Understanding the Generational Differences in Your Church

Even in the local church, just like the work place there are generational differences. What each generation’s value is a good sign for the local church seeking to remain focused on reaching generation after generation with the gospel message. Please observe the following chart, which delineates the differences between the Veterans (Builders) Boomers, Millennial and Y generations.

Immediately you can see the differences between each generation in the chart above. There are generational values that come into play each time we gather to worship.

Think about this if you will! If you have within your church one group that was raised on a very liturgical form of worship that emphasized highly sacred songs of the early nineteenth and twentieth century, but your younger teenagers in the youth group and those even younger in the older children’s area which parents are now leading the church were raised on Toby Mac, there will be enormous tension. Many will unwisely try to merge the two traditions of musical preference only to find it will not unite but might almost destroy.

That is why most churches with multiple generations within them are going to multiple worship services in order to address these generational differences. Merging two styles into one worship service simply will not help the church grow today! Both groups leave worship disappointed and no one is drawn closer to the Lord in that situation. Our generational differences collide and we are left with more destruction then we were able to overcome. The understanding has to be that generations within your own church have different experiences, views, values, and needs even though they share the same worship space. One of the greatest benefits the millennial generation brings into our churches today is their focus on the community in which the church is located. They are not content simply to offer ministries to those who come “to” the church facilities; they are going “into” the community to serve the merchants and residents who work and live there.

We have a spiritual enemy that wishes to divide us, so that we do not work together. I also have a hunch that Satan wants to divide us generationally, so that we do not work together. When it comes to multiple generations within the church, division is bad, but the tension can be good because we need each other. I am able to do so much of what I do today because of the wisdom of those who have come before me. Within the business world generational differences jump out at the companies leaders. The veteran and early builder generations displayed maturity and an amazing sense of loyalty as well as allegiance to a church or even a company they serve. In contrast, todays younger generations show an incredible brilliance and application for the task yet they each have a ready in place exit strategy if they become dissatisfied and bored with the current state. If participation at work or at church is not offered then for the sake of balance the swift movement to something else takes place.

Let’s think about that fact and begin doing something about it! If you would like to have conversations related to this blog post, why not drop me a line so we can begin your journey and conversation.

You can connect with Dr. Tom Cheyney and the RENOVATE Church Revitalization Virtual Coaching Network additionally via Facebook at RENOVATE Conference. Tom is the co-author of Spin-Off Churches (B&H Publishers), a conference speaker and a frequent writer on church planting, new church health, and church revitalization. Be looking for The Biblical Foundations for Church Revitalization by Tom Cheyney and Terry Rials later this year. If you or your church would like more information you may contact him at Tom@renovateconference.org, or tcheyney@goba.org.

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