Christian Reflections blog

Millennial Missionaries: selfish and superficial? Or sacrificial with better haircuts?

Have you seen this yet? It's pretty funny:

 


And no doubt there is that strand of self-absorbed and materialistic millennial attitude and behaviour. What is especially powerful about this video is how it cunningly exposes the power of buzz words to manipulate and justify our actions. As long as you string together the right God-words you can mask the most repulsive wordliness. I've seen this not just among the young and trendy, but also among the pompous traditionalists.

BUT. I also feel uneasy about this video  It's funny... but I could imagine this is how an older missionary perceives many millennials... when it's really a matter of much more superficial differences: 

  • A millennial might dress more stylishly. Their clothes may not cost more than the missionary of a previous generation... and yet the older missionary is suspicious.
  • A millennial might take the time to appreciate and enjoy the environment they find themselves in, in good conscience... where the older missionary mainly talks about missing vegemite.
  • A millennial might talk about their feelings, pleasures and preferences in good conscience... where the older missionary thinks it's more discreet to not mention such things.
  • A millennial might question, challenge and reject pointlessly burdensome patterns of missionary behaviour and expectation that don't serve the cause of the gospel, but have just become normal. 


But the millennial missionary may well work just as hard, sacrifice just as much. What seems like cutting and penetrating critique, might just be resentment and predjudice.

I have often heard sneering and judgmental comments about 'trendy urban church planters with their lattes'. And knowing many hardworking and pious urban church planters in our Australian cities, this really does indeed betray exactly this kind of very shallow judgmentalism. Anyone who fancies that urban church planting is comfortable hasn't tried it. But sure, the coffee is better.

Posted: 7 July 2017

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Mikey Lynch is one of the directors of Geneva Push and regularly sharing his thoughts here on this Christian Reflections blog.

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