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6 Areas Where Ministry and the Generations Collide By Chris Hefner

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I was born in 1980 so I’m on the cusp of Generation X and the Millennials. On any given Sunday, our congregation has infants to people in their 90s. It is true that some churches are made up predominantly of one or two generations. For example, some older congregations are mainly the Silent (born 1920s-1940s) and Boomer generations (born 1940s to 1960s). Some newer churches may be predominantly Generation X (born 1960s to 1980s) and Millennials (born 1980s to 2000s). It appears to me that multi-generational churches are ideal and reflect the beauty of the body of Christ. As pastors and leaders, we are responsible for the spiritual care and leadership of our entire congregations. Regardless of our generational tendencies, we must minister to others who may think differently because of their age and life experiences.

Following are some observations about the generations. Many in the Silent generation experienced the Great Depression and World War II as children. They tend to be conservative and seek formal worship. A key word for the Silent generation and church is “sanctuary.”

The Boomer generation experienced a changing culture and high expectations. They often pursue standards of excellence and business savvy in their churches. A key word for the Boomer generation and church is “vision.”

Generation X reacted negatively to traditional religious experiences and is known for its absence at church. They tend to be spiritual (if not always church-going) and pursue real relationships in church environments. A key word for Generation X and church is “relationship.”

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