By: Art Hobba – Last week we looked at the biblical and rational mandate for the fathers to engage their young adult sons and daughters. I left off with a third principle: God uses young men for His mission
This week we’ll discuss some encouraging traits of the millennial man and add the light of Scripture. As you read remember that when I write “Millennial” it is only as specific as writing “Boomer,” so understand that these generalizations are just that. But first, let’s explore how much of these Millennial traits are unique to this generation?
“I see no hope for the future if we are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for all youth are reckless… We were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are arrogant and impatient of restraint”
– Hesiod, Greek Poet, 8th century BC
So we’ve been here before, right? However, as I have written earlier, some of the characteristics regarding the millennial man are historically unique.
- They are the first generation who were given access to the Internet since childhood. Millennials were raised with personal cell phones, and found a whole new world of web access, including porn at their fingertips, on-demand YouTube, gaming, Snapchat, and texting.
- Many of these men, Christian or not, have a father-sized hole in their soul, which means many are subconsciously seeking a man or men who can help fill it. This is unique in that, as of 2010 US Census, 47% of newborns had no father in their life! The stat has gone past 50%, today. This Fatherless trend was high when Millennial boys were born as well, but the tidal wave of fatherless children who are born today is staggering.
Most older men, like myself, had a solid Dad in their life. Not perfect for sure, but many men gave us a feel for masculinity. If that is you, I’m challenging you to seek out and engage a couple of millennial men and show them a scar or two tied together with your story. Then, ask them about theirs. One great icebreaker is the question, “What constitutes a real man?” Millennial men have grown up in a world where many educators and marketers assaulted their maleness with neutral gender psycho-babble. They confused brash machismo (bad), with real acts of justice, protection, and courageous sacrifice (masculine).
- Most were trained to be connected with their peers through team and social networks, and understand the power of “two are better than one, and a three-fold cord is not easily broken.” Unlike their predecessors, they have the potential to accomplish much more than the Boomers, because of the power of leverage that comes with teaming.
- Many are looking for mission and purpose, right out of the gate. They won’t settle for anything less. They know they can make more money if they stay the course for a couple of decades, but they saw how well that did for their parents, and they’d rather have less in material wealth and a call to mission that engages their heart, than living a life for a paycheck. Their energy, multiplied by team, and almost instant access to knowledge will create and sustain amazing solutions for our world. And the need for solutions is urgent.
Men are looking for a cause they can die for.
- Millennial Christian men will continue to leave the church because it is filled with Boomers and X-Gens that may appear to be sold out to appearances, materialism, and Sunday smiles more than they are sold out to Jesus. Many of these men are looking for a cause they can die for. Millennial Christian men can be fierce disciples. A recent survey showed that they are more committed to studying the Bible than any modern generation.
Millennials want authenticity and they need leaders that are transparent . . .who share their inner struggles, unanswered questions, and outright failures, with humility. If that was not the way you were raised, get over it and get open. And keep your stories recent. “Let me tell you the dumb thing I said to my wife this morning,” is recent. Frankly, all of us need leaders like this because every man secretly longs for a safe place to park their ugliest garbage in front yard of a few other guys who are courageous enough to do the same.
That is exactly how the Holy Spirit taught us to set up the 5-man table environment for the Core 300 Warrior Bible Study. In our interactive teaching series, the first rule was: “Whatever is said at the table stays at the table,” and millennial men are seeking the authentic man to show them the fiber of our struggles and the way God’s Spirit works in a man fully alive. When a man is certain that there is a small community of men that love him without agenda or measurement, even after they hear the horrid things he has done or said, his sense of relief is staggering. Most men tell me that this was where they discovered the joy of a new-found freedom as they felt the tactile love of God in the arms of another brother for the first time. It’s a love that says, “You’re a good man.”
So here is the most important way we older men can open the door for a younger man to invite you into their journey. Show them your scars. Start a conversation with a true story of where you screwed up, were selfish, angry, weak, or ashamed. There is nothing as powerful for engaging for a younger man than showing them a example of real vulnerability. To them it is an invitation to join the tribe.
- Millennial men are on God’s radar. Most spiritual revivals in the history of the world were sparked by young men. Think about the men God used in the Bible. David was chosen as a young boy. Joseph (and Mary) were teenagers. Timothy was a young student-preacher. Most of the disciples were in their teens and twenties. I could go on about Daniel, Gideon, Solomon, Joseph, and others, but you get the point. As a man in his early 60’s, I am honestly excited to see the millennial men God chooses to do some very cool and powerful things in the years ahead.
If you are a young man, open your heart to the possibilities that God has a significant assignment for you right now. However, you will be frustrated unless you get a couple older guys around you who can coach you forward. If your Dad fell on his sword one time too often, then forgive him, and move out to find some guys with gray or no hair on his head. Make up a small personal board of advisors to help you along the way. Don’t be shy. There are millions of Boomer men that are walking treasures even if they don’t know it yet. Maybe a part of your call is to draw it out of them?
Read the Series
Art Hobba is an author of 5 books, and the Founder and Director of Core 300. He speaks at pastor’s conferences and men’s camps, as well as provides corporate leadership training and coaching to individuals, companies, and the military through Transcende. You can reach him at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Ecclesiastes 4:9-12