What do handshakes, relationships, breakfast cereal, home ownership, and bars of soap have in common? Not much on the face of it, yet these are among the many things that are supposedly being ruined by millennials.
In case you've heard the term, but aren't quite sure what it means, millennial is the term commonly used to describe the current generation of young people, ranging in age from their teens to their mid twenties. This is the generation which has grown up with smartphones, Netflix, and social media; they have also become a convenient scapegoat for many of society's ills.
While every generation has its faults, the criticism of today's youth can be particularly excessive. Many of those who make sweeping generalisations fail to recognise that there are many young people who, far from being self-absorbed, are eager to make a positive difference to the world in which they live.
A case in point: The Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland organises a series of GO Teams each year, with mainly young people taking part. It was our privilege, along with our sister church in Letterkenny, to welcome a team of young people to work with us from 20th - 26th August.
These young people could have spent their week doing something else; instead they chose to spend it serving Jesus Christ and helping to spread his message in Donegal. At times this meant leaving their comfort zones far behind, but they persevered because of the delight they take in seeing people hear the good news.
The week's activities were varied. The team joined us in St Eunan's Nursing Home to sing psalms for one of our members who lives there and the other residents. It was great to get chatting with some of those who live there.
The team also helped us to hold a Holiday Bible Club and Community BBQ in Lower Mount Marian. It was exciting to see so many children brave the poor weather, and even more exciting to hear members of the team explaining the meaning of Jesus' parables to these children.
The team members took to the roads in the afternoons, stopping at houses in the outlying Milford area in order to invite residents to our church services. We greatly appreciate the help they gave us all week.
The thing is, these young people who were working with us this summer don't fit into the cliché about their age group. Yes, they all have smartphones, yes they use Instagram and take selfies; but rather than frittering away their summer, they chose to do something worthwhile.
What could prompt a group like this to step out of their comfort zones, come to Milford, and speak to the people who live here about Jesus Christ? It can't be explained by anything but a love for him, an excitement at the salvation he has given them, and a thankfulness for all the blessings he showers upon his people. We pray as a church that many of those who live in our town will come to experience this for themselves.