Let's be honest. The distance between the Boomers and Busters isn't just a generation gap - it's a generation gorge. The cultural, technological, and philosophical shifts that have occurred in recent decades have given these two generations fundamentally different perspectives. Although some younger pastors have abandoned the Boomer church to launch their own communities, there are many struggling to serve side by side with the older generation. In part 1 of his post, David Swanson shares the lessons he's learned as a younger pastor attempting to bring change on a team dominated by Boomers.
In his letter introducing me as a new associate pastor to the congregation, the senior pastor included the Apostle's advice to his young apprentice, "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12). I was 25 years old and, while it was a nice sentiment, the verse hardly seemed necessary. Five years later it is clear Paul's words were more than a kind gesture; they were a hint at the reality to come.
The generational gap between myself and those I was leading quickly became perceptible. As long as my energy was primarily spent maintaining ministries, the difference between the Boomers and me was negligible. It was when I began asking questions about our ministry strategies and effectiveness that Paul's councel took on new significance.
The leaders at our church are too gracious to have looked down on me as I asked my ministry questions. However, as more time was spent looking for ways to answer those questions, the differences in our ages and ways of seeing the world were a constant reminder of my youth. Even as we came to ...