5 Assumptions I Make About Baby Boomers In My Church

Courtesy of http://freestocks.org

Courtesy of http://freestocks.org

As Pastors and church leaders, we can be guilty of making assumptions about people and people groups. In this age of the American church, where more churches are being planted and neighborhood/denominational churches are closing, most of our assumptions have been pointed at the Baby Boomers... or, as we tend to call them, the old people.

We’re new, they’re old. We’re innovative, they’re stubborn. We’re fast, they’re slow. Basically… we’re right and they’re wrong. These are just some of our assumptions.

Well, I am a 37 year-old Executive Pastor with a staff mostly younger than me. Not only that, but our long-term, strategic, primary customer is young families. So, then, where does that leave the Boomers? How and where do they fit into our churches?

Of all of the living generations in America, the Baby Boomers have the highest belief that there is a God and a need for faith. Yet, their participation in the local church is only equal to other generations. Why is this? Are they being forgotten?

@@Until you challenge your assumptions, the Baby Boomers won’t fit very well.@@ Are you okay with this? I, for one, am not. Here are 5 new assumptions I am making about the Baby Boomers of my church.

1. They Aren’t Opposed To Change

Baby Boomers, for the last decade, have been thrust into all sort of change in our world. Mainly in the realm of technology. They may not like change, but it’s not change they are opposed to; it's change that isn’t well thought-out. Explain change and they’ll be with you 100% of the way.

2. They Appreciate Being Recruited

We assume that because the older generation has been around church for years that they know all the need without us communicating it. We also assume that they know we want them to get involved. Well, they are a respectful generation who are humbly allowing our generation to lead them. Therefore, they won’t be lurking around every corner asking “How can I help?!?!” Express to them the value they have to your church and intentionally recruit them.

3. They Are Way Better Encouragers Than Challengers

The 55 and older generation isn’t sitting back, waiting for you to fall on your face so they can say “I told you so” or “You should have done it the old way”. If you simply have face time with this generation, you will find they are your Barnabas - your great encourager! They are at your church because they see something in you and your ability to lead them. Their main agenda is seeing you succeed. Hear them out - you’ll be encouraged!

4. They Are Model Citizens

If the generations after the Boomers lack anything, it’s faithfulness. I say this as often as I can - @@my generation needs to make faithfulness sexy again.@@ We need to make a long obedience in the same direction something to admire and aspire to live out. When it comes to church attendance, generosity, volunteering - those 55 and older are your model citizens for your younger generations. Put them on display in key volunteering roles and tell their stories. Here’s a story we’re telling at Mission this month: 

5. They Aren’t Too Old To Find Jesus

Our mission is to help people find & follow Christ - and that means all people. Our geographic focus is over 250,000 people, of which 1/4 are 55 and older. That’s over 60,000 people! How could we not respond? We believe there are decisions to follow Christ still to be made within this generation! 

Check out this promo to our 55+ ministry, called "Mission Legacy":