Different times call for different leaders and never before in the history of the church has this been more evident. There have been more changes in societal orthodoxy since the turn of the century than occurred during the entire 20th century as a whole and the grip of the church has been severely weakened in the process. Fewer people are going to church now than ever before and as a result, more and more people don’t understand, reject or flatly deny the foundations of scripture, the role of the church and who Jesus Christ is.
The young, those who are most susceptible to mainstream media, have all but abandoned traditional biblical principles in favor of the new tolerance movement — a pluralistic, largely therapeutic philosophy that teaches everything, no matter what it is, should be tolerated and accepted by all. The argument is that there is not one truth but many truths; therefore, we must view objectively and permissively, every opinion, belief or practice even if they differ from our own. What’s more is that anyone who deviates from this view is seen as divisive at best and an extremist at worst.
The driving force behind the tolerance movement is one of unconditional acceptance, which is commonly viewed as love, making those who oppose certain things look like agents of hate and division. It’s a false narrative to say the least but in a world so divided, anyone that dares to defy the status quo and speak the Truth, run the risk of being alienated by those who only believe in ‘perspective truth’, also known as, ‘my truth’.
This means that if the church is to survive, we must be willing to see a greater range in our practices, more novel approaches to theological discourse and newer expressions and methods of doing church. We can no longer rely on public trust and apostolic authority alone but we must adapt a more pliable, less rigid, theo-psychological approach to ministry. The twenty-first century model of Christian leadership must emerge or the church as we know it, will quickly become irrelevant and obsolete. I call it the Millennial Shift.
Millennials now outnumber Baby Boomers and for better or worse, they have become America’s largest and most prominent generation. Their numbers alone mean that millennials MUST become the target market for evangelical outreach and the church can no longer afford to ignore them. Please come back for part two of this blog where I will discuss the model and methods I think are necessary for 21st Century Leadership.
Bishop H.G. Handy, M.Th.