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 w/ a description of each

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

ASSIMILATION & What Young People Are Saying About Its Negative Connotation

by Bob Whitesel, 5/21/15.

In a recent post I discussed how the word “assimilation” can mean something positive to older generations but also something negative to younger generations. This, it is often confusing when churches use it to denote their newcomer ministries.

To younger generation assimilation carries a negative connotation of giving up your personal cultural tastes and preferences. But to older generations it is a term which connotes positive characteristics of “blending in” with a dominant culture.

Subsequently, because assimilation can be misconstrued by people of different ages it is best not to use to describe our newcomer ministry.

In hopes of discovering an alternative term, I asked my students for suggestions. Here are two interesting postings from students about the term assimilation.

Student A: “Being 26 years old, I am kind of between generations. Plus I do youth ministry, so a lot of times I still get to feel like I’m a kid. When I hear assimilation, I feel that same uneasiness. From a church standpoint, when I think of assimilated drones, I think of legalism. I think of those in the church who have become cronies of the “rules and regulations” of the church, but have completely lost touch with the relationships. Much like the Pharisees, and much like the Borg, they all work with one mindset, and it just happens to be incorrect. I hate Star Trek, but I remember the episode where they tried to turn Patrick Steward into a Borg, and his struggle to escape. Having grown up in this culture, I am totally cool with being connected and in relationship, but pleeeaaasssee dont’ assimilate me!”

And then Student B said (Church name is a pseudonym) :

“Thank you, thank you!  I have been saying the same thing since the mid-90s.  In fact, I first heard the term ‘assimilation’ in this context while I was helping plant a church … while I was in my undergraduate program.  The executive pastor, Chuck, spent a great deal of time developing a program for assimilation, and it always had an ominous sound to me because of my fondness for Star Trek.

In fact, I took a downloaded portrait of a borg, cropped Chuck’s face onto the borg’s body (complete with facial hardware!) and put the following caption underneath it:  ‘We are Greenhill Church.  Resistance is futile.  You will be assimilated.’ Of course, I never showed that to anyone except another intern…’ 🙂 ”

Now, what comes to mind when you hear the term assimilation? And have you ever thought about how it is perceived by others? Now that you know about these dual and opposite meanings, what will you do?

ASSIMILATION & Maybe Christians Should Use an Alternative Term?

by Bob Whitesel, 5/21/15.

I believe it is critically and spiritually important to connect newcomers with our congregations. When discussing this topic with students the word “assimilation” sometimes comes up. This is, in fact, a word I have used for years to refer to the process of helping newcomers fit into our life of a fellowship and to embark upon their discipleship journey.

However a recent student noted that to young people today “assimilation” has a negative connotation. Here is her quote: “I’m a Star Trek fan and all I can think of when I hear that is the Borg insisting that every other life form they meet be forcefully altered into another drone for their collective, not even able to think on their own anymore but forced to do whatever the Borg wanted.”

That is almost exactly what a interviewee in a Phoenix focus group of young Gen-Xers said to me. Thus, I have been utilizing the word “connection” or “connecting.” It has a techie feel to it, and may be the Millennial generation equivalent of the Boomer “networking.”

The student who was the Star Trek fan even attached a picture of the Borg with her posting (I guess to scare Boomers). I downloaded the picture and tried to post it, but it assimilated, I mean connected, to my PC … but my Macintosh is doing fine :-)>

Here is what the student was talking about 😉
Click on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyenRCJ_4Ww

VENUES & Nursing Homes Should Be The Next Church Venue According to #WesleySem Student & Nursing Home Director

by Wesley Seminary student Christopher Herman, MMLO41 Building a Multi-Generational Ministry Course, 2/3/2015.

Dr. Whitesel, I have seen that a sub-congregation in seed form already resides in nearly every U.S. nursing home – all 16,100 of them (CDC, 2013).  Yes! Yes! Yes!  Most churches should use nursing homes as a venue.

Nursing homes are prime locations for planting sub-congregations, especially low-income skilled nursing facilities financed primarily through Medicaid.  These are going to be the most common type, to be certain, because of the anticipated tripling of the U.S. elderly population, and quadrupling of the population over age 90 we can expect over the next 25 years (He & Muenchrath, 2011).  They are good places for “good deeds” but “good deeds” through occasional, intermittent entry into the facility are simply not enough to build relationships.  One of the charges the Bishop made when I was ordained was to the priesthood was to gather the scattered sheep of Christ Jesus in the midst of this sinful world.  I have been compelled by the Holy Spirit to search for them at a nursing home.  We found out over the years that the deliberate presence of people in the lives of people living in nursing homes is of paramount importance (after prayer).

I can say with confidence that I am an expert in this particular type of ministry – and I have seen many churches come and go, flashes in the pan, providing worship services for a time, but eventually leaving.  I think the reason could be that the leaders do not fully understand that the most important aspect of nursing home ministry is faithful presence through the whole process of arrival, orientation to the new culture, learning there is hope for the future and that life has not ended, and being invited to be part of the lives of fellow residents and the local expression of the Body of Christ in the place.  A sacramental approach to life, including Holy Communion, is helpful.  Clergy who rely upon oration alone are often frustrated because about half of the residents have dementia and are therefore unable to comprehend phrases longer than five words, let alone a whole sermon.  I have seen pastors try to minister but leave because nobody complimented their sermons.  Nursing homes need a different ministry emphasis, but any church can do this (Shamy, 2003).

