4 Things Millennials Need from Older People Kyle Asmus
May 29, 2018
My name is Kyle Asmus. I am 26 years old, and I am a millennial. This means I’m the punch line of most jokes, I’m on the other side of all the eye rolls, and I absorb the tidal wave of disappointment that constantly throws my generation against the rocks.
Now granted, I get the jokes and eye rolls. Us millennials can be an irritating generation. We’re entitled. We’re pompous. We refuse to commit. We have expensive hobbies and make almost no money, and we never admit to our faults. But why would we—culture made us this way.
As a millennial pastor, I’ve been wondering how younger generations and older generations ought to intermingle because I don’t believe complaining or irritation with one another is the Biblical picture of Church. What should we do? How can we interact in a healthy, mutually beneficial way? Is there any Biblical precedent we can learn from?
I think we can learn A LOT from how Priscilla and Aquilla interacted with Apollos in Acts 18:24-28. Apollos was a young hotshot preacher who had a growing ministry presence in the church. Priscilla and Aquilla were an older couple who were already in the church in Corinth when Apollos came to town. Can you guess where the tension is going to bubble up?
There are four things that Priscilla and Aquilla do for Apollos, and I think they are the exact same four things that millennials need from older people which will enable the Church flourish as the baton gets handed off in the coming years!
1. Serve Alongside Us
Priscilla and Aquilla were serving alongside Apollos in ministry. They didn’t bifurcate the church’s congregation into “us” and “them” categories. They understood that the church is one body of believers, and such they showed up to serve even when Apollos was the one leading the charge. If you’re part of an older generation are you excited to serve with a team full of young people? Are you excited to be led by a “kid” who may be 40 years younger than you? I don’t want to overstate this, but it’s a big deal when you want to serve with us. Millennials are a pretty preceptive group of people. We can tell if are with us or if you are just there.
2. Encourage Us
Luke (the author of Acts) makes a big deal about Apollos’ gifts. He says he is eloquent, competent, instructed, fervent, and bold (24-25). Obviously, God was using the gifts of Apollos to bless the people in Corinth, and Priscilla and Aquilla came alongside Apollos in his giftings. Another defect of millennials is we always feel insecure and unqualified in everything we do. When our starting point is uncertainty, if older people don’t affirm or encourage us, we feel confirmed in our doubts. Now I’m not saying stroke our egos or coddle us. I’m saying if you see someone with an obvious gifting, thank God for it and encourage the person that God is using them. It goes a long way.
3. Teach Us
Of course, we’re young and lack wisdom. We don’t know nearly as much as we think we do. This was Apollos’ problem—he was ignorant in some of his preaching points (v.25). Did Priscilla and Aquilla complain about him? Did they embarrass him? Did they try to usurp his influence? No! They took him aside and taught him (v.26). Millennials want gentle correction. We want to learn from your wisdom and life experience. We want to know your perspective and thoughts. One thing I hear from SO many young men is we wish older men were available to mentor us. We want to know how to be husbands. We want to know how to be fathers. We want to know how to walk with God faithfully when we transition through life stages, and I can only imagine the same is true for younger women. Just one question if you’re an older person: Are you pouring into any young people? Because they’re desperate for it.
4. Empower Us
I love how the story of Apollos with Priscilla and Aquilla ends. Apollos is encouraged and taught by the older couple, and then He goes onto Achaia and God blesses his ministry even more (v.27-28). This is the Biblical picture of what happens when discipleship happens correctly. I’m sure when the news of Apollos’ ministry in Achaia reached Priscilla and Aquilla they were the most excited people. Why? Because they had poured so much into Apollos that his blessings were simultaneously their blessings.
The church will grow and flourish when older generations joyfully, willingly, and excitedly empower us to do the ministry.
That doesn’t mean you hand over all the leadership and pull away from ministry involvement. It just means you keep your hands open, and if God is calling a millennial to lead then empower them to lead.
The reality is the millennial generation will be primarily leading the Church in the next 15 years. And I know that probably scares most of you! To ease those fears, don’t just voice concerns or complaints. Come alongside us and help us grow. Our future leadership will only reflect what was done for us now.