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Generational IQ: Christianity Isn't Dying, Millennials Aren't the Problem, and the Future is Bright Hardcover – October 1, 2015
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Packed with what every parent and leader needs to know about the generations! Haydn Shaw shows in this re-freshing book that Millennials are not the godless heathens, intent on destroying American culture, that they are often painted to be. A must-read! (Shaunti Feldhahn, social researcher and author of For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men)
Get unstuck from the ineffective rigidity of “the way we’ve always done it.” Find the right questions that will unlock your future. In this book, Haydn Shaw sets a new standard of excellence, coining terms that will become the grist for conversations about dealing with generational issues for decades to come. (Carl F. George Church-growth consultant and author of Prepare Your Church for the Future)
Haydn Shaw will provide you with the intellectual framework necessary to tackle the communication gap between the generations. Timely! (Ed Stetzer, executive director of Lifeway Research)
Thought provoking! I repeatedly found myself nodding, “Ah, now that makes sense.” (Angie Smith, author of I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy)
From the Inside Flap
Is Christianity really going to be dead in three generations?
Why is my twentysomething still in the basement?
Is it even possible for young people to save sex for marriage when they dont marry until age twenty-eight?
How do I pass on my faith to my children when they dont respond to the things I find most meaningful?
What can I do now that my child is walking away from the faith?
Why wont the younger generations come to our church?
How can our church keep all the generations engaged?
All of these problems share one thing in common: they are rooted in generational differences. Yet we often dont know enough about the problems to know how big of a deal these differences are or what to do about them. We need intelligence to help us sort fact from terrifying fiction.
Thats where Generational IQ comes in. If we dont have generational intelligence, we overreact to the small things, ignore the big things, and do the wrong things, making our relationships worse. People of faith tend to overreact to generational differences even more than others do. The reason is that its personal. The people we worry about are our children, our friends, and our churches. Or our faith itself. The questions above keep Christians up at night because they hit us in the heart. The more we read about them in the news or online, the more frightened we get. Its like were watching one of those scary movies where the girl heads into the dark basement, and we know the bad guy is there, because the ominous music tells us he is there. We end up yelling at the screen, No! Dont go down there! Run away! Whats wrong with you? Many of us are doing the same to those closest to us, and frankly, it isnt helping.
Generational IQ brings the best of generational research close to home, to help you find a way to dispel generational tensions in your family and church community. Generational problems arent going away anytime soon. We may be tempted to wonder,Why cant we go back to the way things were? Like the young woman going into the dark basement, wecant go back.
But we can turn on the lights.
Haydn Shaw is a leading expert on helping the four generations work better together. He has worked with more than fifteen hundred businesses, nonprofits, and governmental organizations. He is a business consultant for FranklinCovey, specializing in leadership, trust, and personal productivity methodologies, as well as a speaker and consultant with religious organizations. Haydn was hailed as a leadership guru by theWashington Post and an expert on cultural differences at the office by TIME. The father of four Millennials, Haydn lives with his wife, Laurie, in a multigenerational household in Illinois.
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He provides recommendations that fit a “seeker friendly” model. Disappointingly, his advice is not really about uniting the generations, but more so how the older generations can reach the younger generations, and how the church can help the older generations who have been somewhat pushed aside to make way for the younger crowd. The advice is generally one way – the older reaching the younger – with no advice for how the younger generations can relate to the older generations within the church. He rightfully encourages humility within the church, but this is pointed at the older generations.
I would still recommend the book for many of the reasons listed in the positive reviews – it’s a valuable resource on the characteristics, strengths and temptations for each generation. I generally agreed with his practical approach to helping inter-generational relationships. His insight in explaining the "why's" behind God's commandments to younger generations is helpful.
My three-star review is specifically related to his conclusions for the church. I am on the cusp of an Xer/Millennial and found myself disagreeing with statements such as these:
"Simply put, music isn't the right or wrong thing; we use the tunes of the times to speak to people. This is a cultural thing. So who gets the music they like in the worship service? That's easy - the people who don't attend. We need to play whatever music people who don't come to church to relate to so that music doesn't get in the way of hearing God's word. You are not the 'target audience' for your church's music. It's not about you; it's about what speaks to the hearts of those who have not found a transforming faith (p.223)." He then goes on to say that older generations should bring earplugs if they can't handle the new music.
In his recommendations for individual churches to reach generations, Shaw recommends (1) changing the church now to attract younger generations, (2) grow old together and continue to focus on older generations (i.e. forget reaching the younger), and a discouraging option (3) "Pretend you can reach all five generations." He says -- "Hoping your church can reach everyone puts the focus on the church, not on the people you're trying to reach... Go young or grow old together - both benefit the Kingdom of God. Just don't fool yourself into thinking you can do both if you keep doing what you're doing (207)."
He also advises churches to “use humor” and says his own minister “has always let loose his sarcastic sense of humor. Humor makes him seem younger than he is and connects him with the generation half his age. It’s important to remember that for Xers and Millennials, humor is edgier and more sarcastic and may not be your style…. Be slow to take offense or roll your eyes. These younger generations love humor, and they love to poke fun, so take take everything so seriously! (212).”
To the older generations who are not happy with changes their church has made to accommodate younger generations, Shaw advises them to “give their church back to Jesus,” and says, “Giving our church back to Jesus means we trust he has something fresh to tell the younger generations, and we can now be excited about what’s next for us even while we miss the way our church used to be (221).”
I was surprised that in the midst of all his suggestions, Shaw never offers up prayer or seeking unity through the Holy Spirit in the face of generational challenges. Shaw gives his readers a good basis for understanding the distinctives of each generation - this is relevant even if I do not agree with all of his recommendations.
I highly recommend this book for all generations, but especially the Boomers and GenX'ers who are still trying to figure out how to work with Millennials. I first saw this Millennial Generation in Europe a few years ago and have been researching them and how to work with them for years now. Haydn takes a lot of research and synthesizes it into a readable and practical volume which will serve church, and business, leaders well in working with five generations. Read it now. Don't wait while wringing your hands about what to do with the upcoming generations. Reflect on what Haydn says, then let God lead you as you incorporate the next generations into the church.
I highly recommend it