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September 7th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

72 comments (+ Add)

Generational Tension

Thanks for the help last week on brainstorming titles for the new book. Your insights were amazing. (I’ll let you know the final name when we have one.)

I’d love to learn more from you.

Brad Lomenick asked me to do a talk about “Generational Tension” for Catalyst.

I’d be grateful for your insight(s):

  • What tension(s) do you see between the older and younger generations in ministry?
  • What is the biggest challenge facing the older generation? Younger generation?
  • What questions do you have about this subject?

Please include your age if you think it might be helpful.

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Comments

there are a total of72
  1. Sep 7, 2010 at 7:21 am

    1. I’ve seen a rising disconnect between how the two generations treat evangelism (sharing the Gospel story). Many people of the older generation are frustrated with the younger generation’s sentiment that “living like Jesus is good enough” and that sharing the Gospel actively is unnecessary and counterproductive. This “disconnect” is beginning to cause tension as our local church is still seeing conversions mostly made by the older generation, who are afraid that evangelism in our congregation will die with our parents.

    2. In light of #1, I think the biggest challenge is that the older generation has lost the ability to inspire the younger generation to take responsibility for the spiritual well-being of their neighbor. The younger generation has a challenge to find that evangelistic fervor for themselves.

    3. I’m curious to know if other churches are seeing a connection in evangelism between the older and younger generations. Specifically, are there churches where the older is training/inspiring the younger to be active with sharing Jesus with people?

    (Pastor, can’t wait to hear your talk at Catalyst this year. I was bummed last year when you weren’t on the speaker list since you were speaking at the Hillsong conference in London. This year is going to be much better. :)

  2. Sep 7, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Biggest tension: lack of communication between generations, which leads to disagreements about worship styles, ministry direction, etc. Instead of discussing their differences, they keep it ‘bottled up’ and eventually explode, which usually turns out worse than if they just talked.

    Biggest challenge for older generation:
    The ability to see the younger generation and realize the decisions they make are very similar to the ones they made when they were younger.

    Biggest challenge for younger generation:
    To understand what the older generation has to offer, but the communication issue discussed earlier usually prohibits this from happening.

    Personal questions:
    • Do you forsee issues for the American church when the boomer generation becomes the ‘old/established/ruling body’ of the church?

    Looking forward to Catalyst…

    38 years old
    Pastor of Students

  3. Sep 7, 2010 at 7:27 am

    I believe that there is a legalistic tension between older and younger generations. The older generation is more traditional, sticking to the practices of times past. The younger generation is beginning to fall in love with Jesus (along with their tattoos, piercings and screamo music).

    What builds that tension is the state of the heart. Too often we look at the brand people wear, the car they drive, or the way they talk. It’s all about whether their heart is connected to Jesus and they have a personal relationship with Him. I’m 19.

  4. 4Tim
    Sep 7, 2010 at 7:31 am

    What tension(s) do you see between the older and younger generations in ministry?

    In the ministry I am part of the use of technology is a big cause of tension. There are many new communication tools that the younger generation uses that the older ones will not. This leads to communication breakdowns between the generations simply because of either generations unwillingness to embrace the others tools.

  5. Sep 7, 2010 at 7:35 am

    I’m 28 and I serve on a staff that includes 3 guys who are 60+. I love and respect them and truly want to honor them, especially for the investments they’ve made in my life. At the same time, I’m called to help our church reach a younger generation. My biggest question is how do I balance honoring them and their years of ministry while at the same time changing and undoing some of the things that they put into place to reach previous generations?

  6. Sep 7, 2010 at 7:39 am

    There are a number of tensions I see (and have felt) between the old and younger generations in ministry and here are a couple:
    1. Worship style as a focus - how you worship vs. who you worship.
    2. Their view of what a Pastor should be - younger want to see a pastor as friend and equal and older what to see as a stoic but friendly “man of God” who is above them.

    Challenges: Younger - Not getting so stuck in the Social Gospel that they miss the Gospel itself.
    Older - Missing out on the social Gospel and its being the hands and feet of Christ.

    Question: How do you Bridge the gap between the generations and their philosophies of ministry?

  7. 7Victoria Dewees
    Sep 7, 2010 at 7:45 am

    I’m 16 and sometimes it seems like the adults don’t take me seriously. Some don’t care to hear or listen to your ideas.
    I know that the stereotype for a teen is young and dumb.. But what about the kids not in that stereotype that are fulfilling their purpose and living out Gods plan?

  8. Sep 7, 2010 at 7:59 am

    I’m 29 and my lead pastor is 59. Love the guy. Love working on staff with him. For us, one of the tensions is life stage. Our lives simply look vastly different. I have a young family at home. He and his wife have been empty-nesters for many years. It’s usually a healthy tension for us because we constantly have to remember that our lives are different. But it can cause problems when I can’t immediately respond to those three emails on Labor Day because I’m intentionally spending time with my family.

  9. 10Gord Millar
    Sep 7, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Worship style is a big tension, with some (but not all) of the older generation wanting it to be more traditional. Be that with songs choices, lighting, ect. And the younger generation just wanting to change everything. The challenge for the older generation is to see that the new things being introduced are there to reach those in our communities that have no church background. The challenge for the younger generation is honor the older generation for the work they have done and their service for the Kingdom. The challenge for churches is how to honor and continue to leverage the wisdom of the older generation while making changes to reach the younger generation.
    I am 40 years old and give leadership to our tech teams in a volunteer capacity.

  10. 11bianca
    Sep 7, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Age:25
    * What tension(s) do you see between the older and younger generations in ministry?
    - i think it’s hard for the older person to relate to the younger, especially with the internet and everything that brings about. I think younger people want to be honest and free about things, but they fear the consequences of the older generation, fear of not being understood and loved.
    * What is the biggest challenge facing the older generation? Younger generation?
    - relating to each other

  11. Sep 7, 2010 at 8:30 am

    In answer to the “leading up” question, I would want to emphasize the need for genuine humility. I’m 29 and now I’m a church planter, living totally outside of the box, but for several years before planting a new church I was an associate pastor at a large UMC. With a little bit of distance, I can see how I probably made my senior pastor crazy as I constantly pushed the envelope and challenged the system. Fortunately, I think he valued that in me as part of the team, but I can think of several occasions where I didn’t have the full picture and I pushed harder than I should have with the idea that I knew better than someone who had been in full-time ministry for over 30 years.

    In short, challenge the system, push the envelope, but do so with thanks that a previous generation worked faithfully to nurture a space and a church where you can do so.

