Everybody wants to do what God has allowed Jonathan Pokluda to do, but few do it. Jonathan Pokluda leads the Porch, the largest young adult ministry in America that reaches thousands live every Tuesday night, and 50,000 to 100,000 young adults via podcast and other platforms. JP talks about the keys to reaching, understanding, influencing and deploying young adults in the church and in corporate America.
Welcome to Episode 236 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.
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3 Insights from Jonathan
1. Millennials want authentic communication
Many assume that getting the attention of millennials requires catering to their neediness by putting together a big show or trying to be someone you’re not, but JP disagrees with these ideas to the fullest. Here are his top 3 thoughts on what millennials really want from your church or organization.
Lead with Authenticity – Be yourself. Don’t try to imitate their generation or be a cookie cutter replica of other successful groups similar to yours. Be humble and don’t boast about how great you are. Be honest about your mistakes and don’t pretend you have it all together.
Expand their Vision – Millennials want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, they just need to know what that is. There’s no need to water down the message or vision. Trust that they can handle the full scope of God’s plan and guide them through what that big picture can look like for them in their lives.
Deploy Them – Ministry is meant to happen through people, not to people. Millennials are fine with big asks as long as those asks are for things that truly matter. Once they understand the message, show them how they can use their gifts and send them out to change the world.
2. Be patient with the generation coming up behind you
There’s no question this younger generation is growing up with challenges people before them never experienced. No one can deny the impact of this digital age and the emotional challenges it brings, but beyond having phones, Google, and social media at their fingertips, the personality gaps between today’s generations are not as far apart as many make them out to be.
Generation X, Y, and Z may come across as entitled and narcissistic, but hasn’t every generation struggled in these areas? Take it all the way back to the days of Jesus. The number one question his disciples wanted to know was who was the best…who was the greatest.
Older generations are the first to complain about the personality flaws found in millennials. JP calls it the Older Brother Syndrome – when an older generation loses it’s patience for the generation rising up behind them, because they’ve forgotten the patience that was offered to them years ago. Give patience and seek out understanding when it comes to the generation rising behind you. Their really not that different from you, so be a student of them and they’ll seek to be a student of you.
3. Casting vision to young volunteers creates a deeper call for ministry
One of the biggest mistakes an organization can make is thinking the only way to attract younger volunteers is by making jobs very easy for them when they show up – giving them small tasks that require little responsibility. Simply asking volunteers to show up isn’t going to attract younger people. Even if it works at first, it won’t keep them coming back long term.
The next generation wants to know that what they do matters, so there needs to be a vision alongside the ask. For example, a greeter is so much more than a body standing at the entrance of a room. So cast vision and let volunteers know that the deeper role of a greeter is to be a front line pastor who sets the tone for first impressions. Once that vision is cast, train and prepare the volunteers and let them have ownership in the roles. They’ll respond to you calling them to something bigger than themselves.
Quotes from Episode 236
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Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.
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Next Episode: Ed Stetzer
There’s no question everything is changing in culture and the church and few people have their finger as tightly on the pulse as author, blogger and thinker Ed Stetzer. In this wide-ranging interview, Ed talks about the culture war and why Christians are losing, how to use your social media voice, how the culture continues to change and what’s next for the future church.
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