5 Reasons Why Seniors in Any Ministry Struggle With Change

Changes come with every generation. However, as we grow older, we tend to struggle with more.

Change for many seniors is difficult and so they'll tend to cling to the traditional and status quo for a sense of security.

For decades, “Boomers” have influenced their leaders, and transformed their organizations and places of worship. From Billy Graham to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., their generation has and will have a lasting impact on our country. From the moon landing to the civil rights movement, there is no question boomers have made their mark.

At the same time, they are the generation of access, affluence and self. A generation that, “believed that the world is theirs for the taking if they worked hard.”  - Haydn Shaw

They are the first generation since Martin Luther to influence and oversee change in how the body of Christ functions. So they are not going to just hand over their mantles or positions of leadership, control and influence without reservation, hesitation and in some instances, a good fight. 

If you are a ministry leader of any kind seeking to lead and influence changeunderstand that for the first time in history, leaders are having to manage the concerns of five different generations:
  1. “Traditionalist” (Born before 1945)
  2. “Baby Boomers” (Born 1946-1964)
  3. “Generation X” (Born 1965 – 1980)
  4. “Millennials”. (Born 1981- 2001)
  5. “iGeneration” (Born after 2001)
Understanding the different generations is the first step in influencing the change your ministry or organization is looking for. 

Here’s why “boomers”, including those in leadership, are not so easily moved to change.
  1. Fear of losing control of their group, club, organization or their place of worship.

    When someone younger is brought in, some feel like they're being f
    orced out.

    Seniors should understand that when you bring in someone that is younger, it is an opportunity to not only pour into them their knowledge and experience, but it is also an opportunity for both generations to grow and learn from each other.

    As leaders, we have to learn how to leverage the faith, knowledge and wisdom of one generation to pour into another.

  2. Many can't see where they fit in with changes that are needed.

    It is often a good idea to pair two generations together. This let's the senior know and feel how important they are and that they are needed. It also helps build relationships with the seniors and the younger generation.

  3. Too often, change makes them feel old and irrelevant. People fill significant when they have something significant to do. Show them how they play a part in the changes.
  4. Most have an issue with having to get to know and follow new leadership. In this case you'll have to show them how much more important the mission or vision is vs. their preferences and outdated methods.
  5. They are concerned that their years of sacrifice and service will be forgotten.

    While leading change, make it a point now and again to remind your group, ministry and organization of the sacrifices and service of those seniors who are helping to facilitate current changes, as well as their past service and sacrifices.
“The reason we struggle with other generations is that we don’t understand them.” - Haydn Shaw, Author of Generational IQ.

Each generation's view of change and what they believe, is influenced by the times in which they were born. As leaders it is up to us to ensure that those we lead are first prepared for change before they will ever be on board with change.


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