WORKING WITH DIFFERENT GENERATIONS
• Seniors—born before 1925—created retirement and changed the world through victory in WW2—“the Greatest Generation”
• Builders—born between 1926-45—took values of the seniors and institutionalized it. Sense of strength is in numbers and how together we are. No US president is in this group.
• Boomers—born between 1946-64—first distinctive change in culture. Think world created so they could find themselves. For boomers, experiential economy—“Happy Meals” & “Chuck-E-Cheese” for their children for maximum experience. Worship becomes experiential for them—music is body language, clapping, no hymnals.
• Generation X—born 1965-83—relationships are most important to them. They arrange to be with their friends. Barnes & Nobles—coffee for community. GenXers like older people because they long to be mentored. Boomers have not mentored GenXers because they work 92 hours a week (mom & dad combined).
• Generations Y or Millennials—born between 1983-2000—when they get “it,” they really get it. Volunteerism is huge but not about the institution.
PETER DRUCKER—Forbes Magazine—sharpest mind in the US at 93
Greatest change in history is not the Internet but the amazing choices this generation has. Energy, choices to make this second part of life one of significance. 100 years ago life expectancy was 47 years—now it is 77 years. 30 bonus years.
LUKE 17:32—2ND SHORTEST VERSE IN THE BIBLE NEXT TO “JESUS WEPT.” “Remember Lot’s wife!”
WHY DID LOT’S WIFE LOOK BACK? SODOM WAS HOME, IT WAS COMFORTABLE, GOOD MEMORIES. SHE BECAME USELESS. ONE CANNOT LOOK BACK AND PLOW THE FIELD.
The Generations who identify with the church:
• 60% of Seniors & Builders
• 40% of Boomers
• 13% of GenXers
• 5-8% of GenY
• Only reason church attendance has stayed high is because people are living longer.
• 80% of money given to church is by those 50 years and older.
• GenXers speak the same words but not the same language.
• GenXers are not so different—each generation flaunts their fashions on the older generations.
• Homesick for a place they have never had.
• They are jaded and cynical because they have literally seen it all.
• They are the children of divorce and abandonment—many promises broken.
• Rules have changed so much—not a big deal to break them.
• No absolutes—only experiential beliefs.
• Relationships are what matter to them more than beliefs.
•If you tell them that God loves them—they will ask, “so what have you done for the homeless?”—SOUNDS LIKE THE BOOK OF JAMES!
• To the gay person—they will ask, “can you still see that I am a person?”
• “Just believe”—means to them—stop thinking.
• Tell them about Jesus—they will ask—“what about Buddha and Mohammad.
• But more than anything, they just want someone to listen to them.
• They actually want to believe—they want something REAL and TRUTH but they are better at seeking than finding.
• Have no idea how to get there.
• They actually want the older generation’s experiences and how it works.
• They are searching for an intangible something but most have not found it yet.
WHAT SHOULD OUR RESPONSE BE??
SEE John 4:1-39 Woman at the Well scene
Jesus went to the place where people would have to meet him. He was AT the well. He noticed the woman at the well—the disciples must have walked right past her as they were headed to get food. How often do we miss people right in front of us in the church all while we are FOCUSED ON FOOD and FELLOWSHIP! The disciples did not get it as they normally did not. “Four months more . . .”—disobedience by putting it off.
DELAYED OBEDIENCE IS DISOBEDIENCE AND DISOBEDIENCE IS SIN!
Jesus says turn and look out! Disciples had been in “church” too long and did not see the “harvest.”
GenXers need mentors from older generations. 2 Timothy 2:2–You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
They need someone to look past the rough edges and listen to them. They want love to be shown to them—not just preached at. They long for someone to be consistent and to keep their promises.
WHAT IS MENTORING?
• Mentoring is the process involving people.
• 2 Peter 3:18—“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” He was saying, “As long as you live, you learn. And as long as you learn, you live.”
• Unfortunately, the epitaph of many a man is well expressed in the words, “Died, age 26; buried, age 64.”
• Christian mentors are committed to life change. High on their priority list is the development in another individual of excellence so that the individual grows in his Christian life to hate the mania of mediocrity, the attitude that anything is good enough for God.
• Mentoring is a process of developing a person to his maximum potential for Jesus Christ. In Col. 1:28-29—“We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom.” Why? “So that we may present everyone [mature] in Christ.”
WHERE TO FIND MENTORS• Every person needs to have three individuals in their life.
1) You need a Paul—you need an older person who is willing to build into you life. Please note: not someone who’s smarter than you are, not necessarily someone who’s more gifted than you are, and certainly not someone who has life all together. That person does not exist. You need somebody who’s willing to share with you not only his strengths, but also his weaknesses. Somebody who’s willing to share his successes and his failures—in other words, what he’s learning in the laboratory of life. Please note what you’re not to imitate: not their method; not their giftedness; not their personality. Comparison is carnality.
2) You need a Barnabas—you need a soul brother, somebody who loves you but is not impressed by you. Somebody who is not taken in by your charm and popularity and to whom you can be accountable. Have you got anybody in your life who’s willing to keep you honest? Anybody willing to say to you, “Hey, man, you’re neglecting your wife and don’t give me any guff!! I know it, everybody else knows it; its about time you knew it!” Paul said in Gal. 2:11—“When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly wrong.” That is the kind of Barnabas you need.
3) You need a Timothy—you need a younger man into whose life you are building. If you want a model, look at 1 and 2 Timothy. Here was Paul, the quintessential mentor, building into the life of his protégé. Notice the issues he addressed. He spoke of the need for somebody who can affirm and encourage you, for somebody who will teach you and pray for you, for somebody who will correct and direct you. That’s the kind of person young people are looking for.
IF ARE ALIVE, YOU HAVE BEEN KEPT ALIVE FOR A REASON. GOD HAS A PURPOSE FOR ALL OF US TO BE ALIVE AND THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS RETIRED IN THE CHRISTIAN FAITH. GOD HAS NOT CALLED US TO A SMALL FAITH. WE SERVE A BIG GOD WITH A GOD-SIZED FUTURE FOR ALL OF US.
EPHESIANS 3:20—NOT JUST A PRAYER FOR YOUTH. PRAYER FOR SENIOR ADULTS IN NURSING HOMES.
THERE ARE YOUNG ADULTS THAT NEED YOU SENIOR ADULTS.
THERE ARE MARRIAGES IN OUR COMMUNITY FALLING APART.
THERE ARE YOUTH ON DRUGS.
THERE IS A BATTLE GOING ON ALL AROUND US.
I BEG YOU–REGARDLESS OF YOUR AGE–TO STAY IN THE GAME AND FINISH THIS LIFE STRONG!!!