AGE & Preachers Over 75 Still Preaching Regularly #DJChuang

by D. J. Chuang, 1/18/16.

… In a recent conversation, we recalled how several highly-influential pastors we had admired during seminary, when we were in our 30s, are still actively preaching today… Quite a long run for these preachers with fruitful ministries. There’s something to be said for such longevity.

5preachers75Chuck Swindoll (age 81) at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, TX

John MacArthur (age 76) at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA

Charles Stanley (age 83) at First Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA

John Hagee (age 75) at Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, TX

David Jeremiah (age 74) at Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, CA

… BTW, the late Rev. Noah Smith was oldest practicing preacher in America until September 2015 when he died at 107.

Read more at … http://djchuang.com/2016/preachers-over-75-still-preaching-regularly/

GENERATIONS & Why Do Need to Label Generations? Some Thoughts from Missiology

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 12/17/15.

Once a student asked me if we should refer strictly to “different preferences” or “styles” of worship, rather than “generational preferences” for worship.  His rationale was that he enjoyed Gen. X worship, but he was a Boomer.  Designating it Gen. X-style worship made him feel it was too generationally specific.  Instead he said, “Why can’t we just say we offer differing styles?”

This is a good point.  But, it may be counterproductive for researchers and academics to avoid generational designations (though I would encourage you to publicly speak of styles – e.g. traditional, classic, modern, postmodern, emerging, organic, etc. when publicizing these various styles).  However, for our research discussions the generational designations are important for clarity, specificity and generative explanations.  Let me elaborate on this.

We Use Labels Carefully, To Describe Cultures

Generational predilections and their resultant designations provide a rubric for understanding cultures.  It is about cultures, but these cultures are largely generationally driven (due to common experiences – see Gary McIntosh’s exploration of this in “Four Generations” or Margaret Mead’s “Culture and Commitment”).  Thus generational descriptors are important sociological and anthropological designations that are not exclusive, but valuable for communication.  If we follow the logic of rejecting generational descriptors and instead referring to a strategy of “offering as many styles as possible,” we then loose the emphasis upon the genesis of those styles – shared temporal experiences (the Depression, Vietnam War, Gulf War, computers, Internet age, etc. etc.).

Thus, I want to advocate that as researchers and strategists we keep the generational designations when working with leaders, for it reminds us the genesis is cultural.  And, it also reminds us that though we may relate to these cultures (as I think I do with Millennials), we who are of a different age (I am a Boomer) are never truly part of it because we have not experienced the same temporal experiences.  Note how in my “Inside the Organic Church” book I was unintentionally but constantly reminded that I was an outsider by these Gen. X congregations.

Etic or Emic? Why It is Important to Understand the Difference.

There actually is a name for this tension in missiology.  If you are truly part of a culture you have an emic relationship with it.  And if you are an outsider to a culture (such as a missionary), you may study it, analyze it, adopt it and even enjoy it … but you are never truly native to it, and thus you have an etic relationship with it.  Thus, I have an etic relationship with Gen. X, even though I love their organic emphasis even more than my native Boomer church culture.

GENERATIONS & The Emerging Agreement on Age Ranges

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 12/14/15.

The New York Times ran an article about Millennials after which other media pointed out that the age-range they used wasn’t actually the range for Millennials. If the venerable NYTimes can’t get it right, then agreeing on what to call each generational culture will be challenging.  Here are some thoughts followed by the emerging agreement.

Generational cultures:(1)

This is how simplified it in Preparing the Change Reaction: How to Introduce Change in Your Church (Indianapolis, IN: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2007), p 53.

  • Builder (1) or the Silent (2) or Greatest (3) Generation, b. 1945 and before
  • Boomer Generation, b. 1946-1964
  • Leading-edge Generation X, b. 1965-1974
  • Post-modern Generation X, b. 1975-1983
  • Generation Y, b. 1984-2002

See these postings for more: CULTURES & A List of Cultures  and CULTURES & A Cumulative List of Cultures from My Books

Though there is disagreement, there is an emerging consensus.

Philip Bump in his article for The Atlantic, titled “Here Is When Each Generation Begins and Ends, According to Facts” (3/25/14) conducted excellent research and generated the following chart:

(chart retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/03/here-is-when-each-generation-begins-and-ends-according-to-facts/359589/)

This is how Philip Bump explained each:

We identified six different generations, and labeled their eras.

