Archive for July, 2013

Leading Millennials in the Family, Workplace, and Church

Today, welcomes guest writer, Dr. Nick Floyd. Dr. Floyd is a Teaching Pastor at Cross Church.

Nick FloydThey’re influencing every facet of society. They’re making their mark on communities like never before. They’re dead set on changing the world. Who are these people? The Millennials. This group of young adults, born between 1980-2000, is the next generation looking to make a major impact on culture, the economy, and the moral make up of America. An increasing amount of information is being written and spoken about regarding this generation and the impact they are having and will have on the world. Thom and Jess Rainer recently put out a fascinating podcast on the Millennial generation, providing helpful information on this intriguing group.

But who are these iPhone obsessed people? And how in the world do parents, employers, coaches and pastors of millennials learn to lead them effectively? Millennials would cry that they are often misunderstood (as this New York Times piece shows). In order for us to effectively lead millennials, we must effectively understand them. I have a few confessions to make. I am a millennial (class of ’83). I lead a staff made up of several millennials who serve a church packed full of millennials.

Here are two things I have learned, as well as a few things I’m still learning as I seek to lead the millennials that God has put under my care.

They want to be heard. That doesn’t necessarily mean what they say has to be done, but they want to have an avenue of discussion. That may be with a boss or with a pastor. That can even be with a parent. I recently heard a dad explain this in dealing with his millennial child. When I grew up, when my parents said, “Because I said so,” I simply responded with obedience with no questions asked. This dad explained how his child does obey out of respect for him, but she really wants to know why. Now there is certainly a balance here, but this simple story does illustrate this powerful principle of being heard.

As a millennial, one of my biggest struggles is when I feel like there’s not an opportunity to express my opinion in the midst of the discussion. I believe many millennials are like me. It doesn’t mean we always have to be told yes, but it does mean we want to have a voice in the discussion. Are you giving the millennials under your care an opportunity to be heard?

They want to change the world. In former generations, you would likely only learn of those making a big impact through television, newspaper, or maybe even a magazine. With the new landscape of the Internet, Twitter, Facebook, and other technological advances – everybody knows who is doing something significant across the world – and they know it immediately. As a result, I believe there’s a growing dissatisfaction among millennials with the status quo. Now this is a slippery slope, and honestly a dangerous one. There’s something to be said about simple faithfulness wherever God places a person. Here’s where I think this provides both a challenge and an opportunity to employers.

The millennials that you lead know a lot about other places of the world, other businesses, and other churches. This means if they don’t feel like they are making a significant impact at your place, they know about a place where they can. In these cases, loyalty goes out the window in favor of making a big impact somewhere else. I’m not saying this is right, but I am saying this is reality in many cases. The challenge this brings is that it downplays loyalty and heightens the sense of the individual. The opportunity this brings is that as long as we continue to show millennials their value and the significant role they play, there’s a great chance they’ll stay. Are you showing the millennials under your care the opportunities they have to make a significant impact within your church, business, or family?

Finally, let me give a word to other millennials. May the words that mark us not be pride, disloyalty, and dissatisfaction. Instead, may the marks of godliness of humility, honor, and trust in where God has placed us reign in our lives. Let’s be humble and recognize we don’t know everything in the world there is to know. Let’s learn with humility. Let’s honor those who have given us opportunities, invested in us, and shown great confidence in us. Let’s trust the Lord. Let’s believe He has placed us where we’re at for a purpose. As Rick Warren says, “The grass is not always greener on the other side. The grass is greener where you water it.”

May faithfulness lead to greener grass.

Dr. Nick Floyd

Teaching Pastor, Cross Church

Developing Next Generation Leaders

Today, welcomes guest writer, Dr. Jeff Crawford. Dr. Crawford is the President of Cross Church School of Ministry and a Teaching Pastor at Cross Church.

Jeff CrawfordI was called to the ministry when I was 14 years old. The year was 1986. Back then, the path to preparation was college and then seminary. I followed the path and I have no regrets. Oklahoma Baptist University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and finally, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary yielded three degrees that have served me like three keys opening multiple doors in the ministry. But this path also was incomplete in terms of a rounded preparation for my calling. My most valuable lessons and skillsets have been learned by doing and by sitting at the feet of great leaders.

In the last 20 years, there has been a shift. I have watched as more and more God-called men and women have deviated from the prescribed “path” and have instead sought the route of pure experience. This devaluing of the formal education process has yielded ministers of great skill, but lacking in theological, biblical, and missiological depth. The result is a shallow ministry practice that fails to serve God’s people.

There must be a better way. There is a better way.

For 26 years, Dr. Ronnie Floyd has led Cross Church, pouring into the lives of next generation leaders. Our common practice has been to seek out the sharpest, young, God-called men and women walking the path of a formal education, and culling them out into internships at Cross Church. This summer is no exception, as 18 of the best next gen leaders are with us during their summer break. We have also been skilled at identifying the sharpest graduates from college and seminary, and bringing them onto our staff team to serve our church while we develop them. In fact, I am a product of the Cross Church system. I served as an intern the summer of 1989 and then after graduating from seminary, served the Cross Church family for nine years through Shiloh Christian School and what was then the Church at Pinnacle Hills. The lessons of leadership and ministry I learned from Cross Church and Dr. Floyd have been invaluable, and coupled with my formal education, have shaped who I am today.

Enter the Cross Church School of Ministry. In just a few short weeks, we will be launching this unique ministry residency program that we believe will change the landscape of ministry preparation and next gen leadership development. Just this last week, I read a fascinating article by Tony Morgan where he recalls a conversation with Dave Travis, the managing director of Leadership Network. In discussing the development of future leaders, Travis explains that, The question will not be ‘where did they go to school?’ but rather ‘where did they train?’” Dave Travis is correct. This trend is already in full swing. The Cross Church School of Ministry is the next step in the progression of leadership development for the future. We are not saying that the formal path of education is unimportant. To the contrary, we are saying it is critically important – just not all that there is to ministry preparation. The Cross Church School of Ministry capitalizes on the best of both worlds. We have developed partnerships with twelve schools and seminaries. This means that academic institutions are on board and see the value of residency training. The Cross Church School of Ministry also demonstrates a unique commitment to academia, while at the same time, elevating real-time training in ministry through a residency experience.

We are convinced that this will be the model for the future of next generation leadership development. And the result will be that the church and Kingdom are served at a greater and higher level than ever before!

Dr. Jeff Crawford

President, Cross Church School of Ministry and Teaching Pastor

To learn more about the Cross Church School of Ministry, check out our website: