One of the most common arguments against introducing contemporary design and new technology into churches, ministries and nonprofits is what I call “The Senior Myth.” That’s the idea that seniors aren’t tech savvy, don’t like contemporary music or design, and generally aren’t interested in current culture. And since they are the biggest donors and supporters of many of these organizations, we don’t want to rock the boat by “hipping things up.”
For decades, I’ve fought the Senior Myth – in fact, it’s easily one of the most frustrating challenges I’ve faced as a media consultant. But over and over I’ve proved the theory wrong, and now, Pew Research agrees.
In a recent study, Pew Research revealed that while seniors adopt technology at lower rates than the general public, they are more digitally connected than ever. In other words, they may not be the earliest adopters, but they love technology far more than we think.
I don’t have hard data, but many tech leaders have told me that seniors are their fastest growing market. After all, keep in mind that even seniors in their 70’s and 80’s are part of the rock and roll generation. So after a lifetime of The Grateful Dead, The Stones, and The Allman Brothers, do you really think that new worship leader or an amazing new website is going to freak them out?
I remember setting up my elderly father’s email account. Once he got it, he pounced. I started getting 6-8 emails from him a day. It’s a great example of how seniors embrace technology.
The lesson? Don’t let nervous members of your leadership team fight against more contemporary design and new technology because they think the older audience will pack up and leave. Nothing could be further from the truth, and more research is proving it.