Understanding, Engaging, and Deploying the Generations Present in Your Church, part 1


We can learn from different generations by knowing the important trends and distinctions of each.

This is my first post of six dealing with generations. Let’s start with a generational quiz. Can you name this show based on its opening song?

“Here’s a story, about a lovely lady.” If you know this from childhood and not reruns on Hulu, you recognize it as the Brady Bunch. And you are likely a Baby Boomer.

Here’s another:

Do you know who KITT is (the car) and recognize the name Michael Knight? If you wanted a car like that as a child or knew that David Hasselhoff played Knight and became an international sensation, you are most likely a Gen Xer.

One more:

As a child, did you watch Mr. Feeny and the escapades of Corey, Topanga, and Shawn? If you grew up enjoying Boy Meets World, you might be a Millennial.

We live in a world of over seven billion people, half of whom are under age 30. In the United States, we now have four different generations functioning together in the workplace, which brings its own challenges and opportunities.

A Disclaimer

Since this is the first of a six-part series on generations, let me give the disclaimer at the beginning. Every generation has both identifiable trends and a number of outliers as well. Howe and Strauss, researchers on generations, describe the “peer personality” of a generation, which is “a caricature of its prototypical member.” They add, “A generation has collective attitudes about family life, sex roles, institutions, politics, religion, lifestyle, and the future.”[1]

Think of a great river like the Amazon. There are a number of unique tributaries joining the river as it flows to the ocean. But the river itself is clearly distinguishable from the tributaries. We can argue a bit over starting and ending dates and recognize exceptions in …

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