Happy Old Man With Coffee

Three Keys to Understanding How Boomers Give

Article Type: Pastor to Pastor

Baby Boomers are used to making a splash.

Since the end of World War II, they’ve been the demographic version of a tsunami. From maternity wards to social security, Baby Boomers have literally flooded and then washed through institutions and systems.

They cannot be missed.

By the year 2030, all Boomers will have reached at least the age of 65. From then on, the largest generation in U.S. history will be officially retired and their accompanying wealth will begin to transfer to the next generation and beyond.

Will any of this wealth land with your church?

That could depend on how well you understand the Boomer generation.

Boomers live in the shadow of both the Builder and Silent generations. Those generations are credited with building today’s infrastructure for much of today’s living. A tremendous feat in its own right, but even more impressive when you consider it was done out of sheer grit and determination.

How to follow an act like this? Boomers punted by engineering the greatest counter-cultural revolution ever – the 1960’s!

Like I said, Boomers always get noticed.

But don’t mistake Boomers for slackers. They’re not. Boomers are builders too, just on their own terms. Their parents built out of necessity. This meant no detail was left to chance and relationships took a back seat to the work.

Boomers build because they want to build. This means inspiration matters more than perspiration. Yes, building takes hard work but what’s the point if it doesn’t deepen human connection and experience?

And as for risk, Boomers get it but don’t need to calculate every variable before beginning to build. Once they see the bigger picture of what’s being built and how it will make a difference, they’re all in.

Even basic insights like these can provide clues about how Boomers will transfer their wealth. Game-changing ministries that are innovative and forward-facing are far more likely to receive a gift from their wills than ministries that aren’t.

With this in mind, here are three key considerations for those who are cooking up big ideas for their church’s future ministry…

  • The oldest Boomers are in their 70s, and many of them are serious about having a plan in place for their wealth. During the next decade, decisions about how their wealth will be transferred will be finalized.
  • By definition, vision must be compelling. But painting an inspiring picture of future ministry for your church is even more critical when it comes to Boomers. In the words of famed architect Daniel Burnham, “Make no small plans!”
  • Boomers have their own takes on threats facing today’s church. If you aren’t doing this already, begin asking them about how opportunities could be culled from these threats.

Considerations like these are only a beginning when it comes to preparing for the greatest generational transfer of wealth in world history. If you want practical tools and resources, check out Your Trusted Ministry Partner from Barnabas Foundation.

We already know Boomers are going to keep making waves well beyond the lifetime of their generation. The only question is whether your church’s ministry will feel them?


Barnabas Foundation is proud to be your partner in promoting financial literacy and generous giving at your church. To learn more call 888.448.3040 ext. 118 or at Info@BarnabasFoundation.com.

Rev. Phillip Leo is the Church Communications Director at Barnabas Foundation. Read Phil's online bio.