Never before has there been a generation so documented, studied, criticized, and obsessed over as the Millennial generation. As the generation that took to the Internet like a fish to water, this is hardly surprising. Everywhere you look, someone is saying something about Millennials, and it is usually negative. As a Millennial myself, I will be the first to say that my generation, in general, has been pretty ridiculous, but I also want to go beyond that and point out a few positive traits that may have been overlooked in the midst of all the criticism.
Millennials in general have been categorized as overly sensitive, entitled, lazy, and liberal. The conservative Millennial does exist; however, he or she is by no means a carbon copy of their Gen X or Boomer counterparts. Having grown up in an almost completely different environment, they are different in their tastes, motives, and in how they engage society.
An often-overlooked trait shared by most Millennials is their respect for authenticity and transparency. They are not easily bought and sold but are attracted to honesty and genuineness. Their childhood was full of advertisements and commercials vying for their attention, and they can smell a salesman technique a mile away.
In the workplace, Millennials are a productive force – providing that they believe in what they are doing. They are more willing to work a low-paying job they believe in than a high-paying job that they do not believe in. Millennials define their careers by how they can improve themselves and benefit others through their work. Give them a cause they believe in, and they will be the hardest workers.
Creative and idea-driven, Millennials naturally think outside the box. They are always looking for ways to innovate and improve, and as a result, they despise bureaucracy. Millennials are not afraid of failure, seeing it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Millennials are team oriented, preferring to collaborate rather than to compete. They value constructive criticism (not name-calling) and are naturally open to engage with other opinions. In general, they want to understand all points of view on any given matter, and they value open and civil dialogue.
Millennials are not afraid of change but do not embrace it blindly. Their aversion to being bought and sold makes them critical of change, but if it measures up to their worldview, they readily accept it. This trait may be concerning to other generations, especially in light of the backlash against recent political events mainly by Millennials.
It all boils down to worldview. If the protesting Millennials had been equipped with a biblical worldview, their energy and passion would be aimed in an entirely different direction. That is why resources such as Engage Magazine exist – to come alongside Millennials and help them establish a worldview based on the Word of God.
The Millennial generation has often been stereotyped as lazy, willfully ignorant, entitled, and overly sensitive, but every generation has its downfalls. It is time to shift the perspective on this particular group of people. Millennials have been equipped with unique traits that can be beneficial not only to society but the church as well. Their creativity, optimism, energy, and desire to improve the world around them can be powerful tools for the kingdom of God.