Greatest Generation. These are the people that fought and died in World War II for our freedom, which we appreciate. But it’s a little over-the-top as far as names go, isn’t it? Tom Brokaw made the name up and of course everyone loved it. What, you’re going to argue with your grandfather that he isn’t in the greatest generation? The generation ended when the war ended.

Baby Boomers. This is the agreed-upon generation that falls within DiPrete’s punctuated timeframe. It began when the Greatest Generation got home and started having sex with everyone; it ended when having sex with everyone was made easier with The Pill.

Generation X. George Masnick, of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies puts this generation in the timeframe of 1965 to 1984, in part because it’s a neat 20-year period. He also calls it the “baby bust,” mocking “[p]undits on Madison Avenue and in the media” that call it Generation X. Ha ha, tough luck.

Generation Y. Masnick addresses this group, too, putting it “anywhere from the mid-1970s when the oldest were born to the mid-2000s when the youngest were.” But mostly Generation Y is a made-up generation when it became obvious that young kids didn’t really fit with the cool Generation X aesthetic but not enough of them had been born to make a new generation designation. NOTE: Generation Y is a fake, made-up thing. Do not worry about it.

Millennials. In October 2004, researchers Neil Howe and William Strauss called Millennials “the next great generation,” which is funny. They define the group as “as those born in 1982 and approximately the 20 years thereafter.” In 2012, they affixed the end point as 2004.

TBD. But that means that kids born in the last 10 years lack a designation. They are not Millennials. Earlier this month, Pew Research asked people what the group should be called and offered some terrible ideas. In other words, this is the new Generation Y. We’ll figure out what they’re called in the future.

Time Magazine Gets In the Discusion

(http://time.com/247/millennials-the-me-me-me-generation/)

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  In this discussion a student passed along this scan from Time Magazine (Joel Stein, 5/20/13) from a few years ago that completely leaves out Generation Y, assimilating them into the Millennial Generation.  Though not as scholarly of a work, it is insightful.

Generations TIME

Endnotes:

1. Gary McIntosh, One Church, Four Generations: Understanding and Reaching All Ages in Your Church [Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2002] and Bob Whitesel and Kent R. Hunter, A House Divided: Bridging the Generation Gaps in Your Church [Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000).

2. This generation has been labeled various ways, for instance as the “silent generation” by William Strauss and Neil Howe in Generations: The History of American’s Future, 1954-2069 (New York: Quill, 1992).

3. They are labeled the “greatest generation” by Tom Brokaw in The Greatest Generation (New York: Random House, 2004).

BOOMERS & Do They Prefer Excellence? Good, Bad or Does It Matter? #LeadershipExercise

DUELING QUOTES: (mega-church pastor) “Excellence attracts excellence” or (fast-growing youthful church pastor) “Authentic worship attracts those seeking authentic worship.”

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.,D., 12/6/15.

One of my former students, commenting on the “Authenticity verses Excellence” debate, interviewed a pastor of a large church in the area.  Here is the student’s research and my response. The result is a leadership exercise on “excellence vs. authenticity” in ministry.

Student:

I just visited 1st Church. One of our larger denominational churches. I interviewed the pastor about his leadership. I came away with some great quotes and lessons. One of them was this: “Excellence attracts Excellence”. Quite honestly the idea that the organic church is more interested in authenticity than performance is new to me…I’m a boomer! I like it…I’m not sure that I get it!

My response:

I am glad you are conducting primary research with interviews.  Good for you!

And, I know you are struggling with understanding the cultural differences of the younger generation.  You see, learning about Postmodern Gen. X is really learning about another culture.

Because younger generations are a different culture, they might take your phrase and re-state it.  From my interviews (Inside the Organic Church: Learning from 12 Emerging Congregations, Abingdon Press) I would say that might respond:

“Authentic worship attracts those seeking authentic worship.”

A Leadership Exercise:

My observation is that excellence attracts other churchgoers (what we call in Church Growth Movement “transfer growth”, see Thom Rainer’s excellent analysis of transfer growth). Usually, these are people looking for a church that offers better music, Children’s Ministry or Youth Ministry than their church offers.

I would say from my research (Inside the Organic Church: Learning from 12 Emerging Congregations, Abingdon Press) that authenticity attracts God-seekers.

