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Tips offered to mobilize Xers for missions task

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–Here’s a list of ideas and suggestions local churches can use to mobilize Generation Xers — Americans born after 1965 — for missions:
— Xers learn by doing, seeing, touching — and they want to make a difference. Offer them specific opportunities to experience missions in the community, the United States and other countries.
— Encourage Xers not just to take a mission trip, but to develop a mission lifestyle. First, however, model that lifestyle yourself. Actions impress Xers, not words.
— Develop mentor relationships with Xers, especially if you’re a member of the “Builder” (over 50) generation.
— Encourage Xers to work in mission teams at home and abroad. Xers value relationships and teamwork.
— Some of the biggest current roadblocks to missions involvement by Xers are overly cautious and protective Boomer parents. Don’t be one of them!
— Tell the stories of missions, past and present. Xers love stories. Share missionary biographies with them.
— Communicate missions like it is, warts and all. Xers value honesty, even if it’s painful, and detect “spin” a mile away. One genuine personal testimony shared in humility will go further with Xers than large helpings of hype.
— Preach the Bible for what it is: a missionary book from Genesis to Revelation. Xers open to God’s direction don’t just want blessings for themselves; they get excited about joining God’s plan to bless all the families (peoples) of the earth through Abraham’s seed (see Gen. 12:2,3).
— Inspire, don’t shame. Challenge and adventure motivate Xers, not guilt. Emphasize “how to,” not “ought to.” Xers want to cut to the chase and “just do it,” not talk it to death.
— Encourage young Xers to avoid debt before it ties them down to the United States.
— Value them. “We need to hear from the older generations that they believe in us, see good things in us and trust us with taking God’s cause to the next level,” pleads one Xer missions leader, Michael Schwartz. “Don’t say, ‘This generation is a bunch of slackers, so let’s hope the next generation is better.’ That’s what I’ve heard from plenty of mission folks in the Boomer and Builder generations.”