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048: The Millennial Factor: Embracing the Potential of a New Generation - Part 2

Emma Brewster

Mar 21, 2017

Emma Brewster gives us advice as to how Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials can learn to appreciate what each group brings to the table and recommends resources for learning more about millennials in missions. This is Part 2 of a two-part episode.

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Emma Brewster serves as an advisor to SIM International and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.  She is the Ministry Point Person for Engaging Universities Globally. Emma is passionate about taking the gospel to all parts of the university community – students, academics and support staff.

If you could imagine speaking to a mission committee or church that wants to do a great job of welcoming millennials, what advice do you have for the Baby Boomers and GenXers?

  • Two ‘L’s’: Listen and Learn
  • I say that in terms of both Baby Boomers and GenXers needing to listen to millennials, but also to millennials, encouraging them to listen to the older generations.
  • Ask questions and hearing goes a long way towards them understanding and seeing how they can best be engaging with that age range within their church.
  • A mission committee is often made up of Baby Boomers, but I would encourage churches to be intergenerational. Millennials have a desire to be part of intergenerational initiatives.
  • Be willing to walk alongside millennials and mentor and disciple them. They are a generation that needs affirmations – they need to be valued – and this is often overlooked.
    • Have common expectations of what it means to mentor a millennial.
    • Millennials are more relational while older generations are more task-oriented.

What advice do you have for millennials as they are approaching ministry potential and opportunities – how can they approach this in a healthy way?

  • I would say the same – listen and learn.
  • As well, they need to understand where the Baby Boomers are coming from. I think often there is a missing of each other in the conversation between millennials and baby boomers.
  • It’s not that the older generation isn’t seeing the value of technology, it’s more that they don’t know how to use it in a way that’s effective for their generation.
  • It’s a two-way learning street.
  • There are a lot of assumptions that Baby Boomers can make of millennials and vice versa but really, they complement one another and can together produce a much better outcome.

Millennials have a desire to be part of inter-generational initiatives.

Can you relate to us a situation where you’ve seen millennials and boomers work together well?

  • The example that springs to mind immediately is a big event that I was at – in August I went to the Lausanne Young Leaders Gathering. There was a beautiful display of the younger generation and older generations working together.
  • There were 1000 millennials that were there and 250 mentors that were there just to listen, engage and advice.
  • For me, being a part of that, it made me realize that the more I can be doing that on a smaller scale, the better – being involved in ministry together. If I’m going off to a ministry event, to take a millennial with me, stopping to have a coffee on the way – all of that is significant in doing ministry together.

As we begin to wind down our time, are there resources you can recommend to our audience?


 There are a lot of assumptions that Baby Boomers can make of millennials and vice versa but really, they complement one another and can together produce a much better outcome.

If our listeners would like to learn more from you, how can they be in touch with you?



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