Month: March 2018

10 Leadership Tips from the Millennial Generation

As a generation known for lack of long-term commitments, Millennials are poor poster children for proven work and leadership.

However, the tide is turning in churches and culture, with more young adults stepping into the forefront of businesses, arts, ministries, and more.

Those of us identified as Millennials, between the ages of 20 and 35, should just admit the stereotypes are true for good reason. We like doing what we want, avoiding responsibility and hard work, and saving money by living with our parents long after we attain a college degree (the fine art of “mooching”). In other words, we are fellow humans who’ve experienced the same difficult economic recession the same as all the rest. We’ve just embraced the new trend called “delayed adolescence,” while the rest of the world tumbles onward.

We may have prevalent flaws, but that means we need all the more help overcoming them. Mentors and leaders are the cheerleaders and gatekeepers of our lives, simultaneously pushing us forward and keeping us back from doing meaningful work. To really accomplish something as our life’s work, we’re going to need assistance as well as responsibility. Just because we’re younger doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be respected or listened to. We may not have much proven worth career-wise at this point in our lives, but it doesn’t grant older generations a free pass to ignore us.

10 Suggestions for Leaders from Millennials

  • Cast vision. Millennials don’t want to be given tasks to accomplish. We want to be part of a story bigger than ourselves. Paint the big picture and remind us where we fit into it.


  • Be accessible. You’re an industry professional we can learn much from. But for us to learn from you, we’ve got to be around you and interact with you.


  • Be interested. One rightly emphasized aspect of the postmodern perspective is relationship over rules. We can easily get lost in the minutiae of tasks, so even a brief, friendly conversation with a boss can lift spirits among the cubicles.


  • Be patient with us. We desperately need work experience and we’re hoping your company is one that can grow us and prepare us for a better future, even if it’s not with you.


  • Lead with passion. No one is drawn to dry, robotic rigidity. We want to see what gets other people motivated to do great work.


  • Develop talent. It’s convenient for a leader to use interns or newbies in the office to fill gaps in the company positions, or frantically meet the demand of each day with an unplanned reordering. But take the time to learn who we are and what skills we can best use to benefit the company. It’s better for everybody long term.


  • Be honest. We don’t need you to sugarcoat the truth. If we suck at something, tell us why and shift us into a role that works off our strengths for the good of the whole team.


  • Respect our commitments. We’ve all got more going on in life outside of our work. Sure, we should put in our full hours and be willing to go the extra mile at times. But don’t abuse our schedules or take our time for granted.


  • Invite us into the decision-making process. You can tell us something, or you can include us in creative problem solving and allow us to craft part of the organization. These kinds of opportunities will help us really buy into the vision of the company.


  • Believe in us. We’ll work ten times harder if we know our leaders have our best interest in mind, not just the company’s profits margin.


A time will come when the current generation has had its final day.Transition will be necessary. A leader can’t keep his position forever. By valuing the Millennials in your organization, you ensure the next generation of leaders will take the helm the best equipped they could ever be. They will be better for it, and your organization will be better for it. Good leadership is about leaving a good legacy, and a legacy worth leaving is rooted in what benefits people.

Give Millennials a chance. It will be our turn eventually, so we’re better prepared if you lead us well in the meantime. We are leaders in the making. Don’t underestimate us. Besides, we might even surprise you.


Written by: John Weirick

John Weirick is a writer, editor, and author of The Variable Life: Finding Clarity and Confidence in a World of Choices. Visit for thoughts on change, culture, and personal growth.

Go on Vacation Already! Lead More by Being Less Busy

Cultural Busyness

There is an epidemic of unused vacation time in America. More than half of American workers left some vacation time on the table this past year. A record-setting total of 658 million days. $223 billion in economic impact. America also lags far behind other developed nations in the number of official holidays. So we have less time off to begin with and use less of our available time.

Lack of vacation also contributes to being too busy in the form of maternity leave. The United States is one of only two countries in the world (the other is Papua New Guinea) without any kind of mandatory paid maternity leave. Without this opportunity, many women are forced to continue working non-stop because they must support their family. They simply can’t afford to take time off, even to nurture their newborn child.

