We are living in a unique point in history where we have at least five generations alive simultaneously. Different studies may define the five generations slightly differently but here are the five generations:
I think there is a danger in too much differentiation of the different generations. There are some basic commonalities that are true of human beings of any age. Yet it is also true that different generations experience different formative experiences. The Silent generation, for example, experienced the horrors of World War 2 and the chaotic aftermath of war. The values shaped by the crucible of war were then passed on to the next generation, the Boomers. The Millennials entered the world in a time of relative peace and grew up in a world shaped by the internet.
Because different generations are shaped by different defining experiences, their values and how they view the world differ. This leads to misunderstanding and conflict. The church has not been spared of this. We see it in the fact that many churches are losing their millennials and, even if they choose to remain, there is often tension between the different generations.
Graceworks is a ministry committed to building healthy community in our churches and so we have embarked on the Generations Project. Our tag line is “Unity through Empathy”. We want to see our churches marked by a loving unity and interdependence between the different generations and we believe a large part of this comes about when the different generations understand each other better.
We have chosen to start with the relationship between two key generations—the Boomers because they are usually the ones who are leaders and who wield power in our churches, and Millennials because they are now the largest generation in the world. In time, we hope to explore the relationship between the other generations, but we will start by studying the relationship between Boomers and Millennials in our churches. Various groups have embarked on similar projects in the U.S. and elsewhere, but this project will focus on the situation in Singapore.
The “Generations Project” seeks to increase the empathy that the different generations have for one another through in-depth ethnographic research, literature review and collaboration with interested churches. We have already started interviewing church-based millennials. But we will need your help and partnership to fund the remainder of this endeavour. We aim to raise S$30,000 to help cover the manpower costs that will be incurred for this 15-month project (refer to table below for project timeline). We welcome your support to make this project a reality, but we also hope that you can share this with your church leaders for them to consider partnering with us. We will be very happy to send them our detailed information package.
We hope that you will consider supporting this important project and we would love to share more in person. If you have any questions or comments, just let us know. If you wish to contribute to this project please choose any of the following methods (and please add a note that the transfer is for “GP Crowdfunding”):
Via PayNow to: UEN 200609730G
Via Direct Bank Transfer to:
Bank: MayBank Singapore Limited
Payee: Graceworks Private Limited
Acct No: 0-418-10-0204-8
Via Paypal here
We pray that you will realise the critical nature of this project. It’s not just about stopping the bleeding of millennials from the church. It’s about how the different generations can bring their unique strengths to the table so that God’s church can be better equipped to carry out her mission. And in a world marked by so much conflict, a community where different types of people genuinely love each other and consider others better than themselves (Philippians 2:3) is a powerful statement of the reality of the gospel.