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But the reality is that most campuses did not become hotbeds of unrest until the Boomers' precious butts were at risk as the Vietnam War escalated. They didn't want to end the war because they were bothered by working-class kids being blown apart; if they had been, they wouldn't have spat on those working-class kids when they came home from Vietnam, or tried to make heroes out of the Communists who were trying to kill them. Yet as troubling as that may be, the sixties were in many ways the Boomers' finest moment. It was at least a fad then to pretend to care about racial justice at home and war abroad, to speak out against pollution and prejudice.

But it was mostly just talk. As they came of age, and as idealism might have required some real sacrifice, idealism suddenly became unfashionable. And so the Boomers careened into the seventies without a thought to picking up where King and the Kennedys left off.

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Without a war to threaten them, their selfishness came into full bloom. You know the results: Drug abuse, once a boutique curse of hip musicians, became more common than the clap. And speaking of sexually transmitted diseases, the Boomers began to fornicate with such abandon that rabbits were asking them to cool their jets. They didn't invent sex or drugs or rock 'n' roll, but they damned near ruined them all.

And don't give me this crap about Boomer music. The Beatles were all born before the end of the war. So was Janis. So while the Boomers can claim they had the good taste to listen to gifted pre-Boomers, when it came their turn to make music, the truest expression of their generation, what did they give us?

The generation that came before the Boomers gave them Dylan. Thanks a lot. Perhaps it is a bit of an overstatement. Some friends of mine have suggested it's an outrage to ignore Baby Boomer Bruce Springsteen, for one. True enough. But even more than music, our remarkable economy is what drives and defines the times we live in today. And as the generation in the economic driver's seat, the Boomers should get the credit for building this remarkable prosperity, right?

Well, not quite. Nothing can detract from the breathtaking entrepreneurship of Boomers like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. But what's interesting is that much of today's prosperity owes its origins more to the high-tech young nerds of the post-Boom generation than to the Boomers themselves. The most vital role the Boomers have in the current economy is to sit on their brains and invest in post-Boomer high-tech start-ups. The same folks who sponged off their parents when they were young are now, as they age, getting rich off the industry of their younger brothers and sisters.

Boomer political and economic values reached their most perfect expression under pre-Boomer president Ronald Reagan in the eighties: Screw your neighbor, lay off the factory workers, shuffle a lot of paper, build an economy in which a few people get the gold mine and most people get the shaft. The same Boomer elites who hid in classrooms to avoid Vietnam while poor and minority kids got shot at used their elite education in the eighties to lay off the folks who got shot at and survived. The Reverend Jesse Jackson used to say that the eighties economy was based on three things: merge, purge, and submerge.

Merge companies, purge workers, submerge communities. No more of this hippie, sixties, share-the-wealth crap now, fellow Boomers, it's every man for himself! The orgy of greed, fed by a mountain of debt, ran the economy into the ground. The massive, selfish tax cuts produced even more massive deficits and debt, which the Boomers passed on to those who followed. Having grown up using their parents' credit cards, the Boomers found it just as easy to pass on their bills to their children.

Boomers like Rush Limbaugh like to say we owe Ronald Reagan a debt we can never repay. It is telling that when he ran for reelection, Ronald Reagan got higher support among Boomers than he did from his fellow older Americans. Perhaps some of the Greatest Generation saw the selfishness in Reaganism, saw the shortsightedness, the mean-spiritedness in cutting school lunches and telling children ketchup was a vegetable, and turned away from it.

And perhaps the Boomers saw those same qualities, that savage selfishness, and embraced it. Which brings me back to the Boom in Chief. It is interesting to note that the same Boomers who supported Reagan were less likely to vote for Clinton than the World War II generation was. But is the first Boomer president typical of his generation? That, pardon me, depends on what the meaning of is is. Clinton's right-wing critics seize on his personal failings to paint a caricature of the ultimate sixties hippie: pot-smoking, draft-dodging womanizer; the Muhammad Ali of selfishness—the kind of guy Newt Gingrich called a "countercultural McGovernik.

His basic political philosophy is to prefer the future to the present and to stress communitarian values over selfish individualism. His most profound emotion is empathy. In a classic example of preferring the future to the present, Clinton took a terrible political hit for raising taxes to pay down the deficit. His party lost the House and Senate, but over time the economic policies worked, and because he was willing to pay the short-term price, we enjoy the long-term economic benefits.

