Based on the information I shared last time, if we are going to reach the majority of people in Fort Wayne we need to think about people who are young, have one kid, own their home, and have a modest but decent living.
Who are these people?
In general people in their 30s today multi-task and are well connected on social media and are tech-savvy and desire flexibility. At the same time, they like structure and to have clear goals. In other words they want a plan but one that they can fit into their schedule when they need it. They value transparency. We must be honest about our strengths and weaknesses, and not promise more than we have to offer. As a generation they want immediate gratification and recognition. Church cannot become routine, it must have a clear and present value. They are also, however, very team oriented. They want to be involved and be given positions of responsibility and voice. They do not want to be leader focused but rather group focused. They do respect older generations, much more so than their parents did. Relationships are most important.
That bares repeating: Relationships are most important.
The question now becomes: how do we create those relationships?
Let us flip the question on its head.
With whom do we have relationships?
39% of the county are over 45, 14% are over 65. This age group is predominant in our church.
Typically people in this age range are identified as Boomers, born between 1946 and 1965. People in this generation are far different than their parents at a similar age. They have had and continue to have more opportunities, they live longer, but are also facing challenges not known to their parents for which they have little reference.
This age group wants independence, respect, and involvement. Even if they do not attend church they are less likely to be anti-organized religion than other age groups. They are becoming introspective as they age, and may wish to address some of the things they have taken for granted in their lives. They may wish to revisit old perceptions. They want a chance to continue to be of service.
They are facing challenges that they may be unwilling to discuss but also unprepared to handle. Longer life expectancy comes with additional burdens to health, finances, and care. They may be in a position where they are dealing with both older relations, possibly siblings, and grand-kids. Adult children may have returned home. They are likely to own property that they are no longer fully able to maintain. These must be addressed respectfully, communicating both an acknowledgement of what the individual can do and that there is no shame in asking for help or receiving it.
Interestingly there are areas of overlap between the two groups.
Both are team oriented and have a desire to be involved in service.
The younger generation respects the past and the older wants to pass down their accumulated wisdom, making mentoring a good fit for both.
Both desire flexibility, one to deal with new found responsibilities the other to take advantage of new found freedoms.
We are a small congregation at the moment. We cannot be all things to all people. We must prayerfully consider where to put our resources. Not for our growth, but for our best service to the Kingdom of God and to our fellow humans.