  12. Sep 7, 2010 at 8:37 am

    When the tension is there, I often think that the parties involved are not allowing the Holy Spirit to lead. Instead, their agenda, generational experience, bullheadedness, or just plain selfishness is often at the helm.

    Maybe a little over simplified.

  13. Sep 7, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Tension: The older generation wondering when they will become irrelevant. The younger generation wondering when the older generation will realize they already are.

    Leading up: A key to leading up is your leader knowing that you are loyal and faithful. When you push him to make changes and church people start bailing out, he will know that you won’t.

  14. Sep 7, 2010 at 8:43 am

    #1: Other than what has already been said (which I agree with), I would say one of the biggest tensions is the respect/lack of respect given to what I will call decorum. Explanation: in the effort to be authentic I think some of the young bucks tend toward crassness and even vulgarity-in and out of the pulpit- that would have been unacceptable in my “day.” (ahem…still is).

    #2: Biggest challenge to younger gen: listening to the older ones and not writing them off as dinosaurs. Older generation: listening to the younger ones and not writing them off as rebels without a cause. I think both have much to offer the church and need to learn wisdom in dealing with each other.

    #3: How can there be better communication between the two gens?

    Age 57 but wishing I was younger but knowing I will be 58 in less than a month. :)

  15. Sep 7, 2010 at 8:49 am

    I’ve experienced a sense of been there done that from a few congregations. The older crowd looked down on us for wanting to change a few things, like communion availability each Sunday as opposed to only once a week as a part of the service, and other little things. But we made our case and said “we have to keep trying, if we don’t try then we really fail.” That statement really seemed to strike a chord and we made some major changes since then because once we started making changes the majority of people liked and started adding more ideas and gave better feed back over time. In a little over a year we’ve gone from a church of 250 in a stained glass sanctuary to two services with about 200 people each and a full band of youth students who are blazing for the Lord. You just have to keep trying.

  16. Sep 7, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Great insights all around! I turn 40 this year..so I see myself as standing with one foot in each group.

    Tensions: There are several. But the one that sticks out to me the most is communications related. The older generations in our church see “church” as more of a one way communication model (traditional preaching/lecture style). The younger generations (I work with Youth) see church as a conversation. This is most likely due to social media effects. I prefer the conversation approach to learning and following Jesus. Older generation sees the pastor and certain teachers as the voices to be listened to. Younger generations believe that everyone has a voice in the conversation as we try to learn together.

    Biggest challenges. Echoing some of the previous comments. Older generation - don’t write off new ideas/approaches and different communication styles. Younger generation - recognize the experiences and knowledge of the older generation. FYI - you don’t get old by being stupid. :)

    The good news is that I have seen a small shift as older generations become more connected online. Even their communication styles change somewhat. This then has given some of them the chance to communicate with some younger people as less of a faith fossil. :D

  17. 18Carrie
    Sep 7, 2010 at 9:01 am

    #1 I think he biggest challenge is communication and one generation actively pouring into the other.

    #2 Biggest challenge to younger generation: Getting so caught up in the social gospel they don’t ever share with people what really matters…salvation through Jesus Christ. I would argue that some don’t really know what to believe themselves so they just throw themselves at whatever.

    #3 Biggest challenge for the older generation: To patiently listen to the younger generation, pour into them, value them, listen to their ideas, disciple them, they won’t know which way to go if you don’t actively participate in showing them the way.

  18. Sep 7, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Craig, this is an important topic to address because the similarities can be surprising.

    Ex: After a month of home gatherings meeting people in my new church, I saw confirmed how much unity there was about a new direction for music in worship. A couple of the strongest supporters are in their 90’s. A couple of hesitant people are in their 30’s.

    That said, I think there are already good comments about tension over evangelism, social justice, and the gospel. Many of these probably have as much to do with generational trends within church cultures (methodist, baptist, non-denom, catholic, presby, etc) as anything else.

    Leading up is a reality I live with as a United Methodist. I’m a lead pastor, age 36, 8.5 years out of seminary, in a strong small county seat type church that is ready to grow evangelistically and take new steps in mission. UMC Bishop Will Willimon has said that (in human terms) we don’t really have any power over people; we have what we can talk people into. I would add to that, we have what we can listen people into. I have a clear sense of where I’m headed with folks. And I know that I’m praying and teaching people towards it, and talking them into it too. But running parallel with those things is listening people into where we’re going. It takes a lot of time, but I’m not planting a church. I’m leading an long-time existing church into its next season of ministry. Listening people into where we’re going is critical. My staff is young, but my church lay leadership is 30s-70s.

    I think the same dynamic will be at work for those of us with involved denominational structures. Listening people into where we need to go at the same time as talking people into where we need to go (maybe a little ahead). Hybel’s talk at WCAGLS this year that included “moving people from here to there” has been food for thought with this too.

    Humility is key, but that is a disposition. Listening (even when you have the sense of direction) is the action that enfleshes humility.

  19. 20Dave
    Sep 7, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Using “older” and “younger” implies that there are only 2. I am 45 and find myself (and our church) caught in the middle. We don’t “do church” like those 60+ and the things we do only reach a relatively small percentage of those between 17 and 30.

    Biggest challenge is that each generation expects the other to communicate in their preferred style. i.e. The Millennials expect Boomers to learn social media and web 2.0 while the Boomers expect others to turn off the device and look them in the eyes.

  20. 21Keith Bethell
    Sep 7, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Hey Pastor Craig,

    I’m 21 and have been a youth worker/volunteer for about 3 years before I left home (The Bahamas). My church is Methodist (Similar to the UMC) and we’ve had the constant tension between young and old.

    The challenge the elderly are facing is that they are afraid to embrace change. They see change as something that is stripping away the heritage of the Methodist Church. Also, change to them also means embracing something bizarre and something they are not able to understand. For example, they do not understand why our guitars for the youth Praise band have to be so loud. They want to know why aren’t we singing songs that EVERYONE knows or remix songs from the hymn book so that everyone can read and follow. Another example is our youth meeting. We tend to have strobe lights and Christian rap music. Just because they do not understand what the rap artist is saying they will say it’s not holy and should not be allowed. However, the kids hear every positive word in the song. I understand that certain symbols and practices in the traditional church point to a closer relationship with God but what works for Peter will not necessarily work for John.

    The challenge the youth are facing is obviously aforementioned. The elderly do not want to embrace change and new concepts. Therefore, we gave the children and teens their own worship service in the youth block. The entire church meets every 1st Sunday together for communion. Teens have creative ways of expressing themselves through video, music, arts and so on. Their gifts are being hindered in the very place they need to be cultivated. Another thing they are facing the challenge of is sermons. We have a lot of ministers who know how to PREACH to a congregation but not simultaneously TALK to and with them. Therefore, the sermons become long, overdone and irrelevant in most cases. This generation wants to do things for God now and is committed and radical to the call.

