SENIOR WORKERS & work activities will become increasingly “age agnostic” & age stereotypes will look increasingly outdated

“Our Assumptions About Old and Young Workers Are Wrong”

by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott, Harvard Business Review, 11/14/16.

… To understand how people are responding to this transformation in their working lives, we developed a survey completed by more than 10,000 people from across the world aged 24 to 80.

We found far fewer differences between the age groups than we might have imagined. In fact, many of the traits and desires commonly attributed to younger people are shared by the whole workforce. Why might this be the case?

…For our recent book The 100 Year Life we calculated how long people will work. Whilst we cannot be precise, it is clear that in order to finance retirement many people currently in their fifties will work into their seventies; whilst those in their twenties could well be working into their eighties. That means that inevitably people of very different ages are increasingly working together.

This long working life, coupled with profound technological changes, dismantles the traditional three-stage life of full-time education, full-time work, and full-time retirement. In its place is coming – for all employees regardless of their age – a multi-stage life that blends education, exploration, and learning, as well as corporate jobs, freelance gigs, and time spent out of the workforce. Inevitably the variety of these stages and their possible sequencing will result in both greater variety within age cohorts, whilst also providing opportunities for different ages to engage in similar activities. In other words, work activities will become increasingly “age agnostic” and these age stereotypes will look increasingly outdated.

…The people in our study overturned these stereotypes:

  • It is not just the young who are investing in new skills…Certainly a higher proportion of those aged 18-30 (91%) and 31-45 (72%) felt they were investing in new skills but after the age of 45 almost 60% of all ages said they were actively investing…
  • It is not just the young who are positive and excited by their workWhat was striking was that whatever their age, those feeling positive about their work was a constant at just over 50%. Just as striking is the proportion of people of all ages who don’t feel positive about their work…
  • Older people are working harder to keep fit. We know that vitality is central to a long productive life and it is easy to imagine that it’s only the young who really care about their fitness. Yet we discovered that it is the older who are working hardest to try to keep fit. About half of those under 45 actively try to keep fit, rising continuously across the ages with a peak of 71% for those aged over 70.

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2016/11/our-assumptions-about-old-and-young-workers-are-wrong

GENERATION Z & What Churches Need to Know About Generation Z

by Aaron Earls, Facts & Trends, 8/9/16.

While many churches remain concerned about attracting millennials, a new generation of adults is emerging with their own identity.

Generation Z, also known as iGen, are more than 25 percent of America’s population. The oldest members of this generation turn 18 this year. Just who are they and what does the church need to know about them?

New research reported by The Washington Post reveals a complicated picture of the generation born since 1998.

1. First true digital native generation

… Since they were born, Generation Z has grown up connected to the web and social media. They are the first generation to have their parents post baby pictures and dance recitals on Facebook. Today Gen Zers are documenting their lives on Instagram and Snapchat.

…But this increased exposure has brought unintended consequences. More than 4 in 10 members of Generation Z (42 percent) say social media impacts their self-esteem.

Churches should focus on helping tweens and teens find their identity and self-worth in Christ, not in the online opinion of others.

2. Love to communicate, but not always with words

… Instead of reading texts or blogs, they would rather interact with video and other visual forms. And they would rather do it online than with a television. Among 13- to 24-year-olds, 96 percent watched online video content over the past week at an average of 11 hours a week. By contrast, 81 percent of the same group watched scheduled TV for an average of 8 hours weekly.

You can also see Generation Z’s preference for visual interaction with their top three social media platforms, according to the research in The Washington Post. More than half like Vine (54 percent) and Instagram (52 percent), while a third enjoy Twitter (34 percent). The first two are video and photo sharing sites and Twitter increasingly incorporates images and videos.

…Learn how to use video content, like the new Instagram Stories. Here are five ways churches can use that feature.

3. Most racially diverse generation

…Among Americans under 18, whites comprise just over half (52 percent), according to Census analysis by Brookings. As you examine younger segments of Generation Z, the diversity only grows. Looking at the Census data, Pew Research found whites are a minority among children under 5.

Fourteen states already have “majority minority” populations under 18. And in half the states, Generation Z is more than 40 percent minority.

The need for churches to become multicultural is only going to increase as Generation Z enters adulthood. Being surrounded by people from different ethnicities and cultures is becoming the norm for this generation.

[Read more about multicultural churches in Facts & Trendsissue “United by the Gospel.”]

4. Only beginning their cultural influence

… Early research indicates this new generation is less idealistic and more thrifty than millennials. As they take on more societal influence, their traits—for better or worse—will hold more sway over culture.

If trends continue, fewer members of Generation Z will see religion as important, according to Pew Research.

Evangelical churches will need to find ways to retain children who grow up attending their churches and reach the growing number of the emerging adults who come from unchurched families. After researching college students, a study found eight steps churches can take now to reach (and keep) young adults.

Read more at … http://factsandtrends.net/2016/08/09/what-churches-need-to-know-about-generation-z/#.V6oSnlT3aJI

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).

GENERATIONS & Grandparens Transfer Values Down to Grandkids Better Than Parents #MargaretMead

Margaret Mead discovered that grandparents better transfer values down to the grandchildren than parents do. Margaret Mead, Culture and Commitment: A Study of the Generation Gap (Garden City, NY,: Doubleday, 1070), p. 2. Here is how she elaborated on this concept on p. 4:

QUOTE Margaret Mead on Grandparents & Grandchildren

Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=sLa2AAAAIAAJ&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=grandchildren

GENERATIONS & How I Learned to Staff w/ Generational Pastors

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 11/6/15.