A church should do both, but in my mind the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19ff) emphasizes the later (reaching God-seekers) over the former (transfer growth).

Now, what are your thoughts?  Agree?  Disagree?

Either option if fine if it gets your leaders thinking about how to be missionaries to today’s cultures.

GENERATIONS & Nonprofits learn to appeal to Xers & Millennials #AmyLynch

 “Growing, but Gray” by Amy Lynch, Generational Speaker, Generational Edge, 10/14/15, (click here to watch the 1971 video).

od.jpg

… Until recently, people supported nonprofits and associations because it was the “right thing to do.” Nothing wrong with that. It just doesn’t work with Gen X and Millennials. The first question younger gens ask is “Will this work?” Associations and nonprofits have to have ready answers.

IDEALISTIC BOOMERS WANTED TO TEACH THE WORLD TO SING. YOUNGER GENERATIONS WANT TO TEACH THE WORLD TO SING, TOO, BUT WITH A QUANTIFIABLE ROI ON THE SONGFEST.

Meanwhile, Millennials expect companies to be good for society, and the nonprofits garnering respect these days are well managed and (yep!) profitable. It’s an odd crossover, and here’s the upshot. As a nonprofit or an association, you absolutely have to be crystal clear about who you are, what your do for whom and how your results are measured.

Here’s a tip for that process. Put numbers on it. If you are an association, survey your members to get percentages of members who got new business, new skills or new management tools. If you are a nonprofit, put hard numbers on your results. Then you can win over prove-it-to-me Gen Xers and mission-based Millennials.

Read more at … http://www.generationaledge.com/blog/growing-but-gray

GENERATIONS & An Online Test To Help You Discover With Which Generation You Identify

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  “I am one of those people who feel a sense of call to minister to Gen. X and Millennials (I even wrote a book on Millennial Leadership called ORGANIX.)

In fact I took this online test to see which generation I identified.  And, I identified almost equally with Generation X and the Millennials.

Check out the survey here:  http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2174636/Which-Gen-Am-I-When-I-Work-copy

CHANGE & Millennials Believe Secret to Success is the Ability to Change #PewResearch

America divided on the secret to its success

BY CAMILA REY AND SOFI SINOZICH, Pew Research, 7/4/15

Why Has U.S. Been Successful? Younger Adults Point to Its Ability to Change.Compared with those in many other countries, Americans stand out for their patriotism. But public opinion surveys show that Americans disagree over what’s behind their country’s success.

Pew Research Center’s political values survey has consistently found that overwhelming majorities agree with the statement “I am very patriotic.” In 2012, 89% of Americans agreed with this statement; the share agreeing has never fallen below 85% in the survey’s 25-year history.

But when asked whether the United States owed its success more to its “ability to change” or its “reliance on long-standing principles,” 51% of Americans attributed the country’s success to the former, while 44% pointed to the latter.

The question was one of many measures about the U.S., its future and its global standing we examined for our 2014 Political Typology.

Most Millennials and Generation Xers associated the country’s success with its ability to change: About six-in-ten Millennials (61%), who were ages 18-33 in 2014, and 54% of Gen Xers (ages 34-49 that year) said this was more what made the U.S. successful.

Wide Idealogical Gap Over Factors for U.S. SuccessBaby Boomers (ages 50-68) were more divided – 46% linked America’s success to its ability to change, while nearly the same share (48%) said it is due to its reliance on principles. The Silent generation (ages 69-86) was the only one in which a majority (54%) perceived America’s reliance on principles to be the reason for its success, with 39% attributing it to the ability to change.

There were substantial partisan and ideological differences in opinions about why the U.S. has been successful. By a 77% to 20% margin, liberal Democrats attributed the nation’s success to its ability to change. By almost the same margin (73% to 22%), conservative Republicans linked the success of the United States to its adherence to well-established principles.

There also were racial and ethnic differences in attitudes toward America’s success. Whites were divided, with 47% attributing America’s success to its ability to change and a nearly equal share attributing it to a reliance on principles. Minorities were more likely to credit the success to the ability to change, with 64% of blacks and 58% of Hispanics supporting this view.

Read more at …http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/07/03/america-divided-on-whats-the-secret-to-its-success/

Speaking Hashtags: #BreakForth16