We need different methods for reaching those over 40 and under 40.

How should generational dynamics affect evangelistic methods? Or we could put it this way: “How is reaching people over the age of 40 different from reaching those under 40?”

This is a tricky issue. We must first recognize that the categories are nuanced. Generally, generations are divided up into many categories such as Builders, Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z. But let’s simplify and just think about the dividing line being above 40 and below 40 years of age. Let me share three points that I believe are helpful.

First, we must understand the whole idea and evolution of tolerance in the American culture. Those over 40 are much more willing to say, “There’s only one way, and if you can convince me that there is that one way, then I might be persuadable.” These folks tend to view Christianity more favorably as a whole as well, creating a bit more openness than those who are below 40.

When you dip below 40, there is a perception that not only is there not one way, but to think there is one way is intolerant and unhelpful. This posture is expressed in a number of ways. In particular, this is where a movement toward pluralism and universalism is rooted.

Those over the age of 40 tend to ask themselves, “Is it right?” while those who fall below that line lean toward the question, “Is it fair?” Fairness has been bent to mean that everyone’s way and truth is valid. Therefore, the exclusivity of the gospel of Jesus Christ is offensive.

Second, there is a distinct difference in how the two groups prefer to be engaged. Reaching folks over 40 is perhaps more effective in a large group setting with a high level of anonymity. This includes things like evangelistic …

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