But if in his public policy Clinton has been anti-Boomer, in his personal failings he has given ample fodder to his critics and much heartbreak to those of us who love him.

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Having an affair with a young woman and lying about it is a stupid and selfish act. And Bill Clinton lives with the knowledge that he has caused his family immeasurable pain. But it was ultimately a sin against his family, not yours. You think he got away with it?

Got away with it? Because of online dating, Facebook circles and the ability to connect with people internationally, they no longer have to marry someone from their high school class or even their home country. Because life expectancy is increasing so rapidly and technology allows women to get pregnant in their 40s, they're more free to postpone big decisions. The median age for an American woman's first marriage went from And while all that choice might end in disappointment, it's a lottery worth playing.

One became a pilot; one became a doctor. When you grow up during the Great Depression and fight off the Nazis, you want safety and stability," says Tucker Max, 37, who set an example for millennials when instead of using his Duke law degree to practice law, he took his blog rants about his drunken, lecherous adventures and turned them into a mega-best-selling book, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, that he got an independent publisher to print.

And millennials didn't want to do that. In fact, a lot of what counts as typical millennial behavior is how rich kids have always behaved. The Internet has democratized opportunity for many young people, giving them access and information that once belonged mostly to the wealthy. When I was growing up in the s, I thought I would be a lawyer, since that was the best option I knew about for people who sucked at math in my middle-class suburb, but I saw a lot more options once I got to Stanford.

But now it's, Wait, I know someone who knows someone," says Jane Buckingham, who studies workplace changes as founder of Trendera, a consumer-insights firm. Because millennials don't respect authority, they also don't resent it. That's why they're the first teens who aren't rebelling. They're not even sullen. They were that 'Wah-wah' voice.

The most simple decision of should I do this or should I do that--our audience will check in with their parents. Most of my friends, their parents are on social and they're following them or sharing stuff with them," says Jessica Brillhart, a filmmaker at Google's Creative Lab, who worked on the commercial. It's hard to hate your parents when they also listen to rap and watch Jon Stewart.

In fact, many parents of millennials would proudly call their child-rearing style peer-enting. Maybe all that coddling has paid off in these parent-child relationships," says Jon Murray, who created The Real World and other reality shows, including Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

He says that seeing regular people celebrated on TV gives millennials confidence: "They're going after what they want. It can be a little irritating that they want to be on the next rung so quickly. Maybe I'm partly responsible for it. I like this generation, so I have no issues with that. Kim Kardashian, who represents to nonmillennials all that is wrong with her generation, readily admits that she has no particular talent. But she also knows why she appeals to her peers. Gen X was kept at arm's length from businesses and celebrity.

While every millennial might seem like an oversharing Kardashian, posting vacation photos on Facebook is actually less obnoxious than s couples' trapping friends in their houses to watch their terrible vacation slide shows. I think in many ways you're blaming millennials for the technology that happens to exist right now. Now imagine being used to that technology your whole life and having to sit through algebra. Companies are starting to adjust not just to millennials' habits but also to their atmospheric expectations.

Dan Satterthwaite, who runs the studio's human-relations department and has been in the field for about 23 years, says Maslow's hierarchy of needs makes it clear that a company can't just provide money anymore but also has to deliver self-actualization. During work hours at DreamWorks, you can take classes in photography, sculpting, painting, cinematography and karate.

When one employee explained that jujitsu is totally different from karate, Satterthwaite was shocked at his boldness, then added a jujitsu class. Millennials are able to use their leverage to negotiate much better contracts with the traditional institutions they do still join. Although the armed forces had to lower the physical standards for recruits and make boot camp less intensive, Gary Stiteler, who has been an Army recruiter for about 15 years, is otherwise more impressed with millennials than any other group he's worked with.

This generation is think, think about it before you do it," he says. They're coming in saying, 'I want to do this, then when I'm done with this, I want to do this. Here's something even all the psychologists who fret over their narcissism studies agree about: millennials are nice. They have none of that David Letterman irony and Gen X ennui. The Internet was always positive and negative. And now it's ," says Shane Smith, the year-old CEO of Vice, which adjusted from being a Gen X company in print to a millennial company once it started posting videos online, which are viewed by a much younger audience.

