The internet has given everyone a platform. You don’t have to be intelligent, talented, or have a strong work ethic to be well known online. In recent videos I have watched online to learn some different media tools, I have found that there are young teenage kids who are the experts at media training. They are doing these tutorial videos and they aren’t much older than fifteen.
The dynamics have changed in the last decade. My generation loves it. The older generation is leery of it. The truth is, there are both blessings and curses to the trend of the internet.
Young leaders tout their knowledge and expertise as if we actually know what we are talking about; as if we are the experts. And because most of the other guys in our generation agree with us, we get away with it. We even gain some traction. After a certain number of “hits” on the blog, we begin to believe our own press.
The reality is, we know very little. We speculate. We theorize. We strategize. We analyze. We criticize. But we have very limited actual field experience and knowledge.
That doesn’t make us wrong – it just means we have to be more careful.
Don’t broad brush me, here. I’m not suggesting that every young leader with a blog is arrogant. I would be putting a nail in my own coffin if I meant that every blog from every young guy is a danger zone.
I have, however, been guilty of perhaps overstating some of my own positions. It’s easy to do. We believe in our hearts that we are right, and we begin to write about it and tell the world why we are right and they all have it wrong.
Now, I don’t think that young leaders should be held back simply because of our age. However, there should be an understanding on our part that we may not always get things exactly correct. Why not?
We are impulsive.
We are part of the “knee-jerk reaction” generation. We want to fix everything; now. We want to point out all the wrong and lift up all the good and we now have the vehicle with which to do it.
We are passionate.
Ninety-nine times out of one hundred, I would say that the motives of the guys in our generation are exactly 100% on target. We have good intentions. However, we often fail to see how what we say or write may have an impact on others.
We are warriors.
There is no doubt that this generation is as much a group of fighters as previous generations. We are just fighting about different things. To sit back and criticize the older generation for majoring on trivial things is a little hypocritical. The reason is because our generation is doing the same thing, but in a different way. Instead of focusing on being more conservative like our fathers, we are focusing on our liberties. And we will take anyone to task over it.
We are ministry driven.
We want to reach people. We want to build churches. We want to have an impact. We are hard workers willing to put in the time and energy to see something accomplished. The struggle is that we need to be Spirit driven and allow the Lord to do His work. That doesn’t mean we should be lazy, but it does mean that we are to be about His work and not our own big ideas.
Please note that these are not all bad things, but they can easily be used that way. In fact, in the right context and under the power of the Holy Spirit, these can be fantastic traits!
Also, understand that this post is not a reaction to anyone or anything that has recently been written or said. There are always interesting and controversial posts on the internet. There always will be. I’m not going to attempt to subtly fight them off one at a time. In fact, there are plenty of them that I enjoy and that help me.
This is more of a “letter” to my fellow young leaders reminding us of how simple it is to take the influence we have been given and use it in ways that will do more damage than good.
We must use the internet as a tool for challenging and edifying. Will there be times and places to call out problems or challenges or to rock the apple cart? Of course! I have done it and I am sure I will continue to do so. The spirit in which it is accomplished, however, is of incredible significance.
May we always remember that we are to constantly magnify our Savior and not ourselves; even in our internet presence.
What are your thoughts?