In the report referred to in the introduction above, pollster George Barna reports that, “The number of Busters (ages 20-38) who serve as senior pastors has doubled in just two years from about 22,000 to more than 45,000 (out of 324,000 Protestant senior pastors). Even more significant is their courage and creativity in charting new courses for the churches they lead. They are experimenting with communication methods, ministry priorities, education and many other aspects of their church-based work.”
Barna reports that these young pastors are much more open to experimentation than their “Boomer” predecessors.
“In a world where image is king and attention spans are declining, the research shows that young pastors are more likely to experiment with new approaches to teaching and preaching. Compared with older pastors, Buster pastors are more likely to use drama (32 percent to 21 percent); more likely to show movies, videos and DVDs (30 percent to 20 percent; and more likely to tell stories (28 percent to 13 percent).
The study also indicated young pastors more frequently use art, music and interactive dialogue as part of their efforts to communicate biblical truths. These multi-media and experience-laden forms of communication appeal to younger, often postmodern people, who tend to reject external sources of authority in favor of relying on their own experiences and feelings to interpret reality.
“Consequently, many of these young pastors also focus not just on communication techniques, but also on the communication environment. Some of these leaders even tinker with the lighting, with the look and feel of the room, with the seating and with relational interaction to create a setting that better facilitates their efforts to communicate.”
The Buster pastors are more comfortable with the term seeker-driven and are more likely to describe their churches as theologically conservative, but less likely to use the term fundamentalist.