The past two days I attended the Empower conference conducted by the Southern Baptists of Texas. I heard several great speakers and took many notes. One speaker stood out. He was a young guy who spoke about millennials – their mindset, their world view, and their passions. At one point he observed that older generations tend to interact with millennials in three ways: coddler, criticizer, or coach. A coddler tires to protect them, won’t allow them to fail, and in so doing hamstrings their ability to grow, learn, and take responsibility for themselves. A coddler wants to award everyone a trophy even when it has not been earned. A criticizer just throws things at them from the sidelines without ever being in the game. A criticizer has no interest in getting know individuals, understanding their view world, sharing their passion, or recognizing their potential. A coach, on the other hand, teaches and leads but then allows them to fail so that they can grow and learn from their mistakes. A coach is in the game with them, sharing their passion and developing their potential, but at the same time insisting that they do the work.
We can see this with Jesus’ relationship with His disciples. Jesus certainly did not coddle His disciples. Not only did He refuse to spoon feed His disciples all the answers, He also sent them out on their own to do ministry and there were many times when He allowed the disciples to fall on their face. The disciple’s failure was even a fulfillment of prophecy as they abandoned Jesus on the night He was arrested. Jesus also did not criticize. Even though He corrected, reproved, and at times even rebuked His disciples, Jesus was always in the game with them and His correction was always for their growth. Jesus was the epitome of a coach. He was in the game, He taught, He demonstrated, He never led where He had not already gone Himself, and He supplied the game plan but expected the disciples to do the work. Above all Jesus loved His disciples and sought to bring out the best in them.
As we approach the younger generation, or any relationship in our lives, let’s not coddle or criticize the spiritual life out of them. Instead, let’s follow Jesus’ lead as we love and seek to bring out the best in those that God put in our lives.
Adam Davis, Senior Pastor FBC Archer City, TX