What is Significance to Boomers, GenX and GenY

Welcome back. You belong here.

Some observations in working with three different generations. What keeps them motivated? What do they get into? What do they not tell you with their mouths but through their myspace, silence, body language, etc. What makes them tick as far as feeling connected to an organization?

1. A role, title, a stage. In other words, I find that Boomers need to know they are on the “team”, that they have a role to play, and that they are unique in that role.
EX – It’s important for our leaders to know they are in charge of the Christmas Eve Service.
2. Excellence. Boomers (this is a no brainer), value things that are well done. Efficiency, organization, clear assignments.
EX – A good rehearsal is when we start on time, end on time and finish the job.
3. Personal space. Don’t talk to me for too long, don’t call me too often, don’t touch me!
EX – One of my musicians often reminds me not to hug him.

Gen-X/Busters, etc…
1. Involved and valued. X’ers value being valued. “Do you love me” seems to be their never ending question. In other words, even though I don’t show up to things, and am too busy to show up to meetings, do you still want me around?
EX – One of our photographers came last night with near tears in her eyes, wanting me to use her photography even though I hadn’t seen or heard from her in weeks.
2. Time spent one on one. If you value me, you’ll mentor me one on one, not in a group because I won’t feel valued. I dont’ want to be one of your people, I want to be the ONLY one.
EX – After a long rehearsal, some of our musicians want to talk in the parking lot for 2-3 hours.

1. Many things all at once. Collaboration, relationships, working together not just with my peers but with the bosses.
EX – My painters often ask me about big events in the church, when are we going to do the Good Friday show? What about the annual meetings, when do we get to lead that?
2. Social causes and stop playing church with me. It’s not enough to do the job, but it has to matter. And btw, why is church so weird?
EX – Last year, 300+ people came to a music and art show called the RoboShow, all put on by GenY’ers, which benefited the “Invisible Children”. They raised a ton of cash.
3. Let’s go play basketball and go skating. Soooo different than the Boomers and GenX, GenY wants to do group things aaaaallll the time.
EX – After a midnight rehearsal, all the guys invited me to go skating at ElDo. I went home!
4. Mentor me, don’t teach me stuff. I’ve noticed this generation knows a ton of stuf, they need me to be their friend not their leader. Tricky, when I still have to lead them, but although tempted to do it the old fashion way and talk about vision, values, blah, blah, blah, I have stick to the plan – relationships, servanthood and bbq’s at my house to have the RIGHT to speak into their lives.
EX – We had 20 artisans at our house last month for a bbq. For boomers that would have been one bbq too many. For GenY I am planning MONTHLY bbqs.

There is much more but that’s a start. What do they all have in common?
Passion. I find that for the most part, all generations have a passion in their hearts for something greater than themselves.

I count it an honor (actually it’s nuts) to work with all three generations right now. I respect each generation’s thing while praying God can use me to move all of them towards Christ likeness and a passion for the Kingdom of God.

Have a great day.

Into the future,


2 thoughts on “What is Significance to Boomers, GenX and GenY”

  1. Hi David! Good reflections on this post. Just an interesting sidenote, as I’ve been doing lots of reading lately on the generations…the label “Gen Y” has been replaced by “the Millenial Generation”. There is a myth that each generation is like the one before it, except more extreme (that’s where Gen Y comes from…) but actually, the Millenials are completely different than the Gen Xers (as you eluded to a bit in your post).

    Your artisan spin on this seems to be really accurate! As a Gen Xer, I’d agree! You are Gen X too, my friend- does it resonate with you?

  2. Good call. GenY, Millenials, some call them neo-Boomers because they’re familiar to their parents. Names are funny. you’re awesome!

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