For the past 3 years, I have witnessed over 300 young pastors and church leaders, youth ministers and theology students walk across the stage to earn their diplomas at Campbellsville University. They range in age from 22-32. They are known as the Millennials (born between 1980-2000). In many ways, they are changing the Christian church culture faster than any generation before them.
As I have witnessed them, taught them and interacted with them, testing their views on the Bible, Christianity, and especially church leadership, I have found there are a few things they can’t stand. In particular, there are 5 things they truly despise and they all revolve around church administration.
5 Things Millennial Pastors Despise in Church Administration
1. Robert’s Rules of Order and the dreaded church business meeting. Many Millennial pastors and church leaders talk of church business meetings as the biggest waste of time, energy and effort in all of Christendom. They don’t like the format and especially the lack of biblical and spiritual insight shown in following parliamentarian procedures. Now to date, they’ve not offered much in the way of decision-making alternatives, but you can be assured they are never happy listening to a moderator entertaining a motion, calling for the first ballot or stopping the discussion to look something up in the constitution and by-laws.
2. Sitting on hordes of cash in church bank accounts. The Millennial pastor is confronted daily with the need for social justice and the plight of the oppressed. Their hearts ache for orphans, widows, the poor and neglected. So when churches choose to stockpile hundreds of thousands of dollars in CDs and mutual funds, their heads explode. Most Millennials despise significant debt AND significant surplus. They believe if God has given them resources, they should be spent on kingdom purposes, not to pad accounts.
3. Multi-million dollar facilities being used twice per week. Let’s say you have a church in a major city or even in a rural town square that cost over 1 million dollars to build. The Millennial pastor wants that building to be used 7-days a week. Monday through Friday, morning, noon and night, people coming and going. They want the building to be open to community groups, outside organizations, business luncheons, Christian schools and daycare. This means higher utility bills and maintenance cost, but the Millennial pastor can not stomach having a huge facility and only turning it “on” Wednesday night and Sunday morning.
4. Leadership boards of any kind, especially elder boards, deacon boards and trustee boards. This dynamic is interesting because in the non-profit world and in secular business, a leadership board is quite natural and viewed as a necessary leadership structure promoting accountability and integrity. But younger Millennial pastors and church leaders are very anxious about the word “board.” They prefer terminology like a body, team, or community. In their minds, people get abused by “boards,” especially pastors and their families so they usually steer clear of them.
5. Finally, Millennial pastors despise institutionalism for the sake of the institution. When Millennials get a hint that the church has become overly institutional, meaning leaders on the various boards and committees are working only to support and propagate the institution to the neglect of the community, the lost, the prostitute, the addict or any collection of outcast, they become viciously irate. They want nothing to do with country club Christianity or members-only gatherings. They want to know they are serving and growing God’s kingdom, not a singular institution that happens to have the name Church on the sign.
Things are never going to be the same again in Church Admin. Who knows, that might be the best thing for us all.