    But this scares the elderly, because I live in a culture where the youth are becoming increasingly rebellious. The elderly are trying to prevent this behavior from entering into the worship experience. They fear that church will become a freak show or a free-for-all, anything-goes type of church. However, our late former Prime Minister once said “the youth of our nation is the wealth of our nation”. I feel ultimately if the youth want to be respected for their new ideas, they must ease into it with grace and PATIENCE. At the same time, the elderly must realize that the church will become a relic in time if they do not embrace new ways of reaching this generation.

    Acts 2:17 says ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.’

    The young see visions that will capture the world for Jesus Christ. They will march on with these visions of new ways of reaching the lost generation. I believe also the reason the old dream dreams is so that they can interpret the dream and guide the young accordingly. I’ve realized that there will come a day when I will have to let my young people sing songs other than Israel Houghton and Hillsong because they may become irrelevant.

    One of my mentors once said the church looks at ministry as you:
    Believe, Become, then Belong

    This generation looks at it as you:
    Belong, Become, then Believe. I think its time we change our perspective in the body of Christ.

    Blessings.

  21. Sep 7, 2010 at 9:44 am

    27 Pastor of College/20s: I can speak best to the tension in our church. We are turning the ship, so to speak, and the tension I see is the older generations feeling disrespected (perhaps out of an older brother mentality, but nonetheless disrespected). The younger generations can say, your preferences for hymns and Sunday school can’t outweigh what’s best in moving forward. At the same time, the younger crowd can also be guilty of elevating preferences to prescriptions–we become guilty of the same chronological snobbery.

  22. Sep 7, 2010 at 9:59 am

    As a caught in the middle (44).

    I see elders passing on to their reward, having left us the testimony of sacrifice and commitment to spiritual disciplines, “bible study, prayer, fasting, etc.” to a generation that has become more focused on evangelism, “mega churches, multiple campuses, etc.” that is leading a generation that appears to still be defining themselves with the tools of technology and the ease of connection. I believe all are important and that each generation is responsible to communicate why we “did” “do” and “try” certain practices.

    I do not believe this is a new challenge in the kingdom of God. Consider “Joshua”, he could see the promise and opportunity of possessing Canaan, however was unable to “sell it” or convince his elders, so he waited…

    Which generation is at fault? I believe both, the younger for not effectively convincing, and the elder for not investigating.

  23. 24Tom E. Snyder
    Sep 7, 2010 at 10:33 am

    David Weinberger wrote a book called “Everything Is Miscellaneous.” Someone should write one called “EVERYONE Is Miscellaneous.” I think we do a grave injustice we we try to put people in a box. We marginalize them by stereotyping them rather than getting to know them as individuals.

    I’m 63; some of you think you know how I feel about some things by that fact. I’m male so some of you think you know how I feel about certain other issues.

    No, THEY don’t “all look alike” nor do they all think alike. You don’t know me by knowing certain statistics about me. I am an individual, not a group.

    Pardon the rant; I’m just one of those old fogies. ;-)

  24. 25David Lewellyn
    Sep 7, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Some tension lies in the way we speak. Ministry designed for young people is sometimes called something like, “NextGen” or some other “hip” sounding name. The problem I see when we speak like this is, we are telling young people that they can change the world and bear big influence, but it’s for the future. Not now, they are the next generation and the current one isn’t ready to give it up yet. It’s a line that is drawn and probably unintentionally. I wonder if we could change the way we name things tear down some perceived walls. A partnership among generations could really benefit the church. Which leads me to my question. Do you think the way we have separated our churches into generational ministries e.g., Kids Church, Youth Group, Adult Sunday School, Young Singles, has aided in creating some tension between the generations?

    I am a 26 year old youth pastor in Eastern Washington State.

  25. 26Colt
    Sep 7, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Craig,
    Great topic and discussion going on this morning. I’m a 23 year old youth pastor in Oklahoma.

    I think the key things that separate the older and younger generations aren’t really key issues at all. They are more like cultural things.

    Worship: Older people like the stuff they grew up with and can’t see how God would like anything different either. They may have a point, since we know we’ll get issued Baptist Hymnals to sing from when we get to heaven.

    Technology: Older people don’t understand it, the younger generation thrives on it. The use of technology in the church seems more like a “show” to the older generation where it keeps the younger generation connected.

    Clothes: When the older generation grew up in church, people wore their Sunday’s best, and that’s how it should always be. The younger generation sees the relaxed dress as a more inviting environment for people.

    In my opinion, the younger generation looks for opportunity to change people outside of the church, where the older generation sees the church (building) as the only place for life change. For example: Sunday school has to be done at church. Groups outside of church meeting in the community, how will that work?

    These are some things that may seem crazy and irrelevant to some of you, but I honestly think once these things are resolved, many of the generational gap issues in the church would be solved. Just figuring out what is “core” and what is “cultural.”

  26. Sep 7, 2010 at 11:16 am

    My two biggest tensions relationships and questions.
    I’m 54. How much time, while subjective, is a good rule of thumb for maintaining good staff relationships with those in 20’s?
    Should the questions be a little different? In other words are there questions you would definitely want to ask those in the younger generation?
    I suppose on the one hand I want to maintain a great relationship, and on the other hand be a good mentor and developer.

  27. Sep 7, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    I’m 25 years old and grew up at Grace Lutheran Church in Huntington Beach, CA. I’ve been on staff for the past six years since the age of 19.

    My efforts to “lead up” are to be enthusiastic about our church and its people so that staff/pastors know I truly care and have their interest at heart. Once I’ve won over the pastor, staff, and some members, my only other strategy is to feed them new ideas in as non-threatening a way as possible. I hand them books I’ve enjoyed. I email them notes from conferences I attend (sometimes on my own dime) — I recently emailed them my notes from CATALYST ONE DAY and WILLOW CREEK SUMMIT. If there are some new worship songs that are connecting with my generation, I go through the work of buying a CD of the song for our worship leader and giving it to them along with the CCLI chord charts for the song. Finally, I lead by example. I’m often not met with success, but I definitely notice a change over the last few years. I would say the MOST IMPORTANT factor is the pastor constantly driving home the message that our church doesn’t exist for ourselves. Once the members realize its not about them, then they are more open to change, even change they don’t believe in.

