Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Generation Gap is Alive and Well

It exists in almost every church and it’s often the elephant in the room that never gets recognized. What am I referring to? The generation gap. The old generation feels the younger generation is disrespectful, hard to motivate and too casual. The younger generation feels underappreciated and undervalued for the vitality, creativity and fresh perspective they bring to the team. And so the tension exists and never gets talked about.

So what do we do? We usually stay with our own age group and complain about other groups. We get siloed in our relationships. We never think of crossing generational boundaries rather hoping somehow the problem will just “go away”.

What would happen if the older generation motivated and engaged the younger generation? And what if the younger generation began to quietly and respectfully influence the older generation?

I would like to suggest that we all make a conscience effort, whatever age we are currently to strive to close this generation gap.

Here are some things we all can do:
  1. Accept the differences of generations (different leadership styles, differing ideas about money, music, etc.). It isn’t about good or bad but seeing the world differently – let’s admit the differences exist.
  2. Be willing to step outside your own reality. How might you appreciate someone who operates differently than you do? Don’t make your preferences a “one size fits all”.
  3. Seek to give honor – treat others how you want to be treated. (See Romans 12:10)
  4. Focus on building a relationship with someone NOT your same age. (See Romans 12:18) When you are friends with someone, you are more likely to offer your attention, love and devotion.
  5. Don’t give up! (See Galatians 6:9) Keep investing your time and energy with other generations no matter how hard it gets. This is a journey worth walking – don’t give up.
P.S. Want to experience joy every day of your life? Longtime friend of mine, Bruce Johnson, will be helping us discover daily joy in the context of generosity this Sunday at both 9:00am and 10:30am!