Understanding, Involving, and Offering the Generations Current in Your Church, Half 3: Technology X | The alternate

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In the last article, with a little help from Elmer Towns, I mentioned traits of the baby boomer generation. Today I'm looking at some of the key moments for my generation, the Gen Xer. Some of these characteristics set us apart from the boomers: for example, we didn't have the same promise of an increasingly lucrative lifestyle. Some features, such as distrust of institutions, continue to affect the previous generation.

Key children

My generation has some more specific and unique aspects. Key children were a phenomenon. Most parents don't leave their children alone on the school bus today. I get it; I have three daughters. The idea that they come home with a key around their neck and are alone for hours or even go home from school seems a very strange idea to me.

But I grew up as a key child in New York City. I have not lived in a good neighborhood. I grew up just outside of New York City in a place called Floral Park and a certain place called Levittown. In the 1970s, our area was in an economic crisis. There were crimes and drugs, and yet we went home to our empty houses while our parents were working.

At that time, many people said that the consequences of key children are unimaginable. We would see the destruction of society. However, what we saw is that we often underestimate the resilience of people and therefore many of us have become good.

Cable television

My generation saw the rise of cable television in general, and especially cable news with channels like MTV and ESPN, and the rise of 24-hour news. It is difficult to understand how completely these and similar networks have revolutionized sports, music and news. We have a lot of college football bowl games and March Madness is one thing, not least because of ESPN.

I still remember when CNN came. I remember James Earl Jones' voice saying, "This is CNN." I remember shows like MASH, Good Times and The Jefferson & # 39; s – shows that responded to the world of Ozzie and Harriet. This was the time when some brave colored people appeared and they became more common on TV.


Mine was the first generation to be fully connected to computers. I've never actually typed paper on a typewriter, but I started using computers early.

Some people see Gen Xer as independent, skeptical, cynical, pragmatic, and impatient, and those who prefer business casual wear. Today, many Gen Xers are taking over established mission and service organizations, and the results are mixed. Leadership styles have changed and this has not always been well received.

Sometimes the organization has changed for generations due to the influence of lower level executives in the organization. Those in the lower levels tend to be younger, and when they see a boomer drop out of a role, a Gen Xer or even a millennial is likely to try to get into that role.

This has caused problems. There are organizational dissonances in many places because baby boomers are more likely to say, "We will do it", while Gen Xer are more likely to say, "Let's sit down and talk about what we're going to do."

A change to pluralism

Think about the television shows that GenX teens love and how they differ from previous generations. Star Trek, for example, said that "we would courageously go where no one has been before". Star Trek premiered on September 8, 1966 on CBS. It's a fascinating hierarchical structure with the idea that there is one person who makes the difference.

But then my generation came and we saw friends where a group of people sat around and had amazing conversations for hours. None of them seemed to work, and yet they had great places to live in New York City. It was a very mixed and confusing message. Pluralism, a sign of my generation, can be seen in Friends, who played a role in redefining relationships from a monogamous marriage to living together.

When we talk about past missions, we think of a David Hesselgrave who could speak and move through the strength of his personality and the strength of his scholarship.

We don't see that anymore.

People of my generation are probably asking more questions than bold statements. It's not that there is no altruism or that Gen Xer is only taking care of itself. But there is a certain feeling: "I have to get up and speak for myself." This affects how we talk about missions for generations.

Next I'll talk about millennials.

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