Open Letter to Millennials

Open Letter 04

The mess of current events encourages paranoia. So you might have noticed the repetitious alarms of despairing things being said about the world you must now live in. But I want to offer another perspective, a commissioning, directly to those of you who are in your teenage or young adult years:

Don’t let anyone look down on what you could do for this world. Instead, give this hurting, dismissive culture what it is not expecting. Let your words, actions and attitudes make such a positive impact that older generations (like your cynical parent Generation Xers, or your big grandparent Boomers, or your dedicated great-grandparent Builders) look upon you with thanksgiving and upon this world with hope. Let your generous and creative vision steady your resolve to dispel despair and catalyze life in those who follow you.

Yes, this world is going to be rough on you. It already has been. You’ve seen unprecedented levels of terror, adulteration, and dysfunction in your first two decades. Your finger tips have already interacted with more harmful vulgarities and your frontal lobes have already embedded more corrupted images than any other generation has ever processed. That’s what scares other generations… but that’s not fair to you. You had no choice. You were downloaded into a world that has discarded your safety and your value.

And I thought I had something to complain about.

Yes, my jaded, grungy GenX attitude raged against the machinery of modern society… only to wander powerlessly in the ruins of human intentions. But, I’d like to think, my generation’s angst and negativity was spawned somewhere down deep inside from a desire for Good. The Imago Dei within us cried out… But we frequently didn’t know how to take our rebellious angst and harness it for positive world change. We weren’t the first generation to struggle with implementing our desire for the world’s restoration. We, like many before us, had an impassioned teen spirit, but eventually gave in, rolled over, and threw stones that ricocheted back on ourselves. Somewhere in our core, I must believe, we wanted to do what was good. Some of us even succeeded. But, sadly, much of what we have done has contributed to the very erosion of the world that we declared corrupt. Mimicking Adam, we distorted the Imago Dei into an Imago-Ego. And now everyone is afraid that you have to live in our fears.

No need to thank us.

So lately I’ve been praying a lot for you. I’ve dedicated my life to helping you. I want you to flourish even upon the dilapidated platforms the prior generations may have left for you. I wish it was a better firmament. But the hard-fought foundation crafted by the Builders, championed as well as challenged by the Boomers, has been deconstructed and complicated by the Xers. (Yes, self-loathing is another GenX trait.)

An obsession with Zombies is my generation’s gift to you. Still alive, but a chaotic, overwhelming mess. You’re welcome.

But you know Minecraft.

You know how to fight Zombies. You are resourceful and imaginative. You know how to combat the walking dead even while re-envisioning and re-creating how a world could operate. You have a 1940s grit mixed with a 1960s justice blended with a 1980s punk attitude coupled with a 1990s edgy vibe with a globalized Millennial desire. You do not need to conform to the fears of this world. You actually could renew, reform, reinvigorate (Yes, Xers love “re”wording things) the platforms and patterns of this world. That gets me excited.

So, in the face of terror, don’t let terror defeat your resolve. In the face of divisive speeches, don’t let division disrupt your pursuit of restoration. Don’t let destructive forces and malevolent voices corrode your soul. Don’t let anyone entice you and entrap you. Don’t let anyone look down on you.

You are not small. So do not live a belittled life.

Yes, life will hurt and be hard. But you already knew that. You are not naive. Don’t let yourself be immersed into virtual realities or induced stupors or any type of fleeting scenarios where there is no hardship. Instead be bold enough to let the challenges empower the good that your life can offer this broken world. Use the trials before you to equip the God-ordained determination within you to get this world spinning in the right direction once again.

There are those who have lived before you who have remained strong in their faith in God’s intentions for humanity and for this world. May you now carry that emboldened generational torch. This world needs you to do just that.

Dear Millennials, may Paul’s words in chapters 3-4 of Thessalonians be words that other generations could speak over you: “It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord.” Amen

Ken Castor

Ken Castor is a husband, dad, pastor, writer and teacher. He serves as a professor at Crown College, Minnesota, where he equips students to pursue Jesus-Centered Faith and Next Generation Ministry. For 20+ years he's focused on equipping the next generations in places like the U.S., Canada, and Northern Ireland. He's the author of Grow Down (Simply Youth Ministry, 2014), Make a Difference (Broadstreet, 2016), the Blue-Letters Editor of the Jesus-Centered Bible (Group, 2015) and numerous other articles and Bible Study guides. But, whenever possible, he gets down on the floor and builds Lego with his kids. Connect with him @kencastor.

One thought on “Open Letter to Millennials

  1. First thing I read this morning, Ken, and it sets the tone for my day. I pray your words ring loudly and awaken the Body of Christ. Your encapsulation of the generations is vivid and concise. Your call is clear. God bless you. DB

    Liked by 1 person

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