What if Mick Jagger checked out your church? Would boomers like him fit in? If not, now what? Posted on January 24, 2020January 24, 2020 by Peter Meadows It may seem odd to use Mick Jagger as an example of someone who might check out your church. But I need to pick on someone of his baby boomer era to make my point. It could equally be a Michaela as a Mick. And any of old rubber lips’ fans would fit the bill. In fact, anyone in the age bracket between mid-60s and mid-70s. Who grew up in the 60s. Never waltzed. And feels more comfortable in denim than anything else. Right now, picture one of them checking out churches, landing on the website of yours, and asking ‘where would I fit in?’ Their quest is not for a show, or a party or dry ice and lasers. But just for a setting where they’d feel comfortable. Perhaps something you have flagged as being for ‘seniors’? But perhaps not. ‘Traditional’ is never going to float their boat. Attractive as it might be for those a decade older, it’s ‘thanks but no thanks’. Perhaps the ‘all-age family worship’? Well your website visitor is ‘all-age’, and does have a family – but it’s long fled the nest. Should they put a toe in the water? But can you picture a Michaela or Mick – or anyone of their boomer culture – throwing themselves with relish into My Lighthouse together with all the actions? Can you? Really? But there’s still that evening event geared for youth – who else in their right mind would figure 6.30 on a Sunday as a suitable time to do anything other than get ready to eat? But there it is. Casual, friendly, contemporary – and stacked out with teens and 20s and very few of M and M’s age they could relate to. Does it really matter that nothing seems to fit? After all, aren’t the urgent needs to reach the young and care for those who can hardly remember when they were? Of course. But should this be at the expense of neglecting the over 9 million contemporaries of Michaela and Mick? That’s right. Over 9 million. With few of them finding a home in our churches – perhaps including yours. Yet ought not these boomers to be on the minds and hearts of our churches? This generation is the last to have heard the Bible’s stories in Sunday School, and to have experienced an act of Christian worship at school each morning. This means they know the Bible’s stories in a way those coming up behind them simply don’t. No wonder it was this generation, and Mick’s mates Webber and Rice, that gave us Joseph’s Technicolour Dream Coat and Jesus Christ Superstar. What can be done? What MUST be done? Perhaps it was with this segment in mind that an American church turned their Christmas nativity into a Beatles rock opera. Their ‘Let it Be Christmas’ celebrated the Gospel ‘according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, George, and Ringo’. Mixing well-known carols, Scripture and the music of the Beatles, it invited people to a ‘magical mystery tour through the Gospels to tell the greatest story of all time, with the greatest music of all time’. The creators discovered the songs were a perfect fit with there being no need to mess with the lyrics. Ideal was Here Comes the Sun. And not least was the moment Joseph responded to Mary’s news with an upbeat ‘We Can Work it Out’. What boomer Tom, Dick, Harry, Michaela or Mick would not be open to that? The answer is something of a no-brainer. Yet there’s no need to go into that kind of overdrive in order to respond to the spiritual needs of such a neglected and underserved segment of your community. All it takes is for a small group – even two or three – to start praying and looking for appropriate ways to engage with unchurched Boomers. And then to do something about it, however small. Push the door and see if it opens. You will never know until you try. You may even find yourself to be a ground breaker – giving ideas and inspiration to others – because precious little on this front seems to be being done at the moment. As you pray you might seek answers to questions like – Who do we know already who belong to this group of people? How could we get to know them better and build friendships? What issues are they facing and how are they dealing with them? Meaning to life? Disappointment? Loss of status or health? The need for adventure? And many more. What openings might recreation offer – walking football, badminton, tenpin bowling, etc? Is there a way to do Alpha that matches their lifestyle? How can we offer them the opposite of the fake news they have come to hate? Whatever you come up with, aim to keep it small, friendly, and relevant. Even a small book group or a pub night is better than nothing. And everything has to start somewhere. Of course, there is still the bigger picture – the limitations of what your church may offer at the moment in the context of its worship and teaching. I wonder if there is a clue in that the Let it Be Nativity had its genesis in an advent sermon series that used a different Beatles song title each week. Whatever, any kind of response is going to take some courage. But at least the issue should be on the church leadership’s to-do list. Want to explore this subject more? Then see the AfterWorkNet blog on How Come Everyone is Interested in the Saga Generation Other Than the Churches. And check out Chris Harrington’s book Reaching the Saga Generation, (Grove Books). What insights or questions do you have about reaching those retired and active? Please share them here or on the AfterWorkNet Facebook community Peter Meadows Peter is AfterWorkNet’s Programme Director. He’s using his retirement to help churches, resource inter-church initiatives, enjoy his eight grandchildren, escape to Spain and to spend his kids’ inheritance.