Ask These Three Questions to Help Millennials Refine Their Dreams


Young people are dreamers, and that is a wonderful thing. We want emerging generations to dream BIG, to do new things, to stand upon our shoulders and reach heights never realized before. The world is filled with naysayers; and the church already suffers from having a reputation as a people of “no.” When Millennials and Gen Zers come to you with a big dream, give them a different impression: be an encourager and a wise counselor.

How do you do that? That’s the challenge. Sometimes the ideas are so grandiose, so stratospheric, that a little reigning in is not only helpful, it is wise. You don’t want to crush someone’s dream as it is taking shape.

So be gentle, humble, and positive. Trust that if God has given the vision, it will succeed. And offer these three questions to help emerging generations refine their dream and plan a course of action as they pursue their God-given vocations.

What’s Your Plan? How Will You Accomplish Your Dream?

Millennials and Gen Zers are both concerned about social causes. They want to see the hungry fed, the thirsty given drink, the sick receive healing, the captives released, and the poor encountering the good news. If a young person comes to you with a big idea to relieve hunger, help orphans, provide coats during the winter, or to build a school, begin with an affirmation: “That’s an incredible dream. Tell me, how did you come to this idea?”

After listening to their story, ask, “Have you considered a plan?” Remind them that nothing is impossible with God, and that all great things have small beginnings. Invite them to consider what they would need: funding, structure, and support. Encourage them to work backward from their vision, starting with the big picture and then laying out the steps it would take to get there. Ask them, “Who would be a good counselor to ask for advice?”

The right questions can both clarify the dream and deepen the conviction. Ask about planning, not to show them how impossible the task will be, but how wonderful it will be when the work is done, bringing the vision to reality.

What Will Have to Break Right for Your Dream to become Reality Here?

Context matters. If someone wants to start a feeding ministry in a rather affluent area, how will those who are hungry receive meals? Will you deliver? Will they have to come by public transportation? Or would the ministry have to relocate to another neighborhood? Are there laws and regulations that need to be accounted for?

Gently invite your young dreamer to consider the context of their vision, and help them to define how their dream best fits with those who will be served when their work begins.

Is Now the Right Time to Pursue Your Dream?

Timing is everything. In one of his books, Jon Acuff writes about keeping one job that wasn’t his passion so that he could quit and pursue his dream when the time was right. Bills needed to be paid, his family needed to be taken care of, and his foundation needed to be secured before he launched a new venture.

The same is true for those with a big dream. Tomorrow might be the day to start. But a beginning might be better suited to a new season, after the completion of a degree, or after working long and hard to establish a network of advisors and support who can help make your dream a sustainable, established reality, and not just a flash in the pan.

Be gentle. But also be firm. Ask tough questions, but let the person you are speaking with know that you do so from a place of love, not from doubt. When a young person has a dream, you want to encourage them to pursue, and offer your wisdom as a counselor, advisor, and friend.