How can the Church reach the Baby Boomer generation?
In November 2011, I attended a conference entitled "Being church for the Boomer Generation." Who are the Baby Boomers? Those born betwee 1946 and 1964 - the first generation post-World War II. What's so special about them? Well, apart from the sheer size of that generation (the post-war baby boom is how they got their name), they are, arguably the last generation in Britain to grow up in churches.
Statistically, 1 in 3 children in 1946 went to Sunday School. By 1964 it was still 1 in 5. Children's church attendance plummeted very quickly after this. The oldest of the boomers have now reached normal retirement age, and theoretically have more time on their hands. The picture isn't quite as clear as this, because Boomers often have responsibility for more than one generation - providing care for ageing parents, supporting their adult children, and increasingly being carers for their grandchildren. Even so, many of them are going to start asking deep questions of life and meaning. Will the church be ready to welcome them?
In the attached document I have given my notes from some of the plenary sessions of the conference. Most of the material, therefore, is from the conference speakers: Martyn Atkins, Steve Hollinshurst, Graham Horsley, Kathryn Morgan, Anne Richards and Roger Standing. I have also added some of my reflections and interpretation.
I believe that outreach to the Boomer Generation is possible. It is a huge mission field. Some of it is ripe for harvest, but we need skilled and wise workers in the harvest field. The paper below will, I trust, help to prepare some of those workers. There is a short book list at the end of the paper for those who wish to read further.
Naturally, I am willing to come and speak further to churches and others who would like to know more.