So there’ve been all these posts lately talking about “things that 20-something’s should stop doing…” It’s easy for me to point out what people aren’t doing, but it’s probably more beneficial for us to think of things we should be doing… So here’s a list of 10 things (random and not in any particular order) that 20-somethings (this also goes for TEENAGERS, as well as those beyond their 20’s) should start doing:
1. Be a Mentor. You probably have a lot to give. You’ve been through a lot, you’ve made mistakes, and you’ve probably learned a lot of lessons. Go share that with someone who’s where you were just a few short years ago. Every Timothy needs a Paul.
2. Find a Mentor. You haven’t arrived. The things you don’t know outweigh the things you do know 10 to 1. All the successful people I know are not only investing into the lives of others, but they’re being poured into themselves. When you have a Paul in your life, you can be a Paul to someone else.
3. Tithe. I was blessed to grow up with parents who tithed, and even more blessed that they imparted the value of tithing on to me. Not only are we being obedient to God when we tithe, but we are investing into God’s kingdom, and that’s a pretty worthy investment. Don’t be “that guy” who enjoys all the benefits of your church, yet never contributes. Oh, and stop making excuses.
4. Practice Generosity. I’m a firm believer that people in our communities should be attracted to the church because of the generosity of those inside, particularly the young people. You go out to eat, you get coffee, you have friends. Be generous. Your regular server at Red Robin should smile when you come in because they are confident you’re going to tip them well. Don’t have enough to tip? Then go home and make a sandwich.
5. Be Present. This is something that our generation has almost completely lost the art of. Don’t be that guy at the restaurant who is sitting across from his friends but has his face buried in his phone. And yes, I’ve been guilty of this myself… But my wife, the students in our church, my friends, our community – they are worthy of our attention. We (me, and you) must reverse this trend, which is a downhill one.
6. Set an Example to the Older Generation. Paul advised Timothy not to allow people to look down on him because of his age, which means that was probably happening. However, he didn’t tell him to push back and tell them to “stop judging him…” Rather, he told him to set the example. Are the “old” people looking down on you? Good. That means their eyes are on you. Now give them a good reason to keep looking at you. Serve well. Work hard. Be polite. Make eye-contact. Shake hands firmly (guys). Smile.
7. Speak Highly of the Church. In other words, stop criticizing it. If I’m being honest, I’m a critical person. This is something God is really trying to fix in me. Whether it’s my hatred for sushi or yelling at the radio when ANY Alicia Keys song comes on, I have strong opinions. But what is never okay is being critical of God’s church. I don’t ever want to be that guy who is so engrossed into my church culture that when I think/hear about other churches that are different that I immediately go to what I don’t like or don’t agree with. Division kills. Unity builds. If you have nothing nice to say about that one church whose theology is different from yours, or the church whose pastor just had a moral failure, then just don’t say anything.
8. Receive Criticism. No, this isn’t opposite of the last point. We like to dish out criticism, but we don’t like to receive it (myself included). When you’re corrected, rebuked or challenged, allow the Holy Spirit to use it to do his work. Get good at this and you’ll become wise (Prov 1:7; 12:15; 18:2 etc). It hurts at first, but it’s how you grow.
9. Have really good friends. Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future. I first heard this as a 14yr old from Jeannie Mayo. Now I’ve recycled it numerous times as a youth pastor. It’s just so true. Get rid of your friends who bring you down and get some good friends. Friends that encourage you. Friends that laugh at you. Friends that challenge you. Friends that rebuke you. Friends that believe in you. Friends that rat you out when you’re being an idiot. Friends that encourage the gift of God in you. I am so thankful that Noelle and I have friends that do all of these. Life is awesome because of them.
10. Be Thankful. My mom is really good at this. And not just saying “thank you” to people, but just genuinely being really thankful to everyone and for everything. If there’s something valid that the previous generation holds against us, is that we are entitled and ungrateful. Thank God, your parents, your barista, police officers, your pastor. Let’s reverse the trend.
Feel free to leave your comments or add your own.