Friday, September 14, 2018

Don't call them seniors

Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) don't like being called seniors and they're are used to getting things their way. This identity was given to them by marketing firms after noticing that the high birthrates and exploding economy following WWII created a generation whose presence had an impact on everything. They were responsible for daycare centers, professional youth ministry, singles ministry, megachurches and, now, older adult ministry.

They are healthier, more active, better educated and more financially secure than any previous generation. As a result they want to do something of value with the second half of their lives. You will find them volunteering with disaster response teams, nursing homes, food pantries and more. A church that wants to attract Boomers must be active during the week.

They have needs as well. Some have aging parents. Some are raising grandchildren. Many are trying to maintain contact with families that live in different parts of the country. Too many are coping with the broken marriages, addictions and financial struggles of their adult children.

Baby Boomers are creative and innovative and want God-sized tasks. They are willing and capable of running their own ministries; many have run businesses. They like options and trying new things.

Their busy lifestyles demand that events start and end on time. Boomers find it difficult to make long-term commitments because they like to travel to family events and for fun. They prefer to serve on a rotation basis that allows flexibility.

Another way Boomers are changing churches is the emergence of inter-generational ministry. They grew up in age-segregated society (school, work, retirement community, nursing home.) Now they enjoy doing things with their grandchildren and people of any age.

Many Boomers are unchurched and, although they are not looking for church, they may be looking for new friends. Weekday and evening activities may create new entry for Boomers and an opportunity to explore faith in Jesus Christ in this season of life.

Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your mighty acts to all who are to come.
Psalm 71:17-18 (NIV)