  28. 29Jeremy
    Sep 7, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    I am 35 and on staff with a 4500 member, non-denominational church. My senior pastors were on a discussion panel at a conference a couple of weeks ago. As they spoke, I realized that they have this wonderful ability to put themselves in someone else’s place, to imagine how they may be feeling. All the staff attempts to follow this pattern of being able to sympathize/empathize with others.

    It makes our decision making and leadership wiser and stronger. I can honestly say, amazingly enough, this has eliminated generational tension. People who know they are loved and taken into account seem to give more grace towards their leaders. All the best with the new book.

  29. Sep 7, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    The tension I see now is folks in the older generation trying to force younger generation leaders to do the exact things they did in the exact same way (the “proven” ways). If the younger folks aren’t willing to do things the RIGHT way, then the older folks will just quit.

  30. Sep 7, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    I am 34 years old and have served as Youth and Worship Pastor for almost 10 years in the same church. I have recently changed roles as we hired a young man as youth pastor. Our lead pastor is 60 years old and our youth pastor is 22. I think the biggest challenge facing our younger generation is in the area of Honor. This was a hard lesson for me to learn but extremely necessary. In the fast pace world of new things to reach new people we often forget that a whole generation laid the foundation for us to build a new house on. In the debate about ideas and techniques we have to teach our generation about Honor. It can’t be left out! I feel one of my most important roles here at our church currently is to lead by example in this area, in speech, actions, and prayer.

  31. 32Jon Ritner
    Sep 7, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    1. Many of the age-old generational tensions…older generation tends to be more conservative, slower to adapt and less likely to take risks or be creative. Newer generation tends to think they have better answers amidst less experience, they don’t think anyone takes them seriously, they want to marginalize elders as messengers even though they may have a better message than the young generation.

    I would like to know Who are the best churches out there at mixing older and younger staff while serving an intergenerational church?

    And secondly, With limited staff resources, how do you successfully overlap older and younger generations in the same areas, so one does not leave the day the next one starts. Maybe a better way to say it is, how do we help older generational staff leave well, and before it is too late?

  32. 33Jon Ritner
    Sep 7, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    34 Associate/Executive Pastor

  33. Sep 7, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    I think the biggest challenge facing both the older and the younger generation is ownership. The younger generation faces the challenge of stepping up and being part of what God is doing. Often the tendency is to sit back and be amazed at what has happened in the past, rather than stepping out and believing God for more!

    The old generation faces the same challeng (ownership) in the sense of encouraging and empowering the younger generation to “go for it” for Jesus! Often the older generation will say, “Well we need younger people to help out more”, when in reality what they are saying is “I want someone who is younger to do exactly what I do and exactly the way I do it.”

    If a younger generation is going to see God do great things, they must be encouraged by the older generation and even empowered by them to make it their own.

    Those are a few of my observations in ministry.

  34. Sep 7, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Biggest Challenge: Finding an older minister to take to show an interest to pour himself into younger ministers.

    Like most, I am beyond busy. However, I would travel 100 miles one way once a month if I knew an older minister I respected was prayed up and wanting to pour into me.

    I am 43.

  35. Sep 7, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    I think the biggest issue in generational tension is generalization . . . the old thinks all new is bad . . . the young thinks all the old is bad. Neither side will do the questioning, research, and hard work to find out if perhaps there is merit to the new/old.

  36. Sep 7, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Love this conversation! Something we need to consistently be talking about.

    Not sure if this has yet been added to the conversation, but talking about this reminds me of a great book by George Hunter called “The Celtic Way of Evangelism.” Hunter compares The Roman Model of Evangelism with The Celtic approach:

    ROMAN MODEL

    Presentation
    Decision
    Fellowship

    CELTIC MODEL

    Fellowship
    Ministry and Conversation
    Belief, Invitation to Commitment

    I wouldn’t say that each generation adheres to one specific model, but as a 38 year old, I have lived with a foot in both “models.” As a church planter, I have discovered that much of the younger generation is much more connected to the Celtic approach. Relationships FIRST, then BELIEF follows. It as said of St Patrick and his approach that “Christianity was more CAUGHT, than TAUGHT.”

    I don’t think most of our struggles are about style, etc… but rather a more foundational approach to how we view evangelism.

  37. 38Jon Ritner
    Sep 7, 2010 at 4:29 pm

  38. Sep 7, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    I just read an interesting article on this topic on WebMD … http://bit.ly/9Rw6aA

  39. 40Jason
    Sep 7, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    * What tension(s) do you see between the older and younger generations in ministry?

    - The older loves their model more than they love the people yet criticize the younger generations for doing the same.

    -Also, the mentality that the younger generation is just interested in fads and that we should stick with ‘what works’.

    -Forget about laying out a new discipleship process in some churches…if it’s not from Standard Publishing it’s no good, ya know.

    -”YOU READ TOO MANY BOOKS! All you need is the Bible!” “If it’s not in the Bible, then we ain’t doing it!”

    * What is the biggest challenge facing the older generation?

    -Letting personal preferences go (i.e. Sunday School, ‘Just As I Am’, altar calls every Sunday, etc.) so that the gospel can move forward in a new way for a new generation. For some reason, assuring them the message isn’t changing, but the method, doesn’t seem to stick.
    - Helping many of them understand the difference between Civil Religion and the Gospel. Nearly everyone I know here in the Midwest over about 55 yrs. old is obsessed with political God-talk more than God’s work in them and the world. This is endlessly frustrating.

    Younger generation?

    -Building the future with deference to the past.
    -We talk too much and listen too little.

    * What questions do you have about this subject?

    How do we affect change in our churches when older, respected (and strong) leaders argue that ‘we serve where we are called’? (i.e. Answering the elders that say things such as: “Things were like this when we hired you and this is how they’ll stay, so stop trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit and just do the work we’re paying you to do. It worked then, it works now, and those people over at such-and-such church are trying to build the church themselves and not let God do it…that’s why they’re so popular, you know…”

  40. Sep 7, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    I think one of the biggest challenges for the older generation in many churches is learning to release leadership to younger leaders. Many of them haven’t been trained to or taught the value of investing in future leaders. Some have the “want to”, but few have the “how to”. For the younger generation, the challenge is how to move into leadership without hijacking the ministry. We all know young leaders who took leadership in ministries but burned bridges, damaged relationships, & possibly hurt the mission in the process; some of us are guilty of it ourselves. Again, the younger generation has the “want to” but many haven’t been taught the “how to”.

    That’s just my take as a 31 year old ministry leader who has been in church ministry for over 10 years.

  41. Sep 7, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    I am 38 yrs old..My 20th high school reunion is next month…OY VEY! HELP! My struggle is not so much Age as it is gender. As a woman I am at times (not always) treated differently. I am AMAZED by STRONG women like Joyce Meyer and Christine Cane. I would LOVE one day for God to allow me to impact one 10th of the people they can reach in one seminar.

