Generational Differences in the Church

Two weeks ago, I hosted two webinars for Carroll Sheppard, my friend and author of Congregational Connections: Uniting Six Generations in the Church, (Xlibris, 2011). She chose to publish her book in order to promote conversations about the real impact of generational differences in our churches.

Through her work as a church consultant, Carroll came to the realization this is the first time in history in which six generations coexist in the church. She says this is causing some challenges and conflict as the Olders (Builders, Silents, and Boomers) are faced with the Youngers (Gen X, Millenials, and Gen Z) who have entirely different ways of interpreting and interacting with the world.

Olders are more accustomed to hierarchical approaches to leadership and value face-to-face interactions. Youngers were shaped by the presence of electronic media so they experience a flatter networked world. They spend a great deal of time online so see face-to-face interactions as only one of many ways to engage in relationships.  This affects everything from church attendance to engagement in programs. Neither approach is better. They are just different based on the life experiences of the six cohorts.

Those attending the webinars found that the material rang true. At least one leader has asked about the possibility of facilitating this type of conversation at his church.

Carroll is open to further online conversations about her book. If you or your leadership team is interested in a webinar contact me at

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