There is a silent war going on in churches today. Nobody talks about it and many in the church are not even aware it is going on, but it continues day after day and the injuries, both to individuals and to the Kingdom of God, are immense. This is the war of communication expectations between talking on the phone, email, and texting.
Though this conflict can happen between any members of the church, for purposes of this article, I’m going to over simply it by sharing what I’ve seen happen many times between Boomer and Millennial age groups. Though I’m using these two groups as examples, read into them “Boomer and older” and “Millennial and younger”.
I’ll first give some examples and then suggestions for ways to improve the situation.
Here are some typical skirmishes:
A Boomer congregation member places a phone call to a Millennial Youth Pastor and leaves a message. No response. Boomer tries email. No response. Sunday comes around and Boomer angrily confronts Millennial, "I was going to give two scholarships to Winter Camp, but since you didn't have the courtesy to respond to my offer, the scholarship money has been donated elsewhere."
Millennial response, “I’m really sorry. I didn't get any of your messages.”
Millennial Youth Pastor texts the Boomer age people in the church who have said they want to be part of the prayer team for youth. She is excited about the list she received from the church office and then sends them a series of Instagram links to images showing the kids they will be praying for at an upcoming strategy session at Starbucks.
When the time comes for the strategy session, only one person out of the 15 she sent multiple text messages to shows up. On Sunday, when she tries to be kind and asks why various Boomer individuals didn’t show up, she gets a combination of blank stares and replies of “You never contacted me” in response.
What is going on
In both groups, the person sending the message felt they were doing all they could to communicate. However, just sending a message is not the same as communicating a message. [Read more...]