    My opinion…God says He is NO RESPECTOR of persons…I’ll take it! …Old, young, skin color, gender. I truly just want to honor Him and Always (not easy in the south…lol) be respected as an equal part of Gods beautiful plan.

  42. Sep 8, 2010 at 7:04 am

    There will be a much smaller generational gap if the “older” generation stays connected to the younger generation. Working with students in Switch has kept my husband and I much more in touch with the thoughts and ideas of this generation. It also helps that we STILL have teenagers at home even though we are 55 and 57!

    Also, as we get older, we must never think we have “learned it all”. Openness to new ideas, willingness to learn from younger people, and not fearing risks will help keep us from stagnating and being old wine skins.

    In working with students, one of the greatest struggles we’ve encountered is their relative thinking. Absolutes (the Truth of God’s Word) is foreign to them. They are indoctrinated in school, TV, movies, peers, etc. to make decisions based on what seems right at the moment. Validation comes from those around them, rather than having a strong Truth to stand on.

    What we’ve discovered: If you want to stay young, and bridge the gap, hang out with younger people!

  43. Sep 8, 2010 at 7:30 am

    Due to the fact that I am at work, I’ll make my comment brief….

    From what I have seen, the older generation (I’m 47 years old and to me older means seniors) is having problems releasing the “old” definition of church. They want the choir on-stage (in robes) and the preacher to speak FIRE AND BRIMSTONE!

    The biggest challenge I see is the division these issues create in the Church Family.

    The good thing it has brought out, at least for me, is a constant review of my own behavior and allowance to accept NEW ways of teaching. The ultimate goal is to love others and bring the lost to Christ! Whatever it takes! (I love the old and the new!)

  44. Sep 8, 2010 at 8:02 am

    This is a relevant and great topic to take on.
    Here are some thoughts.
    1. Overall thinking- I think the younger generation is willing to take risks, live on the edge of the box, be creative and innovative while older ministry servants resist this type of thinking, they rest on safety, this has always worked, don’t change it if it isn’t broken(although it may be dying)
    2. Younger leaders are too aggressive, less honoring and pastoral- This is where the maturity of our elders and older staff have a great value to our church and ministries. I’ve seen great talented people, young come in but run volunteers over, just plow people down to get things done or get the church to grow instead of being a shepherd.
    3. Music- We just don’t see eye to eye on this, young guns want it loud and proud ALL the time, the older folks want it soft and hymnal. Nuff said.
    M_

  45. 46Anonymous
    Sep 8, 2010 at 8:09 am

    I think the biggest tension between the younger and older generations in the church is simply the age difference itself. We live in a culture elder people are not respected or considered wise or valuable. Instead, they are regarded as useless and not “with it”; therefore, their opinion cannot mean anything. I think the biggest challenge facing the older generation is being able to actually reach out to the younger people. They are often met with rejection and/or ridicule from younger people my age (I’m in my late teens). The biggest problem I see in people my age is their apathy for the Lord (I too am guilty of this sometimes). God is portrayed by the media and by schools as either mean, stupid, or non-existent. We are being lied to about Him everywhere and there is no passion in the young people (generally speaking) for the Lord. Just a few thoughts….

  46. 47Russell
    Sep 8, 2010 at 8:29 am

    …the world is changing and a younger generation doesn’t see what we do with the same reverence.” Eric Ripert

    I think this is an eloquent assessment of generational tension.

  47. Sep 8, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Age 34: Lead Pastor
    We planted a church and I did it as a young leader. One of the biggest challenges we face is just a generational gap in the mindset of how we approach everything. As a younger leader, I have had times when the older generational held me back and yet other times when I have need them because I was so unsure of what to do next.

    I think one of the biggest challenges is for the older generation to be willing to support the younger generation as they take the lead in the church today. As well, the younger generation needs to know when to seek wisdom from the older ones and not just write them off as “out of touch”.

    Luckily, I have older people who love me and support me even if they don’t always agree. It has made a huge difference in our church.

  48. 49Michelle Meisner
    Sep 8, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Age 24. It’s funny that you brought this up, because last year, this was my life.

    For me growing up, I had a HUGE respect for anyone in leadership, especially the older generation, because they have given us so much, and many of them have great wisdom to share. I learned to deal with older generations in my workplace where many people were 50+. I noticed quickly that they were smart, but all they knew how to do was gripe about the younger generation and all of our “loud music” and our “lack of concern for the economy” etc. Here’s the thing. The more they talked about us in such a negative light, the more I noticed that the younger generation, the 20-30s that worked there, began to ignore them and disregard anything they said. The older generation might listen to what we had to say, but they certainly didn’t take us seriously or treat us with respect as we treated them. Things began to change and sooner than they realized, they had an office that was talking about them behind their back and young VERY talented people were quitting. It was sad to watch–but it’s exactly what you’re talking about here. The entire year I worked there I NEVER once heard a thank you or an uplifting word from any person in leadership. I saw my job as a mission field, and I know God helped me stay longer than most. But, unless the leadership realizes the value in mentoring the young generation, I don’t see how their business will survive. The older generation viewed the workplace as a place that young people needed to prove themselves to climb the corporate ladder. That’s very true, but what they missed was that no one wanted to get to the top of the ladder if they had to spend all of their time with them.

  49. Sep 8, 2010 at 9:29 am

    As the world continues to be more tech driven, typically it’s the younger generation/s who embrace & implement those changes most quickly/willingly. Thus for the 1st time in history there is a situation where the very young are the most knowledgeable & leading the way for most of the older…even being their “teachers”. I see 2 challenges to be issued. 1). To young people: knowledge & skill does not equate to wisdom. Nor because someone/people in the generations ahead of you are tech challenged should you disregard the potential wealth of knowledge/counsel there. 2). Older peeps desiring to impact the lives of youth: Make efforts to stay in tune with tech trends, thus increasing (at least perceived) relevance.

  50. Sep 8, 2010 at 9:46 am

    I am 50 years old and serve as Exec. Pastor in a church where generational tension abounds. We provide 4 different worship venues on Sunday morning and the music is intentionally designed to be exclusive in each venue to fit the culture of 4 distinct generations, ranging from teens to those in retirement years. Though we celebrate the diversity, we have continual challenges with conflict among the cultures of these age groups. It has surfaced most recently in a big way because our 67 year old pastor is retiring and we are in the middle of a pastor search. In a nutshell, our primary issues of tension are: 1. tension between a younger staff and older tribal leaders. 2. Tension about WHO we are as a church and WHAT we should be about in the community. 3. Tension due to differing views about what evangelism should look like. 4. Tension about how we approach money issues. 5. Tension between some in an older generation that are more legalistic and a younger generation with a higher level of tolerance. 5. Tension between an older generation who thinks that a good image (perfect Christians) is of higher value than the authenticity a younger generation wants to practice. I recently spoke from stage and spoke openly of personal challenges in my past, divorce, etc. Many in the older group were squirming and quite uncomfortable. At the same time the younger generation seemed to appreciate the message immensely and responded by opening up about their own “hidden” challenges.

