The importance of vision casting to invest in the church’s future by achieving long-term goals and advancing the community’s health has to be inclusive of each member in your congregation. For perhaps the first time since Jesus walked the earth, there are potentially six different generations represented in the church at the same time; and common beliefs and behaviors of one generation show its members to be different from people born at another time. This, along with spiritual gifts and talents, makes the church body unique.
Understanding The 6 Different Generations In The Church Today Guide shares that each generation consists of those born roughly during a 20-year period. As each generation moves up the ladder of age and takes a different place in society, the mood of the culture greatly changes. As each generation type is born, matures, comes to influence the culture, and then declines and dies, it plays a role in propelling society through a cycle of growth, maturation, entropy, destruction, and then regrowth. Just as in nature, this cycle of death and rebirth is necessary to maintain the health of the ecosystem of society.
A group of people who are connected by their place in time with common boundaries. A common character is what comprises that specific generation. These connections of people shape the life of your church in ways that will help keep you focused on communication practices, just for starters.
Think about it like this, there’s a lot of discussion about tithing in the bible and if it’s relevant in today’s church. A pastor from the Boomer Generation may have a different interpretation than a Millennial preacher. One may prefer passing the offering plate and the other automated church giving. Teaching and preference differences are not because the Word of God has changed. But because the deliverers of the message have been uniquely shaped in their understandings and practices of the tithe. Although both would most likely align themselves with the foundational ideology that giving back to the Lord is 100% about your personal heart attitude.
Let’s dive in a little further…
- The common theme among the great generation seems to be self-sacrifice. It is displayed in personal responsibility, humility, work ethic, prudent saving, and faithful commitment. This translates as loyalty to the local church in both word and deed.
- Those in the silent generation are disciplined, so they need to have places of service. Because of their need for relationships, they usually prefer small churches and are best reached by traditional forms of media.
- Boomers have been characterized as the “Me” generation. They are a spiritually searching generation and value self-expression in worship and a comfortable environment for church. They are also a generation with increasingly more time on their hands. They are looking to make a difference and get involved.
- Many Gen Xers were raised with no religious affiliation, and they may harbor distrust of religious institutions. Despite this, 70 percent identify as Christians. They often question authority but are surprisingly loyal to their faith and are less likely to disaffiliate from their religion.
- According to Barna, getting outside the humdrum of their everyday lives to experience transcendence—in worship, in prayer, in teaching—is a key desire for many Millennials when it comes to church.
- More than any other generation, Z is looking for what the church is doing for others. Rather than what the church can do for them. This group is looking for more than just a weekly sermon. They want to get to know the church and the pastor personally. (Most often through social media platforms which is a driving force to improve church tech). They want to be a part of a “movement.”
As The Church, we are to be united in our efforts (no matter our generation!) for the glory and growth of the Kingdom. 1 Corinthians 12:24b-26 says it this way,
“But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
The GI and Silent generations are the foundation of many churches and often, whether they know it or not, the key to reaching younger generations, their kids, and grandkids. We can learn and grow from each other- this is discipleship in action. Amen.
Learn to Reach the Six Generations in Your Community
With this new free guide, you can:
- Learn what Millennials are looking for in a church so you can more effectively reach them.
- Get a better understanding of your church’s future through a deep dive into today’s youngest generation, Gen Z.
- Discover how midlife Gen Xers’ commitment to family is opening up new ministry opportunities for your church.
Drake serves as an ACS Technologies Business Development Manager. He’s been with ACST for four years as a trusted advisor for clients and partners. He’s focused on process improvement, leadership development, and metrics for success. Drake enjoys time with his family and participates in various roles at his church.