Young Clergy

Ministry re-tweeting

There seems to be a couple to types of people I encounter on the internet - tweeters and re-tweeters.

Creators of content (tweeters) and replicators of content (re-tweeters).

Both serve a function and have a place.  I will be honest however, I do not care to much about reading the re-tweeters re-tweets.

Re-tweeting picture :)
Re-tweeting is rather safe to do and involves little engagement with the re-tweet.  Most of the time when I re-tweet I just post what I am re-tweeting without any context as to why I am doing so.  "Hey! Here is a quote I found. Re-tweeted by a person."

Re-tweeting is not a bad thing at all.  It however is not the same as tweeting.

When you tweet you create something new and put yourself out there.  You have to give some context as to what you are doing or why you are tweeting it.  You have to share something about yourself and be expose to criticism.  When we only re-tweet we have the ability to hide behind it and no one is sure if we agree, disagree with the re-tweet.  No one knows if a re-tweeted comment is meant to be a joke or serious.

Many of us clergy in my beloved denomination might be described as ministry re-tweeters.  We say we want to do different ministry or creative or innovate ministry, but this is a code for something else.  Most of the time clergy want an different/creative/innovative ministry that someone else has somewhere else but no one is doing it here.  For instance, I ministry re-tweeted the Fort Worth Dish Out.

A ministry re-tweet is not bad, it just is much safer and puts the clergy at a safe distance from the failure or success of the ministry.

tweeting pictures :)
What the UMC is perhaps missing are clergy and laity who are ministry tweeters.  The ones who are creating content/ministry.  The ones being vulnerable, exposed and opening themselves up to failure and even, dare it be stated, shame.  I am currently working on a couple of ministry tweets: Jubilee Bank (a micro-finance for the working poor in Fort Worth Texas using the connectionalism of the UMC) and Five Thousand Words (which first incomplete draft can be found here).

Others can account to the amount of ministry tweeting and re-tweeting I participate in, but the UMC might be a fruitful place if we were to find a balance between ministry tweeting and  re-tweeting.

14 Things Older Leaders Should Know About Younger Leaders part 2

I did not write this, but I want to share it with not only the older leaders of the Church but also for the younger leaders of the church.  Also for anyone who has ever entered into Church.

I am going to pull a few of the points from the original post and add some comments. 

6. Not willing to wait. Young leaders are ambitious and passionate about making a difference now. Not willing to wait their turn. They want to influence now. Evidence of this is the explosion of church planters in the last 4-5 years. Reality is you are never really “ready” for anything. Some say that you should wait until you are “mature” enough to pursue certain things in life. But we’re never really ready, are we? At 22, I didn’t think I was ready. At 25, I didn’t think I “knew” enough. As my friends from the UK would say…“Rubbish!”

In a post 9-11 world, many young people have a very strong understanding of how quickly life can be taken from us.  Which is why in many ways young church leaders are not willing to wait for a lot of things in life.  This is only re-enforced with the "instant" world we find ourselves in, but more that that it is a healthy understanding that life is fragile and to sit around and wait for things to happen when we could actually do things right now, even if they are not perfect, is something that really gets on young church leaders.  

7. See social justice as the norm. Leaders who care about the poor and lean into causes and see the social gospel as a key ingredient to following Christ are no longer seen as the exception. Young leaders see taking care of the poor and sharing the Gospel as BOTH crucial to the advancement of the Church and of God’s Kingdom. Twenty-somethings, I believe, are and will continue to become more balanced in their pursuit of both. They don’t have to be one or the other.

Micah 6:8 theology is not only deeply rooted in young church leaders, but it also connects to the idea that life is short. As such, we ought to be working, in the words of John Wesley, to "do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can to all the people you can, as long as ever you can."  Mission is the new norm, even in worship.  

14 Things Older Leaders Should Know About Younger Leaders

I did not write this, but I want to share it with not only the older leaders of the Church but also for the younger leaders of the church.  Also for anyone who has ever entered into Church.

I am going to pull a few of the points from the original post and add some comments. 

2. Willing to work together. Twenty- and thirty-somethings are more willing to collaborate than any other generation before. They trust each other. Really. And see collaboration as the starting point, not some grandiose vision of teamwork that is far off in the distance. Collaboration is now the norm. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true- young leaders don’t care who gets the credit. For the next generation- it’s way less about WHO and way more about WHAT.

While this is a bit rosy of a picture, I am going to have to agree with this comment/observation.  Most of the young adult church leaders I encounter are in a constant state of healing from allowing the church to break our hearts.  Most of the time these heartbreaks come from un-wanted egos of others dominating the Church in a way that leads to divisive leadership and a cementing of the Church in a dead custom that is masked as "tradition".  I cannot tell you how many times we share ideas with one another and how few of us get really get credit.  

3. Generosity and sharing are the new currencies of our culture. In business, relationships, networks, platforms, technology, distribution, content delivery, etc., open source is the new standard. This new wave of leaders has tools/resources such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, and tons more social media tools that make influencing much more readily available and easier than ever before. The currency with all of these social mediums is being generous. Sharing your ideas, sharing links, sharing friends, sharing networks. This is a complete paradigm shift from 30-40 years ago.

One of the things that I hope to help change in the Church is a movement away from being nice and move toward generosity.  Friendly means we are nice in as long as we are not troubled too much.  Generosity comes at great cost and expense of the generous one and it is these sacrifices which carry more weight in a world which we "millennials" feel there is an abundance for all.  

Will someone be in charge other than me...

I recently was in a meeting which one person after the meeting said, "Will someone be in charge other than me? I have been in charge for several years and I am tired."

Another person instantly said, "YES! I would love to be in charge! I have some ideas on what to do and a change in direction. I will take this off your hands."

To which the original person said, "Well.... what do you mean new direction?"

I walked away and slapped my head.

In the church leadership I always hear, "we need young leadership" or "I have been doing this too long, it is time for a young person to take their turn." And yet, we are offended when the new/young person wants to do things differently than what the long time leader did.

Church, we cannot have it both ways. We cannot desire young/new leadership AND desire these new leaders to keep the status quo.

We cannot expect new wine to not bust old wineskin.