  51. Sep 8, 2010 at 10:49 am

    1) What tensions do you see between the older and younger generations in ministry?
    :- Not sure, my church does a great job with this.

    2) What is the biggest challenge facing the older generation? Younger generation?
    :- Younger generation: I think a big challenge I have faced is not receiving encouraging encouragement. I think a lot of general encouragement is given to my generation, but not specific “I believe in YOU - that you can do THIS thing you are struggling with” encouragement. I receive more generic encouraging words - they’re great, but generic encouragement, if I’m sadly honest, impacts me as if I hadn’t received encouragement at all. Specific encouragement that’s actually for me is what fires me up and pushes me. (thank you for your encouraging words, Craig - they’ve meant a LOT to me)

    3) What questions do you have about this subject?
    :- More of a comment: We all need to be ready to lead where God is leading. From what I hear (I haven’t experienced this) it seems like ministry leaders like keeping things the way God told them to do it. Which was good back in the day, but there is a reason “told” is in the past tense. God can bring in new ministry leaders and “tell” (present tense) them a new thing to do. Older ministry leaders need to be willing to lower pride, step to the side and let God ride.

    That may have sounded like I was speaking from a bad experience haha, but I honestly haven’t had an experience with such. This is just what I have a feeling is happening.

    And that’s my sshpeel - for real.

  52. Sep 8, 2010 at 11:48 am

    My wife talked to a neighbor the other day who was a Baby Boomer. He said his church (In OKC) recently got a new younger pastor who made everyone over the ages of 40 step down from doing anything on stage on Sunday mornings. The new pastor gathered up all the older people and basically told them “this may not be the church for them” I know this sounds extreme, but it made me think of how I am serving and engaging my older audiance. I’m 42 and Pastor in Shawnee OK. Our average age is around 24-28, and we don’t really do a good job of keeping people over 60. Honestly I’ve never been too concerned with this issue. However, I’m changing my way of thinking as I am now questioning the long-term effects of growing a church that has no desire to serve and to engage people over 60. Oh, here’s something else….I’ll be old one day. How’s that for tension?

  53. 54Terese
    Sep 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Echoing the tension that Travis mentioned above…Biggest tension I have seen is the thinking that anyone over 40 is obsolete and “done” and can no longer be “up front” because they are either too old or not “hip” enough. I’ve heard stories of younger leaders telling older (50!?) leaders point blank that their time was over.

    So the biggest challenge for the younger generation, in my opinion, is learning to revere, honor, and enjoy what their elders bring to the table as though are the ones who have often fought through to build what the younger ones are a part of. What a loss if we chase off those who were supposed to be training the younger men & women spiritually.

    Biggest challenge for the older generation? Being willing to change. Being willing to hand off the baton and/or move into different areas of leadership. Realizing their time is NOT over and God’s creativity is still very much alive and well within them and that they have tons to offer to the body of Christ! Being relatable no matter what your age.

  54. Sep 8, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    I am re-launching a church that has 25 senior members. We now have two services and worship 140 in worship. For example we need a new facility and they value buying over renting, even when buying doesn’t give us what we need. And I could list several other tensions we have. However, the way through them is love, honor, listening, caring, transparency, and teaching. I call the tensions out/validate the differences, engage in discussions about our values, and ask what value is more beneficial for our mission. I think it is important not to approach the differences as right and wrong or good or bad. I celebrate that most of the times we have freedom to pick. However, I have also put my core values on the table before I came and had them agree we would not violate them.

    I also think it helps that we all know people (some their own children) who won’t come to church or who have fallen away. I ask what do you think would reach them and keep the discussions about others and Christ, and not let it become about my values vs your values.

    Our community is healthier because we are able to embrace each other despite our differences which is one of the measures of a loving community which is one of our core shared values. No love, you are not going to grow spiritually or numerically.

  55. Sep 8, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    btw I’m 40 with a foot in each canoe and trying to keep them moving with the Spirit down rivier.

  56. Sep 8, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    1) Greatest tensions at a deep level are over how things are validated (understood to be true and/or of value). Older validate via continuity, history and institutional approval while younger via experience and relationship.
    2) Greatest challenge for the older generation is to understand that giving up position doesn’t mean loosing influence.

  57. 58Theresia
    Sep 9, 2010 at 6:22 am

    Younger people want things fast. They need responsibility and trust to grow (and continue being loyal to you). Older people might think that trust and responsibility must be earned but they may loose great leaders because they were to slow on giving them some approval.

  58. Sep 9, 2010 at 7:21 am

    1. Generational tension is normal. It’s nothing new. Young pastors, especially, can feel like it’s amped in their church, or that there is something they are doing to make it worse. Maybe, maybe not. Every generation has experienced generational tension. As Andy would say, ‘it’s an unresolvable tension’.
    2. Most tensions are best relieved by changed lives. Unity can be formed around a white-hot passion for changed lives in Jesus. Most level headed people will choose changed lives over personal preference.
    3. All generations must be engaged. The young adults don’t say, “You’ve shelved us…” Keep conversations open so that people feel they are a part of the vision.
    4. A caution: Information is ammunition for some people. The older we are the more info we need about change and decisions. It’s important to engage people in the conversation but be careful. You don’t need to explain everything to everyone. There has to be some trust from all age levels in the leadership of the church.

  59. Sep 10, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I feel one of the tensions could be in the CONTENT OF THE COMMUNICATION. I think they style of communication can be be a tension but that is getting so much better as churches are taking how we communicate more serious. BUT, I feel like WHAT is being said has created much tension. From not teaching scriptual truth hardly at all , to our teaching being rule driven, to NJR (no Jesus required…so many speakers i listen to, young and old, mention Jesus once, at the end of their teaching hoping to get someone to respond to a 15sec message about the cross of Jesus), to everything being about their specific bent in theology compared to others ect. I feel like somewhere along the generations it has been modeled for us minsters that if you teach about the Bible, or not…teach about Jesus or not…take a stand on truth or not…It doesnt matter because we can build a church anyway, what we teach is up for debate. I feel that is dangerous because Jesus has been the message from day 1 of the church and often isnt today. WHAT we teach and more often DONT teach has caused great tension among generations…I believe

  60. Sep 10, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    I think first and foremost there needs to be mutual respect between the two generation of pastors/church leaders.

