2 Lies Leaders Fall For
There are two lies that we unfortunately tend to believe at pivotal seasons in life. Both of them can limit us tremendously. Both keep our lives smaller than they are supposed to be. One of them is the lie we believe when we are young that “I really don’t need to listen to older people; I can take care of myself.” The other lie, the second, is the one we too often believe when we are older that “no younger person will really want to hear anything I have to say.” These two deceptions cause us to miss incredible opportunities both to gain and to give support, encouragement and even direction. These lies keep us from living “generation to generation.”
Generations – The Differences
Generational distinctions characterize different age groupings of people in our communities and churches today. Sociologists and anthropologists tell us that least four generations currently exist. Each of these generally embraces a unique worldview that affects its behavior and decision-making. Among the more acknowledged current generations are:
- The Builders – those people born before and up to 1945.
- The Boomers – people born between 1946 and 1964.
- The Busters (i.e., GenXers) – those born between 1965 and 1983.
- The Bridgers (i.e., Millennial Gen.; or Gen Y) – born between 1984 and later.
Churches, communities and businesses are made up of these groups and they are often as distinct as ethnicities in their values, perceptions and practices. In an attempt to better understand these generations, I decided to meet with a cross-section of the members of my local church to ask them a few questions. Here’s a sample of our dialog that day:
My 1st Question: “What hero has your generation looked up to? Who is someone you really respected and wanted to be more like?”
A Builder: “General Dwight Eisenhower, the leader of our troops in WWII.”
A Boomer: “John F. Kennedy.”
A Buster: “Michael Jordan.”
A Bridger: “Honestly, our generation doesn’t really have any heroes. All of our ‘heroes’ are entertainers and celebrities. And, I guess we really don’t really expect any of them to have integrity.”
My 2nd Question: “What technological invention has had the greatest impact on your generation?”
A Bridger: “Probably social networking; Facebook.”
A Buster: “The Computer & The Internet.”
A Boomer: “Television.”
A Builder: “ELECTRICITY!” (Yes, one eighty-plus-year-old in this group that day enthusiastically remembered electricity first coming into her neighborhood as a young girl!)
Talk about differences; from Eisenhower to Paris Hilton; from social networking on your iPhone to the first signs of electricity in your neighborhood. So great are the differences that they could potentially divide us in our churches and communities and workplaces if we don’t seek to acknowledge and better understand them.
Generation to Generation – A Life Linked
Instead of merely being divided by the generational differences, the Biblical record presents a pattern revealing that God wants us to live lives that are linked; lives connected to the generations before, around and those coming after us. The Bible actually has much to say about living life “generation to generation.” A few vital life principles stand out:
- We are commanded to HONOR the older generation (Lev. 19:32).
- We are called to REACH our own generation (Acts 13:36).
- We are challenged to TEACH (or train) the next generation (Titus 2).
One of the best examples of a connected life in the New Testament was the Apostle Paul. If there was one thing Paul never did it was live his life or do his work alone. One reason Paul was so effective was because he was so connected to other generations.
NOTE: More in my next post on leading Bridgers, Busters, Boomers and Builders!