Stop Obsessing Over the Next Generation

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As a leader, are you surrounding yourself with millennials? It might help you reach the next generation, but you may be missing out on the benefits and wisdom of the baby boomer generation. Phil Cooke https://philcooke.com helps you dial down on ageism and rethink the value of the older generation in your workforce and on your ministry team.

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Do you have a message or story the world needs to hear? As a Hollywood producer and media consultant, I offer advice for leaders and creatives each week on filmmaking, digital media, publishing, strategy, communication, leadership, culture and faith – to help you get from where you are to where you want to be in your career.

More about this episode: Stop Obsessing Over the Next Generation

Obviously we want to reach everybody with the gospel, but the truth is, a significant number of pastors and Christian leaders are overly obsessed with reaching young people – especially when it comes to hiring a team. But in our relentless pursuit of younger people, I think we’re forgetting the audience that could make a remarkable difference right now.

From that perspective, here’s why I think we need to dial down “ageism” in the church, and learn to welcome – even pursue – older people:

  1. The older generation are still the kings when it comes to giving.A 2018 Federal Study found that millennials compared to previous generations have ‘”lower earnings, fewer assets and less wealth.”

  1. Understand they’re not just “older,” they’re experienced.They’ve been there and done that. Challenges that seem so large to younger people are often nothing to the older crowd. They’ve already been through it and know how to solve the problem – and if they don’t have the answer, the challenge doesn’t scare them.

  1. Office politics and competition mean much less to older employees.People who have had long careers are generally more easy going and easy to get along with than younger people.

  1. Older employees aren’t as expensive as you think.In fact, many are more than willing to take a pay cut in order to find a great job where they can still contribute.

  1. One thing worth mentioning is that the baby-boom generation actually knows more about changing the world than anyone on the planet.Remember that the world has bent to their will since they were born. Because of their size, they shifted the thinking on everything from lifestyles to entertainment, politics, religion, and more.

  1. And don’t forget that older people today aren’t really old.Even people in their 70’s today were part of the rock and roll generation, which means they’re not as stuffy and closed minded as you may think.

With that in mind, here’s what I’d recommend you start doing today:

  1. Be intentional about including older candidates in your job searches.There’s an incredible amount of skill, talent, and experience out there, and by excluding that group, you’re only hurting yourself and your organization.

  1. Think in terms of “teams” and encourage old and young to work together.You can still keep younger people in charge of teams or departments, but make sure there’s an older employee nearby to offer advice and counsel.

  1. We’ve always been big on internships, but think more about using older employees to mentor a younger team member.

  1. We want to value the spark and original ideas younger people bring to the table. However, don’t let that obscure the fact that more senior members of the team have a lifetime of experience and will help know which ideas might work and which might not.

  1. And finally, take the time to learn who the “older” generation really is.

Every age group has it’s strengths and weaknesses, so we need to look for the all-stars across the board. When we do that, everyone will benefit, and we’ll make the biggest difference in the culture.

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