1 Unsettling Way Millennials Are Truly Unique | Ep. #127

Pro Church Daily is the show where - in ten minutes or less - you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus, while navigating the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years.

June 7th, 2018

We have spoken a few times about Millennials here at Pro Church Tools, and the reason for that is because we are millennials, but also because we are in a very unique time period. Brady discusses one quality that sets millennials apart.

What’s In This Session?

  • Intergenerational friction (0:47)
  • Older generations (1:33)
  • Younger generations (2:29)
  • The current pop culture shift (3:04)
  • We need each other now more than ever (6:22)

Show Notes & Resources Mentioned

The Full Transcript

Alex Mills: Well, hey there and welcome to Pro Church Daily, the show where in 10 minutes or less you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus while we navigate the biggest communication shift that we’ve seen in the last 500 years. I’m your host Alex Mills. I’m joined as always by the boss man, it’s Brady Shearer. Today we’re talking about one unsettling way that millennials are truly unique.

Brady Shearer: We have spoken a lot about millennials, because we are millennials.

Alex Mills: Yep.

Brady Shearer: And we think that it’s a very unique time in the church. You’ve got millennials, the largest active generation in the workforce, and then we’ve got boomers, who are still so much in charge of our churches.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: And there’s an interesting dichotomy here, and there’s a little bit of tension. One of the popular pieces of feedback we get when we talk about millennials is, look, this isn’t anything new. Throughout the annals of history, throughout every generation and century, we have seen older people look down at younger people and say, “Oh, they’re just not good enough.”

Alex Mills: Right. “They’re just naïve.”

Brady Shearer: And we’ve seen younger people look up to older people, and be like, “Oh, they never give us the opportunity.”

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: And I was wondering, and I was questioning, asking myself, is there something unique about millennials, or is this just like every other generation, and it truly is, something that’s always happened? And the more that I thought about this, the more I was trying to understand, okay, first, what makes an older generation worthy to be looked up to? Because I don’t think there’s anything more inherently valuable about an older person, it’s not like they’re more loved by God.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: But they are so valuable, and the reason that we should look up to older people is because of their life experience. 

Alex Mills: That’s it.

Brady Shearer: Think about some of the major things in life, parenting, finances, marriage. If you are 50 years old, you have a lot more wisdom and understanding and experience in those three areas-

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: -than if you’re Alex or Brady, who are about half of that age. And that’s why I asked my aunt and uncle the last time I was at a family dinner, “Hey, what do you wish you did differently when you were young and married? Or what do you wish you did differently when you had young kids?” Because I want to gain their experience, they’ve been there before, they’ve got things that they can share with me-

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: -and then I can be better at those things. So I want to listen to them. But aside from that, it’s not like if you’re older you’re more valuable than a younger person, it’s just that when it comes to economics, when it comes to the marketplace, when it comes to the workforce, and when it comes to pretty much everything in life, because you’ve lived longer, you’ve got more wisdom and expertise, you know more, you’re not making as many dumb mistakes.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: That’s what it is. Traditionally, let’s talk about young people. What do young people have to offer? Well, the words that often get used about young people of every generation, not just millennials, are we’re passionate, we’re enthusiastic and we usually have a strong grasp on pop culture. Music, fashion.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: That usually belongs to the younger generation. So my parents, they were big on well, the mom and dad jeans that are coming back, Zeppelin, Aerosmith, what has now become classic rock.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: That was what was theirs. They owned that. Here’s what’s unique, and it’s unsettling that this is true. Here’s what’s unique about millennials. We are living through the single biggest communication shift in the last 500 years. And let me be clear that this is not a virtue of millennials, nor is it a fault of millennials.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: You don’t chose when in history you’re born.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: It just happens.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: And so don’t think that I’m saying good for millennials, it wasn’t their choice.

Alex Mills: Yeah, we didn’t do this.

Brady Shearer: But I also think we shouldn’t knock millennials for this, because again, also not our choice. We’re living through the biggest communication shift in the last 500 years, and the technology that has risen up in the last 10, 15, 20 years, the same time when millennials, Alex and I, were growing up, we are digital natives. This is the same technology that is disrupting and overhauling every single industry worldwide. I’m talking transportation, I’m talking retail, entertainment, we saw the entire election drastically affected by Facebook.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: All because of technology. And this same technology is the tech that millennials know better than anyone else.

