When they reminded him that he couldn’t get out, he said: “Oh, you are right. I couldn’t get out. But then I heard a huge truck approaching and I realized…I had to.”

Here’s to your best gifts emerging as you face that huge truck coming at you.

What problems have you turned into opportunities?

Read more from Tim here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Elmore

Tim Elmore

Tim Elmore is the founder and president of Growing Leaders. His latest book Habitudes for the Journey is designed to master the art of navigating life’s critical transitions.

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What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

6 Shifts Necessary in Leading and Mentoring the iGeneration

Have you been keeping up with demographics? Almost half the world’s population is 25 and under. That’s about three billion young people. If we’re really serious about reaching the world, we must get serious about understanding and connecting with these kids. Just three years ago in America, Generation Y reached a milestone. (They are the youth born between 1984 and 2002). They’re now the largest generation in American history, passing up the Baby boomers in size, at 80 million people.

I call the youngest members, born since 1990: “Generation iY.” I use this term because they’ve grown up on-line, impacted by the “i” world—iTunes, iPhones, iPods, iMacs, iPads…and for many of them, life is pretty much about “I.” We’ve raised a more self-absorbed batch of kids than their earlier counterparts.

Much more than their predecessors in Generation X, young people from Generation iY seem to be acting as a generational group. In some ways, the university students I talk to in the U.S. feel they belong to each other. They’re truly connected, both via technology as well as a community across the globe. The recruiting chief at L’Oreal, Francois De Wazieres, agrees that these kids are surprisingly similar. “One thing I find to be very universal is that they have international experiences, are eager to take on the world and value their relationships…whether they are from Malaysia, India, France, Argentina, or the U.S, they wear similar clothing, have the same iPods, and mix and connect easily. Two hours after meeting, they’re probably best friends on Facebook.” This, of course, doesn’t sound bad. What’s wrong with a tight-knit demographic like this?

Some may view this generation’s size and connection as a warm, fluffy phenomenon that has no downside. I hope they are right. Unfortunately, with my ear to the ground, I am picking up some signals that could be trouble if we fail to respond well. Let me tell this story beginning with Generation iY in America.

A Rising Generation and a Retiring Generation

Our situation has even greater ramifications than the ones above. Because we have two large generations sandwiching a smaller one in between, we have a new challenge on our hands here at home. The following two lines summarize the challenge in front of us:

1. Young people (Generation Y) will be entering the marketplace in greater numbers and more quickly than we can prepare them.

2. Older people, (the Baby Boomer generation) will be retiring in greater numbers and more quickly than we can replace them.

This is one of the most crucial tests we’ll face in our lifetime. It will impact everyone and yet few seem aware of the dilemma it presents for our generation. Unless we raise the standard for kids today and help them to think and act like authentic leaders, they will not be ready for the responsibility thrust on them as they enter adulthood. Generation Y is already the fastest growing segment of the workforce, and with immigration, some social scientists say it could reach 100 million strong. While the generation of younger children is much smaller (in America, some call them “Homelanders,” as they’re born after the launch of the Department of Homeland Security), there is a swelling of teens and twenty-somethings. Here’s why our problem is amplified in America. The Baby Boomers (78 million) are aging. The first wave has already begun retiring. In fact, during the next decade, about 45% of the workforce will vanish. And they’ll continue retiring for the next eighteen years. There is a much smaller population behind them—Generation X (46 million). Just do the math and you can see there are not enough leaders within Generation X to fill the spots vacated by the Baby Boomers. Someone must fill those roles. Ready or not, our kids today will be our leaders.

So, how should we lead these young people? May I talk straight? We must master the art of mentoring them and leading them. Let me suggest six shifts we must make:

1. Don’t think CONTROL, think CONNECT.

Often our ambition as a parent or leader is to seize control. Studies show that parents who over-program their child’s schedule often breed kids who rebel as teens. Instead, wise leaders work to connect with them. Why? Because once we connect, we build a bridge of relationship that can bear the weight of truth. We earn our right to influence them.

2. Don’t think INFORM, think INTERPRET.

This is the first generation of kids that don’t need adults to get information. It’s coming at them 24/7. What they need from us is interpretation. Their knowledge has no context. We must help them make sense of all they know as they build a wise and healthy worldview.

3. Don’t think ENTERTAIN, think EQUIP.

I’ve seen parents who are consumed with entertaining their child. I know teachers who approach their classrooms the same way. A better perspective may be: how can I equip my young person for the future? If I give them relevant tools to succeed, they’ll stay engaged. Happiness is a by-product. True satisfaction comes from growth.

4. Don’t think “DO IT FOR THEM” think “HELP THEM DO IT.”

Adults have been committed to giving kids a strong self-esteem for thirty years now. According to the American Psychological Association, healthy and robust self-esteem actually comes from achievement not merely affirmation. We lead for the long-term not the short term. Sure it’s quicker to do it yourself—but it’s better to transfer a skill.

5. Don’t think IMPOSE, think EXPOSE.

When adults become scared a kid is falling behind, we tend to impose a rule or a behavior on them. While mandatory conduct is part of life, if kids feel forced to do it; they usually don’t take ownership of it; it’s your idea not theirs. Why not think “expose” instead of impose. Show them something. Give them an opportunity they can’t pass up.

6. Don’t think PROTECT, think PREPARE.

Adults paranoid about the safety of our kids. Sadly, in our obsession over safety, we’ve failed to prepare them for adulthood. Instead of fearing for them, it’s better to recall your entrance into adulthood and discuss what you learned that helped you succeed. The greatest gift a parent can give their child is the ability to get along without them.

7. Don’t think LECTURE, think LAB.

When young people do wrong, we’re predisposed to lecture them. While it’s a quick way to transmit an idea, it’s not the best way to transform a life. We must create experiences from which we can process truths—like science class—a lab with a lecture. They’re not looking for a sage on the stage with a lecture but a guide on the side with an experience.

Read the full story here.

Read more from Tim here.

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Elmore

Tim Elmore

Tim Elmore is the founder and president of Growing Leaders. His latest book Habitudes for the Journey is designed to master the art of navigating life’s critical transitions.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.