Currently, there are six human generations alive:
- “The Greatest Generation” – Born in 1924 or earlier.
- “The Silent Generation” – Born between 1925 and 1945
- “The Boomers” – Born between 1946 and 1964
- “Generation X” – Born between 1965 and 1979
- “Millennials” – Born between 1980 and 1996
- “Generation Z” – Born between 1997 and today*
*These dates vary a little depending on sources.
As you can see from the graph above, there are quite a few Baby Boomers alive today and – within my denomination and many denominations – there is a wave of Boomer Pastors who will be retiring in the next decade. The youngest Boomers will turn 70 in 2034 and – God willing they will be retiring at that time if not earlier.
In 2064, the youngest Boomers will turn 100. It’s not that far away.
On the earth on this day, there is someone alive who will be the last living Baby Boomer Pastor. This is amazing and wonderful to consider. (Also, I hope it’s not me.)
I am a Baby Boomer and – at the same time – I am often frustrated by my own generation. While there are creative, energetic, hopeful, entrepreneurial leaders in their late fifties and sixties, there are also leaders in this age group who are tired and ready to retire. And yet those weary pastors do not plan to retire until they are 70 for many reasons.
I believe that every Boomer Pastor should have a trusted colleague or friend who can tell us when it’s time to step aside and make way for a Generation X Pastor**- or someone even younger.
My dream is that The Last Boomer Pastor to retire will be a kick-@$*, door-opening, permission-giving, Jesus-loving, expectation shattering human being who will joyfully look at the generations coming after and be overwhelmed with gratitude and hope. We who are blessed to be part of this generation need to begin preparing our congregations now for the changes ahead.
** My deepest apologies to Generation X Pastors. I meant to write your generation here (before I corrected it from saying Millennial.) It obviously shows my own unconscious bias. Please forgive me for this brain blip.