Alex Mills: It’s our expertise. 

Brady Shearer: Why? Because of disproportionate wisdom and expertise on platforms that when they first came up, young people jumped into, because it was pop culture.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: We have a grasp on pop culture. So Facebook, MySpace come up, we’re like, “Let’s dive in.” 

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: And my parents weren’t like, “Let’s dive in to MySpace.”

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: And they were right to not jump into MySpace, because MySpace doesn’t exist anymore. And if you were an older person when Facebook first cropped up, you didn’t care about jumping on, because you didn’t care about adding friends from high school.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: But we did. And then something unusual happened. Facebook took over the entire world and undid every single industry along with Snapchat, Instagram, the internet, Amazon, and every other single giant tech giant that didn’t exist 10 years ago. 

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: This is what is truly unique about millennials. Yes, similar to every other older and younger generation of the past, the same tropes and tensions exist. But what is unique is that millennials now have something to offer that has been traditionally reserved for older generations, because technology has massive impact on economics, the workforce and the marketplace.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: So much so that if you are a church, if you are a business, if you are any industry, you need people that truly understand these digital tools because they now play a colossal role-

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: -in economics. This is what makes millennials truly unique. Here’s what’s unsettling. I don’t know, surely this has happened in the past, maybe it was when the printing press happened, but I don’t know of a time of history where young people have had the ability and so much power over tools that affected economics so much.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: I was able to build an entire business from scratch and reach, you know, a multi-million dollar revenue level, because I had the internet. 

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: I was wearing a bathrobe with a laptop in my one bedroom apartment on the 14th floor and then we built an entire company that now employs dozen plus people. 

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Why? Thanks Facebook. 

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: That’s the power that we’re talking about. And again, no virtue to millennials. We’re not any better for this. But you can see why maybe some of us are entitled, maybe we’re a little bit big headed, because we grew up with this power that most others probably don’t have.

Alex Mills: Yeah, and so all the more reason that at this time in history, we need each other, we need, like you said, this is why it’s unsettling, because there’s so much available to us, and we don’t have that life experience and that wisdom that comes with life experience to lean on. And so yeah, maybe this isn’t a good idea to use this digital medium for this purpose and so that’s where we lean on the wisdom of older generations, in the midst of this colossal communication shift. And based off their life experience, work together and say, “Okay, we have these tools and this expertise, and basically, the tools to accomplish just about anything that we could ever dream of, but what does your life experience say about that idea?” 

And so that’s where we lean on each other and work with each other and then we can also facilitate dreams and the things of older generations when they’re kind of out of touch with, possibly out of touch with the scope of the digital opportunities we have. We can use that expertise that we have to serve the older generations. And yeah, this is all, I appreciate the age categories that we have and I think they’re important, talking about boomers and millennials and Gen Z and this. But I also in my own heart really benefit from looking at everyone that’s alive on earth in this moment at this generation that’s alive now, and that’s really helped me to see past those age categories and say, “Yeah, we’re just all alive right now in this moment trying to figure this out, and so let’s work together regardless of what year you were born or regardless of what year I was born. I have this tool, you have this wisdom, let’s figure this out together.”

Brady Shearer: It used to be that there were gatekeepers, where if you wanted to be, let’s say a successful musician, you had to do everything that you could to get signed by a record label.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: And then they would give you this really crummy first deal, but you would be signed.

Alex Mills: yeah.

Brady Shearer: And now you wouldn’t be like living off of McDonald’s every single day. Now it was only one out of every three days. Right? Or if you wanted to start a church, you needed to join a denomination and get ordained and then work up the ranks and then maybe you would be given a church one day. And now we can plant a church online.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Or plant a church, in our basement. Or you can become a sound cloud rapper, and completely undo rap, because you’re, you know, Lil’ Pump. 

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: And these are opportunities that have never been afforded before.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: And that’s like Alex said, why we need each other. It is unsettling to thing that young people like us have the power to do things that maybe we’re not ready for.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: It is also unsettling to know that the older generation may not have the native ability to use these tools in the way they need to if they hope to thrive in the way they used to, 10 to 20 years ago.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: Bottom line, I do think the millennials are unique in this way. Most importantly though, we need each other. Young people, lean on the wisdom of those older. Older people, use the skills that young people have, and give them the opportunity that they so crave. 

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: That’ll do it for today’s episode of Pro Church Daily, we’ll see you next time.