I thought I would share about the goals, purposes and strategic intent of generational pastors. Let me explain this concept in more detail, as well as the genesis of these understandings, and where I think they are headed.

My genesis of this understanding began over 30 years ago. While consulting for churches I often found that successful ministries had consistency and longevity in pastoral leadership, and this dynamic was also present in their healthy sub-congregations. Successful churches would often have senior pastors, youth pastors, and visitation pastors that in effect functioned as generational pastors, and had been together for years. In many of these circumstances, the visitation pastor had been a former pastor, and eventually the youth pastor had become the senior pastor. The pastors were in effect moving along with the generations, but without a strategic intent to do so.

Plus, I noted that in many successful churches generational pastors where in effect in place, even though they weren’t recognized as such. For instance, Lake Ave. Congregational Church in Pasadena California had in the late 1970s pastors that shepherded the builders, boomers, college-career, and youth. They had been with the church for a number of years. The same was true at Lloyd Ogilve’s church: Hollywood Presbyterian. These were some of the first instances that got me thinking about why this model emerged and what were it strengths. Then I saw the same in Minneapolis at Grace Church, and Colonial Church of Edina. I also witnessed this dynamic in First Baptist in Birmingham, as well as Mt. Paran Church of God in Atlanta Georgia.

Subsequently I started analyzing this model, for these churches had long-term growth rather than the typical peaks and valleys of most congregations. The consistency and relevancy (plus respect) developed in these congregations between multiple-generations was one of their key competencies, and one reason for their growing favor in the community (Acts. 2:42ff).

As a result I began applying this to churches in the midsize range. Because church culture is bias against long-pastorates (at least in evangelical congregations) these churches are swimming upstream with denominational hierarchy, but still having very positive growth as a result.

The keys I have noticed to making this process work are the following:

1) The generational pastor must sign-on for the long term. A term of at least 6 years is required. If only five years, you have one year of learning, the last year you are becoming disengaged, and thus out of a five year process only 3 years are effective. This results in a 3/5 effectiveness ratio or 60% effectiveness, which is not enough to ensure success. Remember, we are battling a long history of the pastor functioning as a simple organization with a sole-proprietor.

2) The generational pastor must be given true authority and oversight of their generational sub-congregation. To only pay lip-service to such authority will seem hypocritical to the generational pastor. Thus, since the sub-congregation’s organizational behavior is that of a separate congregation, some separateness is warranted. This means allowing the generational pastor to have a degree of authority and autonomy, providing an arena in which to fulfill the church’s overall goals in a unique and indigenous way.

3) Finally, leadership thus exists more on a collegiate (or fraternal) status (i.e. among peers), than in the more typical paternal relationship. In other words, the senior pastor looks at the generational pastors as equals, but where each has a cultural mission and understanding. However, the senior shepherd recognizes that his or her position is to bring about unity among the whole, while retaining the individual contributions and synergies of the generational parts. That is why I recommend readings by executive-level management writers such as Belasco and Stayer, Collins, Welch, etc. The purpose of an executive leader is to foster unity out of divergent cultures, while preserving indigenous mission. He or she is a team builder among leaders of divergent cultures.

I hope this gets you thinking about the potency of the Multi-gen. model. It is a remarkable model, that is not atypical … only under diagnosed.

GENERATIONS & The Benefits of Hiring Culturally-specific Pastors

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 11/15/15.

Below are my thoughts to a good question posited by a student who said, “I have a few questions about the generational pastors. I see where that would seem to work in certain size congregations, but what about in a church with 4000 people?  What about in a church with 10000+ people?  Our church has 10 pastors:

  1. Executive Pastor
  2. Lead Pastor
  3. Worship Pastor
  4. Spiritual Formation Pastor
  5. Student Ministries Pastor
  6. High School Pastor
  7. Global Outreach Pastor
  8. Local Outreach Pastor
  9. Small Group Pastor
  10. Pastor of Care/Counseling”

Hello (Name of Student);

Thanks for sharing.  I have helped churches like yours move to a more healthy (and organic) style with multiple pastors, each for a different culture.  Let me explain.

Basically, you have a team of 10 pastors cutting (horizontally) across several cultures.  Thus, some pastors will have more work, and some less.

But, you also have “cultural” pastors in your High School and Student Ministries pastor.  I would suggest you create more “cultural” pastors (Hispanic Pastor, African-American Pastor, Senior Adult Pastor, Emerging Generations Pastor, etc.) and call them what ever you want.  Then you will have leaders for different cultures.  And, your emerging cultures (e.g. Hispanic, Emerging Gen., etc.) won’t feel like one culture controls the church.  Instead, a “council of ‘cultural’ pastors” will lead the church.

This also demotes departmental pastors to directors (like worship pastor to worship director, and small groups pastor to small group director).  The power thus resides in “cultural” pastors working in tandem, rather than in “departmental” pastors often competing against one another for scarce organizational funds.

A church can grow to any size this way.

In the book, Inside the Organic Church you will find the example of St. Tom’s church in Sheffield UK and their 9 “cultural” pastors for 9 different “cultural celebrations.”