In his book, Generational IQ, Haydn Shaw writes that the future is bright and that Christianity is not dying, as so many in our culture contend. Still, the future is not without challenge. One of the greatest challenges before us is communication and understanding between the generations.
Shaw presents the challenge this way: “In previous eras, there were only three generations. The oldest generation had the money and made the decisions, and the younger generation of adults raised the children and did what the older generation asked them to until their parents died, and then their turn came to be in control. Changes in families and churches came slowly and naturally, with little disruption. But today, for the first time in history, we have five generations in our families, churches, and communities.”
Here are a few of his observations:
- Each generation has spiritual strengths and temptations that were shaped by the ideas and images of the times in which they grew up.
- Individualism brought God close, hyper-individualism applied a consumer’s attitude toward churches, and it has stunted Boomers spiritual growth.
- Generation X is the most misunderstood and invisible of the generations. The name itself illustrates the problem. Generation Xers don’t like the label.
- Millennials are confident. Their parents and teachers convinced them they are special, and the Millennials believe it. In one survey, 96 percent of Millennials agreed or somewhat agreed with this statement “I can do something great.” Not one respondent disagreed strongly.
- I never worry that Christianity will disappear, but I am terrified that the Millennials who grew up in the church aren’t significantly more orthodox in their theology than those who didn’t.
Additionally, Hayden observes; “If God is great and God is good, then there’s a good reason behind every command he gives us, and in today’s world we have to emphasize the reason instead of the command so that people are willing to see the beauty of the command before they accept it.”
With these and many more observations, as keynote presenter at the Texas District 2016 Pastors Conference, Shaw presents numerous issues and insights into the generations. He will describe the dynamics, assumptions and possible solutions to working and enjoying life together across the generations, as well as how to become more effective in evangelism for the sake of the Kingdom.
By: Rev. Steve Misch
Mission & Ministry Facilitator, Area A