Even though I turn 29 this week I am still considered “young” by many standards. I’ve noticed from my colleagues in ministry, that you’re considered young until about mid 30’s. And I hear from dear friends who turn 40 in ministry that they are now told they’re too old. So my question is, where’s the “golden years?” And, how do we pull the very best out of each generation?
Full disclosure: I’m not a genius and I DON’T KNOW, however I feel like we as leaders can start being a lot more strategic…
The first thing that comes to my mind is this: How are the generations represented in your planning? Do we inform the younger people of what the older planned in hopes they just trust and want to volunteer? OR, do we give them a seat at the table? This thought came to me after attending a conference where the year before it was all about “passing the baton” then this year there was nobody repressed from my generation (the millennials) anywhere on stage or in any workshop. The heart of the conference was so good but that was an oversight for sure.
Another thing that comes to mind is after you allow multiple generations in on the planning, do you also allow their voice to count? Or are they just a spectator as the “adults” do everything? We must recognize that the end goal is not just having the generations (especially younger) present but leaning on their influence, even if it’s not as long-standing as yours.
Disclaimer: We must recognize also that when we say “having a voice” we DO NOT mean “getting your way.” What we must navigate is how to allow each generation to have a voice and still be ok if we proceed without the end result looking like any single generations “preferred way.” It’s a tension for sure but one we need to navigate.
Our society would greatly benefit from thinking more generationally and not being timid to navigate the murky waters of including multiple generations in our planning, vision, and more. We truly do need each other. As you move on from this article (if you lasted this long) my prayer is that you would begin thinking more generationally in all you do. Whether it’s planning family vacation to planning where your company’s or church’s future is heading.