As the mother of four young people ranging in age from 15 to 28, I’ve spent the last couple of decades trying to prepare them for the world they will live in.
Along the way I’ve listened to many a fellow parent bemoan the problems of “these kids today.” Memes of children walking around looking at their smartphones are our signposts of The End of Civilization as We Know It.
However, the parents and elders of every generation echo the lament, “These kids today …” There’s a quote, old enough to be sometimes attributed to Plato, which states, “The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”
Read Part 1.
What can Baby Boomer church leaders do to develop growing disciples from the Millennial generation?
1. Motivate and train older people to build growing relationships with younger people in your church.
Godly older people can be a powerful positive influence, if they don’t become isolated, bitter and alone. This is why church leaders must make ministry to senior citizens a top priority, and not just to provide aging generations fellowship with other old people. An effective senior citizens program must be much more than that. Left alone, seniors are likely to feel put out to pasture, as if their days of effectiveness for ministry are long gone. They need to be motivated and trained to spend their retirement years being proactive about building positive relationships with the next generation. Emerging generations need to hear their stories and learn the lessons of living for Christ over the long haul. In fact, I encourage church leaders all over the country to recruit older people to be youth workers. Yes, their days of playing tackle football are long gone, but one never gets too old to build relationships. The generation gap is perhaps best bridged by older people taking the initiative to develop growing, encouraging relationships with young people.
From Voice magazine, Mar/Apr 2016. Used by permission.
We are facing a clash of generations in America. The Baby Boomers—the generation of “The Sixties,” Woodstock and The Beatles singing “You say you want a revolution”—are kicking and screaming into retirement;1 while the Millennials, the first generation of “digital natives”2 and the most-observed generation in history, are facing their 30s.3
Boomers don’t want to give up their positions of influence or control and Millennials don’t see value in Boomers’ old-fashioned methodology. Instead, the younger generation is creating a new way of doing things. This phenomenon is true with everything from pocket-sized computers (thinly disguised as cell phones) to the Church. Millennials are walking away from traditional churches en masse;4 plus, an entire new generation of pastors would rather plant new churches than minister in established, traditional churches.5
"He rightly notes that every generation in recorded human history sees the next as spoiled, lazy, and selfish. I agree. And every generation in church history tends to see the next as carnal, unorthodox, unevangelistic, and uncommitted. But it’s just not so."
PyroManiacs: The bother comes from the idea that somehow we have finally found a group of fellas who are either more sanctified or more mature than anyone else has ever been, and these are the guys who are really ready to get down to the dirt of the thing and suffer for Jesus the way the NT says to suffer for Jesus.