Though certainly not facing the same severity or disadvantages, men also often find it difficult to take time to be with their new children. While this and vacation may technically be allowed, there is an unspoken pressure that you would be looked down on for actually using the time.

The reasons for our cultural inability to take a break are many and worth exploring. My concern is that this busyness epidemic has infected the church. It is considered normal to skip vacation in the name of serving God. We wear it as a badge of honor to be constantly rushing and occupied.

If being too busy has tainted the church, it is because people learned it from their leaders. And if we want to reverse the trend, it has to start with seeing leaders take time off. Remember paternity leave? A recent NPR piece found that one key factor determined whether or not men took paternity – the article is called, “How To Get Dads To Take Parental Leave? Seeing Other Dads Do It.”

Busyness in the Church

People learn from what leaders do, not what they say. The old, “Do as I say and not as I do,” doesn’t work.

It’s easy to talk a big game about trusting Jesus with our work or ministry. But do your actions show it? Or are you guilty of being a preacher only and not also a doer of the word? You can’t say you trust Jesus with your ministry yet act like you are the one running the show by never taking a break.

If you feel like you can’t take a vacation, talk to your leaders, staff, and colleagues. It takes planning and teamwork to cover the practical duties of someone who is taking time off. Begin talking about having a culture of regular rest for everyone. Brainstorm how you can support each other in taking more time off. Encourage one another that nothing will fall apart if one of you is not there for a while.

Lead in a counter-cultural way by being less busy and taking more time off.

Stopping Busyness

Here are a few concrete suggestions:

1) Use all your vacation time.

Of any profession, church leaders should be using all their vacation time. Be an example to those you lead. Demonstrate your trust in Jesus by stepping back from your work. This acknowledges that God is in control and we are all just under-shepherds of the Chief Shepherd. Start small by taking one day to be entirely cut off from your work. You might be amazed how the world does not stop spinning when you stop laboring.

2) Talk about doing less and taking vacations.

People follow what you do, but it’s also important to clearly explain what you’re doing. Tell them about the importance of rest in the Bible. Tell them one way to give control of our lives over to God is by stopping what we’re doing. It’s faith, not laziness, that takes time to put away our work and rest.

3) Give your employees vacation.

The way your ministry operates should facilitate people’s ability to trust Jesus. As we have seen, inadequate vacation and busyness are contrary to this purpose. So make sure everyone has sufficient time to rejuvenate. You can even go beyond normal vacation and encourage extra time off, including maternity and paternity leave. What if Christians led the way in taking time off instead of caving to cultural busyness?

4) Schedule a Sabbatical.

It’s Biblical to stop what you’re doing! Sabbath, which means, “to cease,” is a weekly, yearly, and 7-years ritual. God commands it for our good and we neglect it to our harm. Sunday is our weekly rest and vacation our yearly rest, but church leaders should also make space for an extended break from work. It takes planning, but the refreshment is invaluable.

People learn by example. So go ahead and lead more by being less busy. Trust Jesus by taking that vacation you’ve been putting off.

Written by: Jacob Zoller

Jacob is a college pastor in Mobile, AL, who writes about productivity and rest at

St. Patrick: An Ancient Model for Modern Leaders

As the Chicago River turns green, people pinch each other, and corned beef gets big exposure in grocery stores, I wonder what St. Patrick would think. After all, “his day” gets a lot of noise and attention. But is the attention and noise in the right place and for the right reason?

I believe St. Patrick is one of the best models we have for ministry in the 21st century. Ireland in the 4th and 5th centuries was barbaric, unrefined and far different from the culture of the church in that day. In fact, it was this cultural divide which had prohibited any success by the Roman Catholic Church in evangelizing Ireland.

The True Story of St. Patrick

That is until Patrick. At age 16, Patrick was captured by Irish raiders and taken back to Ireland as a slave. He remained there for six years before he heard a voice say “behold thy ship is ready.” He found that ship two hundred miles away and returned to Britain, where he found his family as a twenty-something.

