The church’s unique composition offers opportunities—if we want them
“Why aren’t the young people stepping up?”
“Why aren’t the old people stepping down?”
“Those Boomers/Millennials/Gen Xers just don’t get it!”
In the past two years of pastoring and consulting congregations I’ve heard these comments and many more like them. Not coincidentally, they are the very same comments I hear from nonprofits and businesses while consulting to create and manage healthy workplace cultures.
Much has been made in recent years about a new reality in the modern workplace: four generations working side by side. Thanks to advances in medicine and extended longevity, people are now able to work longer and stronger. Coupled with a steady demand for workers, it is not uncommon to see a 50-year gap between workplace colleagues, and the challenges that go along with that gap in age and perspective. When frustrated, each can view the other as entitled, lazy, power-hungry, and clueless.
Congregations are not immune to these same dynamics—perhaps to an even great extent due to at least one more generational cohort added on the younger and older ends! Yet despite the multi-generational challenges congregations face, one cannot help but wonder if the church has something to share with other organizations. After all, from its early origins Christianity was designed as a body that welcomed and cared for all, regardless of age or status.
Download the full article “Generation to generation” (PDF) from the June issue of Messenger.
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Greg Davidson Laszakovits is a leadership coach and organizational development consultant, and sometime Church of the Brethren pastor. He lives in Elizabethtown, Pa., and can be reached at email@example.com.