I am at the Christian Leadership Alliance conference in Orlando. Yesterday I had the honor of sitting with 25 nonprofit (and one for-profit) CEO’s. Several of them were bi-vocational ministers, pastors and nonprofit leaders like me.
What really struck me was the excitement in the room when discussing how these leaders, average age of 55 or so, discussed the idea of how to communicate with people in their teens and twenties.
The problem I see is not a values problem but a process problem. The assumption older leaders make about younger people is that the values of younger people “ain’t what it use to be”. Chronology is the only solid identifier of an individual. The kicker is that youth today can’t be categorized and grouped like youth of any other generation. The trick isn’t to learn to speak to a generation. The trick is to learn to speak to a person.
OK, so There is one more identifier; youth generally don’t care what you wear. The MC last night informed us that “business casual” is the dress code. All I packed were jeans. My mission for the rest of the trip is to connect with other jean-wearers and make them feel welcome. Don’t let the man get you down.