Dr. Phil – They wear similar clothes, listen to similar music, use social media sites, and don’t remember a time without the internet. . . .this describes the first truly global generation, the Millennials (born roughly between 1984 and 2000). The oldest of them are now in their late twenties and beginning to make their mark in the world.
But for the first time in history, this is truly a global phenomena. For the first time in the world there is a global demographic group that is one consumer block. Companies know this and are specifically targeting them, be it from hamburgers, to smart phones, to clothing. Regardless if one is in Moscow, London, Nairobi, Berlin, New York, or Vancouver, they have more in common with each other than they do with elderly generations within their own ethnic culture.
Last year, within the span of a few weeks, I had the opportunity to teach a leadership class with a group of Millennials in Moscow, Vancouver, Canada area, as well as Cuba. Having shared with similar groups over the past few years in Nigeria, D.R. Congo, and parts of Europe, I again witnessed their similar shared values even though they were from different cultures and continents. While Cuba seems to be an anomaly, due to the isolationism and technological vacuum, even there I have noticed that young leaders are desirous to work in teams and do ministry together. This was evident at our last youth leaders conference in Cuba, where they were hungry for material that would help them mentor others and develop their own team.
As I wrote in Mentoring Intelligence, (2011)we have a great opportunity to take advantage of this phenomena, much like Paul did in the first century using Roman roads or using the common Greek language. Their common “road” today is the internet and their common “language” is social media. As I share with them the biblical values of leadership and the principles necessary for them to fulfill God’s purposes in their lives, it is amazing to see a similar response among this generational group. Though they are ethnically diverse, they share many common values. As a fish to water, they gravitate towards a relational mentoring model and a team approach.
God is preparing this generation and the mark they make around the world has the potential to be great. No, I am not naive enough to believe that all is rosy and that there are not some serious obstacles to this happening. This is why we must seize this moment. We who have gone a few steps ahead need to turn around and walk alongside of them – opening doors for them, releasing them into what God has for them. They will not only influence their generation, but the impact could be felt for several generations, which is why our efforts are so strategic. Together let us continue to be the wind in their sails so that they may have what it takes to make an impact in their generation.