Preaching to the Builder Generation

Preaching to the Builder Generation

In the last post we began considering what it means to preach to the various generations that exist in your church.  In this post I will combine what is usually called the Builder Generation (born between 1901 and 1925) and what is usually called the Silent Generation (those born before 1945).  We will explore the specific characteristics of preaching to the Builder Generation in your church, or those born before 1945.

Who Is the Builder Generation?

The statistics that I have access to on the generations reflect life in the United States.  You may have to find the data available for your country.  The descriptions that I make of this group may not be entirely accurate for your country.

In the United States, the Builder, or Silent generation comprises 5.76% of the population.   Since most of the people of this generation grew up going to church, and have continued to do so until physically unable, you likely have some in your congregation.

Things to Keep in Mind For Preaching to the Builders

My mother-in-law died last year at the age of 96.  She represents for me the Builder Generation.  Here are some generalizations of people from this generation that she shared with them.


  • Deep loyalty.  My mother-in-law gave faithfully to her church and her

    Phyllis Boonstra

    denomination, even when she didn’t agree with everything they were doing.  She shopped at the same gas station and grocery store.  She patronized businesses owned by people in her church.  And she attended church as long as she could, even when her home church was dying, and numbers were diminishing.


  • Trust leadership.  The builder generation has a deep trust in leadership.  They lived through things like the Depression of the 1930’s, as well as World War II.  They saw

    Franklin Roosevelt

    the impact of the 60’s and 70’s. They supported national leadership during all of these changes.  (By the way, they tend to be politically conservative).

Patient With Change

  • They have seen enough change to be patient.   I think of one man I visited from the church I served in California who was in his 80’s.  We were changing worship and structure to better reach our community, and I thought he might be concerned about decisions being made by the elders of the church.  He reminded me that he had lived through the controversy of the “common cup” communion style years before, as well as several other things that had created conflict among church members.  At his age, he reminded me, he really didn’t get excited about that stuff anymore.

Want Application in Preaching

  • According to a study done by Darrell Hall (Speaking Across Generations), the Builder generation likes preaching that they find applicable to their lives.  In fact, in the survey that he did of builders,
    • 60% said they like preaching  when “I find it applicable to my life”
    • 36% said they like preaching that helps them understand a Bible passage better.
    • 28% said they like preaching that helps them feel a personal connection to God.
  • They are, generally speaking, people who consider themselves “Christian”. They are somewhat alarmed by the decline in church attendance in the United States, because they committed to Christian Values, and one of those was to attend church.  In a 2011 study by George Barna, 7 out of 10 said that they had been to a regular church service in the past six months.

So these are things to keep in mind as you think about preaching to the builder generation people in your church.

So, focus on application in your sermons, or, in other words, make the sermon practical, and you will be preaching to the builder generation in your church.