UK churches are failing to reach the generation brought up on Elvis, according to Church Army captain Chris Harrington.
In his Grove booklet Reaching the Saga Generation, Chris highlights that, when churches reach out to older people, the focus is almost always on those born before the last world war. They do so by running everything from a regular drop-in coffee morning, to visiting those in nursing homes.
‘All good stuff,’ suggests Peter Meadows of CRE North exhibitor Afterworknet, ‘but it doesn’t touch those of a very different generation who are also no longer working full time – those brought up on Elvis rather than Doris Day, who jived not quick-stepped. They wore denim and still do and by no means regard themselves as “old.”’
Chris believes they are distinctly different from their older counterparts.
• They were the first ‘teenagers’ and have lived through the free-thinking era of the new pop-culture
• They do not trust governments, multinationals, institutions or authority figures
• They dislike being patronised, dictated to or treated condescendingly
• They demand honesty, consistency, reliability, quality, value for money and good service.
What’s more, this segment of our society represents a huge sector of the population.
In the main, churches lack plans and programmes to help those of this generation get ready for new adventures and seize new opportunities for service in retirement.
‘That being the case, those of us who are heading for retirement – or are already there – need to take personal responsibility,’ concludes Peter, Afterworknet’s programme director. ‘Life after work is not a rehearsal but the real thing. We’ll only get to do it once. Afterworknet will help you do it properly.’
• Afterworknet are on stand B16a at CRE North
• Church Army are on stand C2 at CRE North