Approaching 50, I became intimidated that my age would hinder my ability to communicate with younger people. So I tried to be cool. I wore a sport coat with no tie in the contemporary service. I put gel on my hair (both hairs).

Soon I discovered my Sunday morning fashion statement was not the issue. While overall attendance at my church had increased the previous seven years, the percentage of attenders ages 18 to 25 had decreased.

Something about our church lacked appeal to the younger generation, and I hoped it was not my sermons. I had always considered myself in touch with the "kids." The college Sunday school class once had a friendly habit of calling me "Dennis" or "Pastor Dennis." In recent years, however, the college students were calling me "Pastor Beatty." I was growing older, and the gap was getting wider.

Then late one night I found myself flipping channels between David Letterman and Jay Leno. I was intrigued. Both men are exactly my age, yet their communication styles clearly ...

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