Inspiring Millennials to Lead

Contrary to stereotypes, Millennials are hungry to be mentored and discipled. Here’s how to do it.

Millennials want examples who can be trusted. Many parental, political, spiritual, athletic and famous examples have let them down. So choose to be one of the few that they can look up to. Many older leaders think millennials aren’t interested in generational wisdom transfer. This is not true. Younger leaders are hungry for mentoring and discipleship.

Lead by Example.

Build it into your organizational environment. Create a monthly mentorship group at a coffee shop with your younger staff members. Give them “office hours” to simply talk about whatever they need to—work- and non-work-related issues.

Broken homes have created a loss of role models for many young people. There is a need for strong, parent-like role models and the church is the best place to find them. So create a family environment. Have family dinners as a staff. Take time for family prayer time. Make sure the work environment is experiential and family-oriented.

Lead Each Person Uniquely.

Creating rigid standards or rules that are applied without regard to unique individual needs isn’t helpful. I don’t connect with my own children the same way—they are at different ages and stages and genders. So don’t be afraid to customize your approach at work.

Be a Father or Mother in the Faith.

Paul said we have a lot of teachers of faith, but a father or mother in the faith is a rare find. Stop complaining about the person you wish they would be, and start being the person they hoped you would be. Even if you don’t have the time, find older mentors who do. This gives them a chance to understand your church or organization while learning from a proven leader.

Some churches have started internship programs to inspire millennials with their best practices. You can do the same. Millennials love opportunities for quality time, individually and corporately. So make quality time a priority with your millennial—especially when they are new on the job.

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Give Them Space to Relate.

Throwing millennials right into their tasks when they come into an organization is a set up for failure. Give them a week to not produce, but to simply relate. Have them visit different departments and simply soak up relationships, the environment and the culture.

Churches can travel at such a fast pace that it is tempting to let new team members hit the ground running. This can communicate a negative culture to the new team member, and also presents an environment that reacts to circumstances rather than proactive strategy.

What principles would you add?

Read more from Alan Pastian »

Alan Pastian is a campus pastor at River Valley Church in Apple Valley, Minnesota, an Outreach 100 church (No. 23 Fastest-Growing, No. 46 Largest). For more: