Builders and boomers bridge

Builders and Boomers: a bridge from faithful tradition to contemporary choice

Around three quarters of the Builder generation faithfully continue traditional spiritual practices, such as regular times of prayer and personal Bible reading. 

Baby Boomers provide a generational bridge for churches to use contemporary music in worship- a style more likely to be valued by younger generations. 

Builder generation invests in private personal devotions

The Builder generation were born in 1945 or earlier and were aged over 70 years at the time of the 2016 NCLS. In 2016, around three quarters of Builders indicated that they spent time in private spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation and personal Bible reading, at least a few times a week.

Nearly six in ten (59%) Builders said they practised private devotional activities everyday or most days. This compared with 52% of Baby Boomers, 46% of Generation X, 36% of Generation Y and 27% of Generation Z. The younger the churchgoer, the less frequently they engaged in personal devotional activity.

Boomers value both traditional and contemporary music

Born from 1946-1961 the Baby Boomer generation were young adults during the turbulent 1960's. They provide a generational bridge for churches to use contemporary music in worship- a style more likely to be valued by younger generations. 

When asked to select up to three options from a list of 13 of aspects of their church that they most personally value, Boomers can be seen to value both traditional and contemporary music fairly evenly (24% chose traditional and 18% chose contemporary music). For other generations, the two styles of music create more of a clear divide.

Traditional music is valued much more highly by older generations, including 40% of Builders, and much less by youth and young adults (only 14% of Gen Z and Y). Conversely, contemporary music is highly valued amongst younger generations (30% of Gen Z and 26% of Gen Y) compared to just 9% of Builders. 

Authors:
Ruth Powell, Miriam Pepper, Kathy Jacka, Sam Sterland
Data Sources:

Powell, R., Pepper, M., Hancock, N. and Sterland, S. (2017) 2016 NCLS Attender Survey [Data file]. Sydney: NCLS Research. 

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