Generation "NOT" Me

A Photo September 4th 2009 (2) comments so far  

I just started reading a very interesting book called Generation Me by Jean M. Twenge. The subtitle tells it all… “Why todays young American’s are more confident, assertive, entitled – and more miserable than ever.” The generation that is written about ranges in age from 18-35 years old. I’m just on upper edge of that at 36 myself. The reason I picked up the book is because I get the opportunity to lead a new ministry for singles in their 20s. At Stonebriar, we call it mosaic. Thursday, Sept. 3 at 7p.m. was our first meeting.

So what is a pastor to do when leading a group that targets this confident, assertive, entitled generation? Is the answer to tell them that God has a wonderful plan for their life? Is it to tell them that God loves them uniquely as individuals? Is it to tell them that Jesus can make them really happy? Though there is some truth in all these messages, the one that speaks most profoundly to this generation is found in Luke 9:23.

“If any man come after Me, let him deny himself.”

Jesus words are the very antithesis of what the Me generation has been told their entire existence. The places they eat tell them they deserve a break today or have it their way. The places they gather to drink coffee are as customized to their tastes as they wish. Growing up, everyone was awarded a trophy in a sporting event, just for participating, not just the winners. Throughout the college years, students are told over and over to pursue what makes them happy and fulfilled, because at the end of day, that is what is most important. Generations ago had a term for this, “spoiled,” now we call it good marketing.

So those coming to mosaic on Thursdays are saturated with messages and have grown up with messages that stand in stark contrast to Jesus’ words. Some Christian 20 something singles are fighting the good fight, while others have almost completely bought into the “me-ism.” So from the very beginning of mosaic, we have said that we will get out of ourselves and get involved in serving others. Our very first announcement was for Clothe-a-child, an outreach to low-income children in Frisco and Little Elm.

40% of those that came on Thursday volunteered! That’s terrific. 20 something singles following Jesus’ words to deny self (by the way, another 5 out of 25 people said they would like to serve children on Sunday mornings and help with greeting newcomers). This is great. This is success. This is to be celebrated.

At mosiac, we’ll continue to encourage these young singles to be the Generation “NOT” Me and follow Jesus’ commands. Because in that, they won’t end up more miserable than ever, totally dependent on anxiety and anti-depressant medication, but rather, surprised by joy because they get involved in serving others


Comments

  1.  

    Lori Ulmer December 8th at 5:40 pm  

    This is great!! I’m the mother of 2 that are 18 & 19. I’m finding this carries down to the next generation after that. I have to constantly remind them there are others to consider. I love what you are doing. I have a heart for the “me” generation and I’m working on starting a ministry at my church for that age group. Any insight, guidance would be greatly appreciated.

  2.  

    Tony Cammarota January 14th at 2:06 pm  

    Lori,

    Great to hear from you. As you start, consider reading the books Generation Me and UnChristian by David Kinnaman. They’re very insightful and will help with understanding the 20 something mindset. I’d also start with a method or ministry structure that focuses on high interaction learning, not just lecture, and also focus on building friendships with those in the group and helping them building friendships with each other. And be sure to pray with other leaders. We have to remind ourselves that it is God’s Spirit that changes hearts.

    Tony

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