family life, journey, judgment, self-acceptance, Uncategorized

Millennials make us uncomfortable… (That’s why I love them…)

marketing-to-millennials

I was talking with a colleague recently about a vision I had to start a unique think tank of sorts. I expressed my desire to acquire a building where people from various generations could rent space for events, or utilize office space for their daily business activities. I continued explaining how awesome it would be to hear the ideas of Millennial Creatives, then have more seasoned professionals act as their coaches. The older, more experienced generation would help them to add sound infrastructure to the businesses they envisioned. The person quickly responded, “I don’t do Millennials, they don’t like hard work”!

As I to listened to him, I’m sure I had a look of incredulity on my face that was perplexing to him. You see, I am a Baby Boomer to the core; not the hippie Woodstock kind of Boomer, I am a traditionalist. I love rules. They make me feel safe. My friend knows this about me.  Yet, the Millennial generation are some of my favorite people in the world. They are courageous and innovative. They take risks. They dream, and dream big. Some wonder if they are all talk and no action. I’m sure my friend wondered why I would ever want to do business with men and women of this generation.They bring discomfort to our need for a steady existence. They tend to shake up the norms that we have come to embrace in business.

My mother retired from the Federal Government after working for over 30 years. The image of my grandfather receiving his gold watch and pension from Sears Roebuck Department Store, is a vivid and proud memory for me. The family that raised me taught me to find a good job, work hard, and retire with a good pension. That was the way I intended to live my life as well. However, when I entered the workforce, the world was changing. New and creative opportunities were on the horizon. Staying on one job, doing the same thing for 30 years or more was horrifying to me. In some cases that kind of tenure was not even an option.  I like many of my peers, I received promotions by moving from job to job waiting for someone to recognize my talents and offer me a job that they thought would be right for me. Management of my career was passively given into the hands of others.

Having children that are now Millennial young adults has changed my life. When I was raising them, I thought that they would be traditional people too. I tried to steer them into traditional fields. I wanted them to have careers that would keep them “safe”. I was passing onto them what had been passed on to me. But my children wanted no part of what I was offering. They had visions and dreams. Dreams that they dare to walk in every day. They are artists, musicians, graphic designers, writers, filmmakers, and anything else they dare to be and do. They are all very successful leaders. They may not always feel successful, but they are. Moment by moment, they embrace their unique personalities and talents. When they were children, I taught them about different learning styles and how everyone was created with a different “bent”. I taught them that all of the different learning types and temperaments have value. They believed me. They are walking that truth out in their lives every day.

In the community where I serve, the Millennial members are often the most creative and productive people among us. They work very hard. To many onlookers, it may not look like they are not working hard because they work differently. They actually love what they do and have fun doing it. They make us feel uncomfortable because we don’t always understand their process. They come up with the most innovative ideas as they are tossing a ball back and forth joking and laughing among one another. Although they experience stress in their lives, for the most part they keep moving. Many don’t have long term plans; they plan as they go.  This is not their fault, it is the times that they were born into. They have been forced to become possibility thinkers. The fact that they succeed and fail, then do it all again the next day inspires me. They are a resilient, hopeful group. This is why I love them.

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Evangelism, family life, trust, Uncategorized, worship

The “In Crowd”

Be_Our_GuestMany years ago, when my children were young, The Disney company had a slogan that shaped the values of the entire organization. That slogan was, “Be Our Guest”!  There was a song written with the same title that was song by one of the Disney characters that would fill my children with excitement and glee every time they heard it. When they heard the first couple of bars of the song, “Be… Our… Guest…”, they would stop whatever they were doing and start dancing and singing. The next thing out of their mouths were, “Mommy, Daddy, can we go to Disney World?” That’s powerful marketing.

This theme set the tone for every activity in their parks as well as the company at large. The Disney brand was recited and emulated in businesses throughout the world. They became a company known for the excellent way in which they treated their guests. Walking onto the Disney property, guests immediately feel secure that the proper preparations had been made to ensure that all of there expectations would be met and possibly exceeded. Branding is powerful. It drives everything.

The Shepherds Brand

Psalm 23:1 is a passage of scripture that I have read many times and even memorized. I was taught to recite it as a child. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…”. Many of us can quote these familiar scriptures, but I wonder if they really make for change in our lives. I recently re-read this passage in another translation. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.”  Upon reading that phrase, “in want”, I realized that my relationship with the Shepherd Jesus was also based on branding. Living under the Shepherds covering represents a well thought out plan by God the Father to make perfect provision for all of my longings and desires. Just like a person paying for a ticket to enter the Disney park has expectation for a time of family fun and connection; we have been purchased by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross which grants us access into everything we need for life and godliness. When we are abiding in the Shepherd, we don’t have to be in want.

To be “in” is a present tense phenomenon that requires faith for today. Just like the children of Israel, I must trust God to provide for my daily needs. Storing up manna for fear of lack only causes things to go bad. John 15:7 says:

“If you remain in me (abide in me), 

and my words remain in (abide in) you, 

ask whatever you wish and it shall be given unto you.”

People are always talking about “out”; coming out, outspoken, outsourced, but perhaps the real key to peace and joy is being “in”. In the secret place. Abiding under the shadow of his wing. Psalm 91:1-2 says:

“I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge, 

my God in whom I trust.”

Disney’s brand offers you a world of fun as long as you stay in the park. The Shepherd’s brand offers abundant life as we live in Him. Acts 17:28 says,

“In Him I live and move and have my being”

“In”, is a function word used to indicate inclusion, location or position – within limits.

My children were not disappointed when we vacationed at the famous theme park. They squealed with excitement when we walked through the gates and they realized that they were finally “in” Disney World. Maybe we should do a little more dancing and celebrating the fact that we are “In Christ”. Our marketing strategy of love, joy, peace etc. should make people long to be a part of the “in crowd”.

I like being part of the “In crowd”. How about you?