    I have heard too much of the senior church members making fun (or criticizing) the way the younger ones dress and the more contemporary music (guitars, drums) in worship. On the other hand, I have heard younger church staff make jokes about the use or organ music and people wearing suits and ties in the “older” churches.

    If both generations can agree to quit making fun of styles of worship music and how one should dress, then I think that would start with more common ground. They also need to realize there are exceptions to this rule. There will be older baby boomers want to wear jeans/t-shirts and listen to contemporary worship while you might see some 20-somethings wear a suit and tie and jam out to organ worship music.

    In summary, a respect for generational values and lifting each other up in prayer.

  61. Sep 11, 2010 at 1:17 am

    CHALLENGE FOR THE OLD: Trust
    In spite all the change taking place, trust that Jesus Christ, the unchanging one is still Lord of His church. Trust that the Holy Spirit might just be enlightening the eyes of the younger gen to understand and see what needs to be done to lead in the times that God has chosen them to lead. Trust that God is bigger than any errors this younger gen might make. He will build His church and you have not run in vain!

    CHALLENGE FOR THE YOUNG: Honor
    The older gen deserves it. You would have nothing if others had not gone before you. Real, heartfelt, genuine honor will do more to open doors for the young to LEAD UP than any boastful actions trying to prove something. Even if you are not able to lead up, Honor will guard your heart from bitterness that will poison your leadership when your time comes.

    THE GREAT CHALLENGE: LOVE
    Errors will be made on both sides of the fence, but if we can no longer love and forgive than we lose…old or young.

  62. Sep 11, 2010 at 9:42 am

    1.) I think there is sooooo much tension between the older and younger generations in ministry…at least it is so in my experience. With my experience it has been mostly with the overcoming or breaking of tradition and routine. I’d ask, “well, why do we do this or that…could it be done a different way…or possibly eliminated if it is not producing anything beneficial?” The response is, “No!…because that’s the way it has always been…that’s the tradition”.

    2.) The biggest challenge for the older generation is possibly accepting the way God is lifting up the younger generation and the methods and technologies being used. Jesus’ methods weren’t always accepted by everyone…they were sometimes unusual, unorthodox, and outside of the box. The challenge for the younger generation…well let me speak from my perspective…do I limit what God has placed in me and the message he has given me to please and submit to the older generation…or do I continue to seek the will of God and do what He has called me to do, even if it means people will dislike me, accuse me, condemn me, say that I’m going against the “order” and “tradition” and “doctrine” of the church??

    3.) As you can see Pastor Craig, there are many questions raised from this. Thank you so much for tackling this subject. Here are some….
    - How can we create peace between the two generations?
    - How can I prevent or understand the differences that will come when I become the “older generation” and my kids are the “younger generation”…or their kids?

    These is so much to be said and asked. I thank God for your ministry and for what He is doing through you and LifeChurch.tv. I am so blessed and haven’t given up because of your teachings.

    Danny T.
    Brooklyn, NY
    Age: 24

  63. Sep 11, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Hey Everyone,

    First, I think we should focus not just on what tensions exists, but how they can be leveraged for good and the progress of the church. Considering the fact that the Catalyst Conference is called “Tension is Good” and Andy Stanley talked about “The Upside of Tension”, we should see what we can take this tension and make it work.

    Second, I am a sixteen year old. I see first hand the tension that exists between the older and newer generation. At times, the younger generation is treated as the future, not as the now. I think that is a mistake. At times, the older generation is treated as distant and unneeded, as if their time for leadership and service was already up.

    Thirdly, to use this tension for our benefit, we need to treat both generations equally but differently. Equally in the sense that both the thoughts, dreams, and hopes of both generations are valid and should be listened to. Some churches try to take out the tension by just letting one group decide and discuss, either the young or the old. For example, while my church was having a leadership meeting, I was downstairs babysitting. The next way we can resolve tension is look at where both people are coming from. The new generation has new ideas and passions, while the old generation has more experience and wisdom. When we try to discredit one or the other, things don’t work.

    Fourthly, I think that the older generation needs to invest and love the young generation so that they in turn will respect and honor the older. If we have that mentor-ship relationship with each other, we will be able to see that both generations are important. We shouldn’t treat the young or the old generation as the future or the past, but as the now.

    This tension is never going to go away. It will always exist. I want to be part of ministries that loves, invests, and prepares the younger generation to take its place to be part of the church, not to wait until the old generation dies. I want to be part of a church where the old generation knows that their time is not forever and its not about their legacy, but about the kingdom of God. I want to be part of a church where the older generation is respected and honored, not because of their position or their power, but because of their influence and leadership they provide. I want to be part of a church that doesn’t see generational tension as a problem, but as a tool to advance the kingdom of God. I want to be a part of a church where every person has a Paul to lead and love them and a Timothy to empower and equip. Are you type of church? Are you that type of leader, whether young or old?

  64. Sep 12, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    I think the greatest tension is created by believing there is a tension. Of course we’re going to have differences in our world views, but we’re not from different planets. When older generations think they don’t know how to interact with us and try to “be cool” or “act hip”, conversations begin to have tension. Or when they believe that they need to establish a tension that they are older and have it together. One of my mentors has shared his mistakes and his moments of “I don’t know what to do” with me. I don’t offer advice. I just accept that he’s being real, and it let’s me be more real with him.

    For the younger generation, mirroring the older generation in acting like we have it all together when we usually don’t. Also, I know I struggle with thinking the world needs to hear my voice. I guess that’s why I often blog, tweet and update my Facebook status. I’m only 24. It isn’t like I have tons of wisdom, but I think that is something my generation struggles with altogether is the tension of thinking our voice is the most important and should always be heard by those older than us. (That’s why I commented on here I suppose :) )

    Now that I think about it, I think the tension derives itself from one word: PRIDE.

    For the younger generation (which includes me) it is the tension that we want to look like we have it together when we often don’t. Also, that my voice is important to the world. This thought

  65. 66Chris C.
    Sep 13, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    On Craig’s question on how to “Lead up”:

    I heard this said years ago and it has stuck with me to this day: “Support in public gives leverage in private”. This has been such a huge success for me in the ministry that I am in with my bosses. If they know that I have their back in front of people, it gives my thoughts and ideas weight with them in private.

