By: Caleb Stanley
Ministry/Vocation – Co Founder and Author of The Alternative, Producer
Why commit to becoming an LN Associate –
Leadership Network has been a crucial in pushing the church forward and continuing to reach more people for Christ in new places, and in new ways. As a young leader, it’s truly an honor to sit and learn alongside so many others as well as continue to push the conversation forward and pioneer new ways the Church can reach and impact the world.
What do you envision your contribution to be for churches –
I want to help the Church strive for authenticity in its approach. Doing this means we all have to be in tune with what Christ is speaking to us. God is speaking to his leaders across the country and across the globe – downloading new dreams and new approaches in our hearts. Leaders need the courage to follow those dreams. Methods change, but the message never does.
We’ve asked Caleb to share his perspective on engaging the millennial generation. Here’s what he wrote:
Concerts and Communities
A couple of weeks ago the father of a twenty-year-old called me. He asked me something I’ve been asked several times, “Do you know of a place that my son can get involved with?” By place, he means Church. I asked him why he wasn’t involved at the Church they were currently attending, there was a great young adults program, lots of energy, and his son was on fire for the Lord. He said his son just didn’t connect well and was seeking community.
I hear this word all the time, “community”. It’s no doubt that my generation is hungry for authentic community and connection. I’ve often wondered if that has been heightened by the growing number of failing families, by the lack of present fathers, or if it’s just a trend. Over the last few years, I have even noticed the conversation shift from concerts to community, from events to gatherings, from the amount of people attending to the depth of the conversation. Young pioneers that once set out to create the next biggest thing are starting to wonder if the next greatest thing isn’t bigger, it’s smaller. Millennials want a place to belong and they want it to feel organic.
The Church has leaders like Francis Chan and Dale Partridge (among many) who are advocates for smaller organic communities while, on the other hand, leaders like Louie Giglio and Brian Houston have pioneered large gatherings and movements that have helped, saved, and resourced thousands of people across the globe. As the big “C” Church, how do we steward our influence well in large gatherings like Louie and Brian, but also build communities that are retaining young adults like the son of the father who called me? How do we build systems and structures that combine the millennial generation’s passion to be a part of something bigger than themselves, yet also create spaces that are not too big for their gifts and talents. Churches often say, “You Belong Here” or “You Matter Here” But are we really creating opportunity for people to be apart of what God is doing in our communities? I believe it’s less about which side we are on, the large scale outreaches, or the intimate discipleship programs, and more about discovering how we can bridge both sides of the conversation, working together and effectively. Millennials need a place to belong and connect, but they also need a cause bigger than themselves to engage with…