Millennials are more accepting of differences, not just among gays, women and minorities but in everyone. I prefer that to you're either supermainstream or a riot grrrl," says Tavi Gevinson, a year-old who runs Rookie, an online fashion magazine, from her bedroom when she's not at school. It's hard, in other words, to join the counterculture when there's no culture. Maybe that's why millennials don't rebel," she says.

There may even be the beginning of a reaction against all the constant self-promotion. Evan Spiegel, 22, co-founder of Snapchat, an app that allows people to send photos, video and text that are permanently erased after 10 seconds or less, argues that it's become too exhausting for millennials to front a perfect life on social media. But if you need the ultimate proof that millennials could be a great force for positive change, know this: Tom Brokaw, champion of the Greatest Generation, loves millennials. He calls them the Wary Generation, and he thinks their cautiousness in life decisions is a smart response to their world.

Find new and better ways of doing things. And so that ethos transcends the wonky people who are inventing new apps and embraces the whole economy," he says. Sure, that might be delusional, but it's got to lead to better results than wearing flannel, complaining and making indie movies about it. So here's a more rounded picture of millennials than the one I started with.

All of which I also have data for. They're earnest and optimistic. They embrace the system. They are pragmatic idealists, tinkerers more than dreamers, life hackers. Their world is so flat that they have no leaders, which is why revolutions from Occupy Wall Street to Tahrir Square have even less chance than previous rebellions. They want constant approval--they post photos from the dressing room as they try on clothes. They have massive fear of missing out and have an acronym for everything including FOMO. They're celebrity obsessed but don't respectfully idolize celebrities from a distance.

Thus Us magazine's "They're just like us! They're not into going to church, even though they believe in God, because they don't identify with big institutions; one-third of adults under 30, the highest percentage ever, are religiously unaffiliated. They want new experiences, which are more important to them than material goods. My prayer is that local churches will take it seriously and begin to help facilitate that trend.

Why settle for mere tolerance when we can have unity? Boomer pastors should take the initiative toward mentoring and encouraging Millennial church leaders, whether they are pastors or lay-leaders. If significant leadership roles are being given to members in their s now, there will likely be less friction for all when a younger pastor tries to lead the church later. As a baby boomer pastor. Born and with 37 years experience in ministry I have reflected for some time on the issues you raise. I see a need for the experience I have especially as I understand the old paradigm even as I must now minister in the new paradigm that has replaced Christendom.

But frankly, I am tired. Tired of endless meetings, insular congregations, the worship wars and ministry between the paradigms. I long for Simple Church! I long to see spiritual formation and spiritual disciplines to become a part of modern day discipleship and I look for a return to prophetic ministry without all the political overtones of our day. So many of the things we call ministry today are informational rather than transformational and I believe that the church has oftentimes laid aside the one thing it can uniquely offer the world — the hope of the gospel.

Your longings reflect the sentiments of many of us Neal. May we join together to pray for that day. Just an observation of my church, and baby boomers. I have noticed a distinct difference between older and younger baby boomers. Especially those older than 63 and those younger. The reluctance of that group to change is causing a decline in attendance. We need to be willing to accept quidance from a younger generation who have a close walk with Christ. I have learned a great deal from our pastor, and other leaders in the 35 — 50 age bracket sometimes even younger. We need to respect others who speak the gospel, no matter what the age.

I am in the younger than 65 yo baby boomer group. As a young pastor that works with a lot of young adults, the younger generation believes older pastors have a difficult time relating to their family and life situations. We donot need them to stop sharing their wisdom but we can reach our generation more effectively because of our knowledge about our culture. Then they call a boomer to lead them. Maybe we need to buy aging churches some church growth books written by Rainer:.

Why are Gen X leaders, pastors, and members habitually left out of this discussion? Primarily because they are the two largest generations by far. Thus more research has been done on them. Maybe those entering the ministry could consider making their first calling their last.

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  5. Sit in that position for 45 years. Build influence that causes your congregation to trust your leadership at any age. I am a bi-vocational pastor at a work. I have worked hard and long to mentor men to take my place bi-vocational pastoring takes its toll. There is wisdom and Biblical depth that can be profited from even if the perspectives and methods are different. Hi Tom, I read with interest your comment Many have a strong desire to mentor younger…I am not sure that in our experience at churches in rural south have pastors that exhibit this.