    The one thing I have learned with trying to lead up is that it takes a HUGE amount of humility. At our core, we are prideful people and we like to think that our dreams and thoughts and interpretations are correct. But, we must learn to submit to the authority that has been placed above us. It may be God using this time to refine our hearts in these sometimes difficult situations.

  66. 67chris prescott
    Sep 15, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    1. The greatest tension between the older generation and younger generation I have encountered is the desired styles of each generation. Both want their particular style to dominate church services.

    2. The greatest challenge for the older generation is to develop deep relationships with people in the younger generation. Biblically they are to be teaching the younger generation yet in my church they seem to be withdrawing from the younger generation. I think the greatest challenge for the younger generation is to see the value of what the older generation has accomplished and to learn from their mistakes. Too many in the younger generation appraise things based on its newness or oldness.

    3. How can we make both generations see the value of the other generatoin? How can we get the two generations together to effectively minister to the community?

  67. Sep 16, 2010 at 9:37 am

    There is too much for me to read so I will simply state my opinion sorry if it is already here. There are “issues” which vary for church to church and principals that are true everywhere. It is my belief that the principals are the key to changing the issues. There are many tensions but they seem to me to be issues of perspective.

    The biggest challenge for older people is to trust and inspire young people. Trust by letting people make mistakes and learn by leading. (this is essential to allow young people to lead up) Inspire by using the wisdom gained by age to guide direct and encourage the next generation of leaders to step up.
    The principle is that it is the older generations responsibility to train the younger. The tension is that we don’t like change, or we are afraid of mistakes. (Andy Stanley had a great lesson on letting younger people make mistakes so they become great leaders in his Leadership Podcast)

    The biggest challenge for younger people is respect and discipline. Respect those God has placed above you and follow them even when they are wrong. Learn the Discipline to work hard no matter what, find what you can do and do it with all your strength. You lead up by being Aaron and Hur and doing whatever you can to fulfill the dreams and vision of those who are over you.
    The principle is that the younger generation serves the older. The tension is that we don’t want like to wait.

    (Side note about music: one of the biggest tension in churches is over music. It is generally seen as a generational issue. The issues is normally that every generation loves the music that they had an encounter with God with. It is my opinion that music should be used to teach theology and to have an encounter with God for the next generation. So the older generation. I don’t need music to inspire me, if I want it I will listen to my iPod. But I want this generation to encounter God and the truth of who he is stuck in their mind. So those who have had their experience with God encourage trying to reach the next generation.)

    Nathan: 29 Student ministries pastor

  68. 69Jessica
    Sep 19, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Honestly, I think the biggest source of tension between generations is that they don’t really interact very much in many churches, so there is no time for relationships and genuine communication to develop. Many churches have created a structure that segregates people based on age/station in life. This happens with small groups a lot; there is the college small group, the young professionals small group, the 60+ small group, etc. It also happens when churches have a traditional worship service and a contemporary service. In churches such as these, the different generations exist in their own bubbles and never really have to deal with the differences between generations. This has several negative consequences. For one, the members are missing out on the fullness of the body Christ. Also, the younger generations are missing out on the wisdom and experience of the older generations, while the older generations are missing out on the new ideas and fresh spirit of the younger generations. Lastly, the generations don’t challenge or sharpen each other by pushing back on the ideas so easily accepted by a particular generation.

    For what it’s worth, I am 26 and attend a church that is rather segregated by age because of its Sunday school and worship service structures.

  69. Sep 28, 2010 at 8:01 am

    I know this is a little late…

    I recently listened to a list of stories about parents of adult children. Parents today face a very real problem in that their adult children are asking to both be parents and to treat them like equals. I think my generation is guilty of two things; Not wanting to earn their place (it should just be given to us) and no honoring our elders.

    I myself have found myself guilty of cutting my parents out of my life because “they didn’t treat me right.” I punished them without offering any chance to correct behavior or even considering their point of view. The my father died suddenly a year and a half ago.

    From that point on I tell my mother that I love her. I call her several times a week, and let her know how proud of her I am for her accomplishments and how grateful I am to be her son. The simple act of honoring my mother has greatly improved our relationship to a point where I can’t expect a better mother.

    I also find this to be a problem in a professional world. Often I see my peer generation just barging into an office guns blazing with little regard to respect toward the person whom they address. We don’t understand how to honor and respect those who’ve earned their position. We are revolutionist who want to change the face of business by speaking harsh truths without any regrets.

    Now we could blame someone here… Let’s say my generation for not honoring or respecting the older generation. Or maybe we can blame the older generation for raising us up this way, since it was their responsibility to ensure that we grew up knowing how to do this. But I think that doesn’t matter as much as the solution. Both generations need to be humbled, and we need to learn to influence one another. It’s an ugly monster, and it will hurt a lot of people…

    I could go on for days…

  70. 71Seth Swindall
    Oct 7, 2010 at 9:56 am

    In response to the Leading up question….
    I am a 31 year old pastor who has been involved in some form of ministry since 17 (full time since age 20)

    1) you lead up by 1st making yourself easy to lead…
    if you first sow the seed of being easy to lead (not being a puppet) and you will reap that from those above you

    2) you lead up out of relationship….the better the relationship the better they will trust and listen to you

    3) lead up by building a track record of wins and being right….most young leaders jump on the scene with an arrogance of knowing it all and haven’t proven themselves to those older than them…those older are looking for fruit…not just ideas…

    4) lead out of submission and humility….you have to realize…you are not the lead or the sr….you have to submit your ideas with humility and realize they may get rejected…you can’t wear your emotions on your sleeve and get upset….the rejection of your ideas is not a rejection of you…don’t take it personal

    5) defend and honor the Older Generation…and not just in front of them to see…again…seed being sown…

    those are a few ways to lead up…

    I think the biggest challenge for the Older Generation….Handing over what they have worked so hard for,,,given so much for…for so many years…handing it over and delegating it to a young, crazy, somewhat immature leader…with fear they will destroy what they have invested years building…

    For the Younger…
    We take for granted what the older has invested…we don’t see the blood sweat and tears they have given….we just think…”get out of our way…we can do better” We must value them and realize that it is only because of the sacrifice of the older generation and the trail they have blazed that we can continue to do bigger and better things…We are standing on their shoulders….and we need to continue to stand on them…receive from them…and value their wisdom and experience…

    There is a great power and synergy when Generations are working together…The Crazy Energy and risk taking attitude added to the wisdom, experience, and stability of the Older…makes an unbeatable Combination…

  71. 72Joshua
    Oct 7, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    How can the younger generation learn from the older without feeling a need to dethrone them to make their voice heard? How can the older generation willingly give up their position of authority so the younger may learn to lead?