What Should The Church Do With Boomers?


As the first of 77 million baby boomers reach retirement age, their annual spending power is estimated at 2 trillion dollars. Businesses are working hard at creating Boomer-centric products from cars to ovens while marketers are coming up with innovated ways to sell these products and services to the most affluent generation ever to walk on earth. But what’s the church strategy to reach, engage and deploy this generation? Mostly a seat on a church board.

What should the church do with Boomers

While this is not a scientific or even researched post, I speak from the perspective of someone who gets to visit a lot of churches and happens to be very at the very tail end of the Boomer generation.  Most of the funding for new buildings, capital expenditures and programs come from the 45-65 year olds. It makes sense; we have been in the work force longer and have accumulated more discretionary wealth, and unlike retirees of the past on fixed income, Boomers’ paychecks are the largest around. Therefore we’re asked to serve on boards.

Churches everywhere have successful middle aged men and women in leadership meetings. We are expected to give great advice and even greater checks. But if that’s all we are expected to do, the church will miss a big opportunity: to harness the energy and passion of a generation that has refused to grow old.

Unlike our preceding generation, the Builders, Boomers are not only wealthier, we are healthier with an active lifestyle that rivals even that of the young Millennials. But while we can write you a check, we can give you more than money. Yes, much more. And unlike our parents, we don’t mind the loud music, the fog machine, or shoeless worship leaders. Bring it, worship boy. We grew up with AC/DC. Chris Tomlin does not scare us.

So my counsel to the church that wants to reach out to Boomers: don’t give us a building to fund. Give us a passion to pursue. Yes, you’ll get the building thrown in with everything else that comes from being fully engage in ministry. A seat on the board is great and you probably need our experience and wisdom, but a piece of our heart is so much better.

What’s your church doing to engage Boomers?

  • Mario, I find myself on the outside of this baby boomer issue at age 42, but I do hope that churches heed your comments and "bring it". We need churches to grow, not just for the buildings, but for the battle…

  • Steve Shantz

    I loved the "bring it, worship boy" comment! Good post.

    • I thought you would. Of all the "insightful stuff" you enjoy the funny jab. That's why we get along so well. 🙂

    • That's why you and I get along so well.

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  • Holy Cow! Thank you, Maurilio! You have just spoken for thousands (if not millions) who feel like our best creative years are still in front of us, but often feel overlooked or even patronized.

    My son Cooper likes to kid with me an call me "Hipster Dad". yet I'm thinking to myself "this is who I am"!

    So, Let's Bring it, fellow "Hipsters"!!

    • Derek calls me "Fabio." I'm not sure he even knows who Fabio really is. What's up with kids trying to make fun of their parents? Wait a second, I think that's what I did to my parents as well. Never mind, then.

  • I wrote a book about it: Reborn to Be Wild, published by David C Cook. I know what to do with us–unleash our radical heart and quit playing nice with institutional church

  • Has there not already been 30 years of boomer-focused ministry? I think "baton passing" and legacy are issues that should invigorate. What will be left? Yes, not buildings we hope, but lives. So, yes a cause but not a self-focused one.

    So, challenge the boomers think beyond themselves.

    • Absolutely. I don't think Boomers are looking inwardly. I, for one, want to make an impact in the lives of those coming behind me.

  • Haha!! You crack me up.
    "Bring it, worship boy. We grew up with AC/DC. Chris Tomlin does not scare us."

    This is awesome. Definitely something for church leaders to keep in mind as they work to get their congregation involved. Even though I am a young(er) person sometimes I think there is too much focus on trying to get the youth energized while just trying to get everyone else to open their checkbooks.

    Amen brother. Preach it!

  • This is such a great important topic Maurilio. Thanks for discussing it and for owning your affinity for AC/DC and fog machines;-) We launched our church in Sept of '10 and we now have 116 Adults connected to Small Groups. Of those 116 adults, only 14 are Boomers. As you mentioned, Boomers bring more than their share of wisdom and resources to the table. As one simple step to engage the passion of Boomers to leave a mark, we made some of our Boomer couples Leaders of Young Married Small Groups as opposed to assimilating them all into one life stage group. That's really our only strategy at this point. I hope we can learn from our current Boomer Leaders and keep them inspired, challenged and involved with our vision!

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  • Rev Charles

    Very good comments, I am a proud boomer and a pastor.  I totally agree and know it is time for a Boomer Church, since not many churches get it or want to get it.  I think we can do what we have always done, lead.  That is us, we can change the world again for God’s glory, others good, and our joy.  It’s boomer revolution time, get on board.

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