    My husband and I see pastors who are afraid and territorial. I do not see conventions that work on bridging this gap. I am sad for what I see and hope that there will be a bridge and soon. I posted something earlier around 5 pm, but now I realized that the office might be closed. Ministry is a calling and therefore does not have a retirement age! However, boomer pastors and churches need to have a vision that bridges the gap between being the frontline minister and becoming a shepherd, evangelist, and disciple.

    I see it time and time again where ministers have given years to dynamic ministry and just quit.

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    Unfortunately for this to happen a church is going to have to commit financially to bringing on a understudy, and have a vision for what this would look like over the next five years. Let the older minister actually be a Senior Minister who guides and mentors the next person. I would love to do this; however, most churches do not want to make that commitment.

    This is already working in most churches today. There is also a word of caution here for most churches considering a younger minister; all these ministers and more grew up in church work. They have experience beyond their years. One other habit they have is that they have found a network of pastors to mentor them. He regularly filled in for pastors on vacation or for churches without pastors. He also was there to advise his pastor or deacon board when called on.

    He regularly visited shut ins and those in the hospital. He also, continued teaching his family, which I miss greatly. One of the few practitioners that I know addressing these issues within the church is Dr. Amy Hanson. I attend a church led by a 68 year old pastor who has been there for 38 years.

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    These are things he has said at various times. Since he passed the 65 year threshold 3 years ago, our attendance has fallen from down to He just seems to have lost touch with the way things are these days, but has no eye to see it. What advice can you give us? No one wants to force him out or have him leave in less than a positive light. Rainer, I am one of those Baby Boomer pastors who has made the transition from being a pastor to being a Director of Missions. I am years old and in excellent health.

    I have deliberately kept up with the technology of our day and prepared myself to be a Director of Missions. My new ministry role has rejuvenated me and given me new purpose. Quite frankly, after almost 40 years in the full-time pastoral ministry, I was starting to get stale and wanted to make a transition into a new area of service.

    On other comment…. I think the concept of retired Baby Boomer pastors becoming mentors to younger pastors is a good thing. However, I read somewhere that most younger pastors today are choosing their peers to be their mentors. Is this true? And my wife is a grad of Troy Univ. Our research shows that Millennial Christians do indeed desire to be mentored by Boomers. I am not able to say specifically from our data if a Millennial pastor subset has that same desire.

    I have several peers who do serve sort of as mentors to me, and for them I am very grateful. I have learned a fair amount of what NOT to do from them, and they have learned a whole LOT of what not to do from me. However, I also have been blessed by several older ministers who have poured into my life. Mark me down as one who will take biblical wisdom, irrespective of age.

    Ask him how things are going and pray for him right there at the table before you leave. Listen to him, affirm him where you can, share your own experiences. Most of us younger pastors feel extremely isolated, despite technology. Show that you give a rip about him. I believe there exists a gap between what Boomers consider mentoring and millenials.


    I am an almost 40 year old pastor with about 20 years experience. God has blessed me with mentors of different ages and friends in ministry. And the older pastors who are willing to sit and eat and talk about life and ministry often cannot afford the cost. Offer hospitality at your church or home. Cook a meal for him. Have him over for home brewed coffee.

    A Boomer’S Views on Life, Love, God, and Family

    I am a retired bivocational pastor with southern roots living in the midwest. Also can work with or without compensation, yet I find it very difficult to be used. I am not stuck in the rut of my upbringing. Change in our smaller churches is very hard because of family ties and not being willing to change. I am working in a church, have been for over a year as an Intentional Transformational Pastor. We are no where near to calling a pastor. So at this time I am being used and grateful. We are in one of the Send America counties in the Chicago area. Please pray for our work here.

    Why are younger pastors reticent to move to boomer dominated churches? Is there an overall trend among younger pastors toward plants or younger churches?


    If so, any data as to why? Church growth people for years have stated that the fasted way to evangelize is plant a new church. This is why most young ministers are encouraged to plant a new church. Unfortunately most of these churches are not reaching the lost; they are experiencing transfer growth. Thom, After a few days of reading the many replies to this blog post here and those posted on Facebook, I felt I needed to reply also.

    While serving as a pastor before finishing college and seminary, my wife and I went through a forced termination. While in seminary we prayed that God would prepare us for a church and a church for us in a community where we could plant our lives. We had no requirement as to location or the size of the congregation. We trusted that God would provide for our needs and some of our wants.

    After seminary God led us through a second forced termination. I was ready to pull the pin on serving as a pastor; it was just too hard on my wife and family then with teenage children.