About the speaker: Craig Groeschel is the founder and Senior Pastor, LifeChurch.tv which holds 76 weekly worship experiences, ministering to over 40,000 people. He is the author of influential books, including, Weird, It and Soul Detox.
Bridging the Generation Gap
(Craig began by saying he’d talk more from a ministry perspective as he is a pastor but that these principles can be used in business and families.)
“I am here today because of the men and women who have gone before me and invested in me.” A simple acknowledgment of something we can all claim but need to remember.
“For a short season, I stand in the middle between an older and younger generation. Some may say, ‘How do I know which generation I am?’ and I say if you have to ask you are probably in the older generation.”
“Don’t fear or judge the next generation, just believe in them.”
“When I turned 40 a weird thing happened. I started to ask if the best years of my ministry were behind me. Many wonder if they can still engage and make a difference. If you’re not dead, you’re not done! I’d even say that your best days are before you if you take your maturity and invest in those that come behind you.”
“You don’t just delegate tasks to the next generation. If you do, you’ll create followers, people who do what they’re told. Delegate authority because then your create leaders.”
“Embrace the season you are in. The younger generation can smell a fake from a million miles away. Authenticity trumps cool every single time.”
“You can be a spiritual father, a coach, a mentor to those who come behind you.”
“We protected the younger generation. ‘Put on your helmet and knee pads to go to the potty.’ The problem with the younger generation is because you feel entitled you overestimate what you can do in the short run.”
“My mentor told me I’d often overestimate what I could do in the short run but I’d underestimate what I can do in the long run in a life of faithful service.”
“When a generation feels entitled they don’t show honor and it is hurting the older generation. I believe we don’t show honor to our generations because we don’t show honor to God. When we honor God, we more naturally show honor to those around us.”
“Honor believes the best. Dishonor believes the worst. Honor builds up. Respect is earned by honor is given. By ascribing honor to others, they can become more honorable.
“If you ever want to be over, you need to learn to be under with integrity.”
For generations to work together it must be intentional. Here are some practical suggestions:
1. Create ongoing feedback loops with those who are older and younger. “Before I teach I sit before those who are much younger and older to go over my message. I want to know from those different perspectives how my message could better speak into their lives.”
2. Create specific mentoring moments. “I ask the leaders of our church to find me the sharpest 18-24 year olds so I can mentor them. And I sit before some of the smartest leaders in the country to learn.”
“Ask someone older to mentor you. But don’t try to copy them, learn how they think. Find out what they’re reading, what they would do in a situation, how can I interact better, etc.”
3. Create opportunities for specific leadership development. “Send a resounding message that you are a leader that values the next generation. Do this by creating leadership opportunities.”
Craig ended by honoring all those who went before and sacrificed: his parents, his pastor and Bill Hybels. They believed in him, they challenged him, they stood by him.
“And it is my great desire for those that come behind me, I will give my life for you like the leaders who believed in me. You are the most cause-minded and cause-driven generation in history. You don’t want a job, you want a calling. You don’t just want money, you want to make a difference. When you look at injustice you say, ‘No!!!! Not on my watch!!!’ I honestly believe you can do more than my generation if you humble yourself and learn from those who went before you.”
“Let us stand together for the glory of God.”