The church’s generational logjam

Pastor Keith Anderson says the church’s generational logjam is “making everyone cranky,” an observation which rings true to us here at the Cafe. In a blog posting about Congregational Connections: Uniting Six Generations in the Church by Carroll Sheppard and Nancy Burton Dilliplane, Anderson, who leads a Lutheran church in Pennsylvania writes:

We can no longer afford to lump olders together and youngers together. They [the six generations] are distinct groups with their own needs, styles, cultural references, and spiritualities. The book does a nice job describing those in a congregational context. The conflicts they create, which are described in the book, will sound familiar to many ministry leaders.

Importantly, they say, people no longer experience “middle age” but, in fact, middle ages. “Adults are now experiencing multiple “middle stages” rather than middle age. Boomers are coping with two middle stages, and many have changed careers in their forties or early fifties, having already spent 20 or 25 years in their first.”

This has all helped to create a generational log-jam. People are trying to cram into these traditional categories, and either find themselves squeezed out or jockeying for room, airspace, and leadership roles.

The leadership challenge here is clear: “Congregational leaders are faced with having to be all things to each of the six generational cohorts: Builders, Silents, Boomers, GenXers, Millennials and the young “GenZers.”

Visit his blog to see what he and the authors have to say about how this challenge should be faced.

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