Like his father, Patrick got involved in his church, ultimately ordained as a priest. In 432 AD, Patrick responded to a vision, which led him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Though no outside religion has penetrated Ireland for a thousand years, Patrick experienced incredible success. Reports vary, but it seems Patrick planted several hundred churches and baptized thousands, possibly over 100,000 people. His influence continued after his death, with the end of the slave trade and a decrease in violent crimes.

To this day, Patrick is credited as evangelizing Ireland. So, we celebrate him…by drinking green beer and scouring our closets for something green.

Patrick’s Model for Leadership and Influence

Patrick modeled 3 practices which are essential for Christian leaders today.

1. He actually loved the people he wanted to reach.

In his Confessio, Patrick wrote about his vision in 432 AD. “And I read the beginning of the letter containing ‘The voice of the Irish.’ And while I was reading aloud the beginning of the letters, I myself thought indeed in my mind that I heard the voice of those who were near the wood of Foclut, which is close by the Western Sea. And they cried out thus as if with one voice, ‘We entreat thee, holy youth, that thou come, and henceforth walk among us.’ And I was deeply moved in my heart, and could read no further; and so I woke.”

In words that mirror Paul’s vision of a Macedonian man inviting him to come and share the gospel, recorded in Acts 16:9, Patrick’s vision was not of fame, fortune, comfort or safety. The voices of those who enslaved him summoned and he went to Ireland in response. His Confessio describes how that love began even as a slave, when he began to desire the salvation and transformation of the raiders who stole him away from his home in Britain.

2. He saw the best in others and sought to draw it out.

Patrick knew he could not build trust with nor influence those he did not love. In his terrific book on Patrick entitled The Celtic Way of Evangelism, George S. Hunter shares a Chinese poem which he feels embodies the attitude of Patrick.

“Go to the people.

Live among them.

Learn from them.

Love them.

Start with what they know.

Build on what they have.”

Patrick was committed to looking for the best in the Irish and seeking for Christ to redeem that. He wanted to build an Irish church, a Celtic church, not a Roman church in Ireland.

In his seminal book, How the Irish Saved Civilization, Thomas Cahill wrote, “Patrick found a way of swimming down to the depths of the Irish psyche and warming and transforming Irish imagination – making it more humane and more noble while keeping it Irish.”

The kind of attitude Cahill attributes to Patrick could only originate from love and respect. We live in a world which dehumanizes and attacks those who disagree with us, especially on social media. How different would things look if we took Patrick’s approach, in particular with those we do not agree?

3. He chose to offend insiders in order to engage outsiders.

Unlike other missionaries, Patrick refused to wear his priestly robes. Instead, Patric wore native Celtic clothing. This led to no small amount of consternation among his superiors back in Britain.

Patrick broke norms by inviting outsiders into gatherings of Celtic Christians. Believing that outsiders could belong before they believed, Patrick suspected outsiders would begin practicing habits a follower of Jesus would before they ultimately realizing they were believers. Long before modern churches spoke of “you can belong here before you believe,” Patrick lived this posture in 5th-century Ireland.

Ultimately, Patrick was brought to trial in Britain. While the details of this trial are spotty at best, it seems that his methods were questioned to the end. Unlike modern churches which debate what is appropriate and inappropriate in terms of outreach, Patrick decided which group’s opinion of him mattered most, and he allowed the other to be offended to their heart’s content.

St. Patrick’s Breastplate

Legend attributes a long prayer known as St. Patrick’s Breastplate to the missionary who evangelized Ireland. While we cannot be entirely sure he wrote it, this prayer reflects the holistic view Patrick embodied in his faith, leadership, and ministry.

One particular section is most well-known. This section confesses a Christ-centered worldview which should guide all leaders. This prayer calls each of us to depend on Christ, lead from our relationship in Christ, engage our world like Christ and look for Christ in each person we engage – whether online or in-person.

Christ, be with me, Christ before me,

Christ behind me, Christ in me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit,

Christ where I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

St. Patrick is one of my heroes. I hope this profile in some small way redeems this day from drunken revelry and towards intentional reflection.

May we all love the people in our cities the way Patrick loved the Celts in Ireland.


Written for Catalyst by: Scott Savage

Scott is a pastor and a writer from Prescott, Arizona. You can read more of his writing at