A culture has to be established – the local Christians must unite, cross denominational lines, and impact the lives of others through loving God, one another, and their neighbors in the small world in which they live.  This sort of ministry cannot be done well with merely having an occasional worship service.  Those are not bad, but they are not what is really needed.  It takes years to gain the trust of the management, the staff, and the residents.  Most American churches are not willing to sacrifice for several years because it is not in our instant access cultural mindset to be faithful for long periods of time to build relationships in the community.  The payoff is huge, though, if we are faithful for longer periods of time.  I can go into the facility and go anywhere I desire, any time I want without any sort of escort, and anybody I endorse in that place is immediately given the same privileges because the management knows I have gone through the effort of checking peoples’ backgrounds, and I have vetted them carefully before endorsing their presence.  This is because there is trust.  Trust is like the oxygen in a relationship.  Once a church has trust in a venue, that church is very effective.  I know that more than half of the people who come into the facility we serve will either rededicate his or her life to Christ after as many as 70 years of estrangement, or seek to be baptized.  I have seen it happen hundreds of times, even in a facility with an average total population of only 81.

The answer to your question is YES!!  (I apologize for yelling, but I cannot stress this enough).  Yes sub-congregations can be developed.  I have seen it.  We have done it…Well, God did it and let us help.  Every church should adopt at least one nursing home, making it a venue.  I would give anything, anything to help large churches adopt several!  A nursing home is a prime venue for the Church of the 21st century if we can but see reality.  I am not exaggerating – before the end of this Century there will be more than 400 Million people who live in nursing homes (Vincent & Velkoff, 2010).  The Church is largely absent today.  Nursing homes want the support of churches and they will welcome us if we will but be faithful.

Yes, Dr. Whitesel, nursing homes should be a venue for most churches.

If anyone wants help doing this, we will give it.  We will support such endeavors with everything we have!  In all truth, my ministry exists to help the Church do this!

Thank you for your question, Dr. Whitesel.

Chris

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  (2013).  State of aging and health in America.  Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/features/agingandhealth/state_of_aging_and_health_in_america_2013.pdf

He, W., & Muenchrath, M. N. (November 2011).  90+ in the United States:  2006-2008 American community survey reports.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Shamy, E. (2003).  A guide to the spiritual dimension of care for people with Alzheimer ’s disease and related dementia: More than body, brain and breath.  Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Vincent, G., & Velkoff, V.  (May, 2010).  The next four decades: The older population in the United States: 2010 to 2050.  U.S. Census Bureau, Administration on Aging.  Retrieved from http://www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/(S(2ch3qw55k1qylo45dbihar2u))/Aging_Statistics/future_growth/DOCS/p25-1138.pdf

GENERATIONS & The Shifting Meaning of Happiness #SocialPsychologicalJournal

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel; “What makes different generations happy?  This research will help you understand how to minister to different generations in both worship and ministry activities. And you probably guessed it, researchers found that young people crave excitement to make them happy, while as we mature we increasingly prefer peacefulness to make us happy (perhaps a contributor to worship wars?)”

By Cassie Mogilner, University of Pennsylvania, Sepandar D. Kamvar, Stanford University and Jennifer Aaker, University of Pennsylvania, Social Psychological and Personality Science December 20, 2010

Abstract

An examination of emotions reported on 12 million personal blogs along with a series of surveys and laboratory experiments shows that the meaning of happiness is not fixed; instead, it systematically shifts over the course of one’s lifetime. Whereas younger people are more likely to associate happiness with excitement, as they get older, they become more likely to associate happiness with peacefulness. This change appears to be driven by a redirection of attention from the future to the present as people age. The dynamic of what happiness means has broad implications, from purchasing behavior to ways to increase one’s happiness…

Read more here … http://m.spp.sagepub.com/content/early/2010/12/15/1948550610393987

GENERATIONS & Chart on What Makes Your Generation Unique: Boomers, X, Millennials #PewResearch

Read more at … http://www.wnyc.org/story/how-generations-differ-boomers-x-millenials/

GENERATIONS & The Strengths And Weaknesses Of Millennials, Gen X & Boomers #BusinessInsiderMagazine

by VIVIAN GIANG, 9/9/13

A new study published by EY, formerly Ernst & Young, includes insights from more than 1,200 professionals across generations and industries about the strengths and weaknesses of workers from different generations, based on the perceptions of their peers.

It finds that Millennials are tech-savvy, but aren’t great team players. Gen X-ers are entrepreneurial-thinking, but rank low on executive presence. And last, but not least, Boomers are team players and loyal, but don’t adapt so well.

The participants from the study were both managers and non-managers.

“As management shifts to younger generations, the research reveals areas companies can focus on to enhance skill sets, address the challenges of managing multiple generations, and retain and engage employees by understanding which workplace perks they may value most,” Karyn Twaronite, a partner of Ernst & Young, says in the study.

Below are the study’s findings on the strengths and weaknesses of Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomers …”

FIGURE Generational Differences at Work

Read more at … http://www.businessinsider.com/how-millennials-gen-x-and-boomers-shape-the-workplace-2013-9

GENERATIONS & The US Age Pyramid Becomes a Rectangle #PewResearch #InfoGraphic

Read more and see an animated graph at … http://www.pewresearch.org/next-america/

GENERATIONS & #PewResearch Says Generation Gaps Still Exist

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Younger generations not only feel the generation gap still exists between them and their boomer parents, but the younger generations also increasingly say they have no religion.  This short thought-provoking video is a helpful way to introduce this topic to a church before a sermon.”

Pew Research Center experts Paul Taylor, Alan Cooperman, Michael Dimock, Mark Lopez and Kim Parker discuss the demographic shifts affecting America now and in the future, and what that means for the economy, families, religion, racial and ethnic identity, political and social values, and technology use.   Read more about The Next America: http://www.pewresearch.org/packages/t…