I love this quote, “Our Youth are not only the future but God’s gift to the Church and society today.” With a group that numbers at nearly 2 billion strong around the world, they are every brand’s next best customer. One major challenge connecting with this group will be trying to break through the extreme digital clutter of their lives. Between SnapChats, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, finding a pathway through all that won’t be easy. However, even with all those barriers, as this next generation makes their mark on the world the church should be encouraged. Before we go much further, let me describe this group.
From an article From Intervarsity Press:
According to Greg Jao, “Generation Z is the population that grew up after 9/11. So the 9/11 reality of a world that’s filled with war and terrorism [and] collapsing economies has been the only reality they know.” Members of Generation Z are digital natives, Jao says. That means they have grown up in a world where they’ve always read from screens and always expect to.
“If this group of students, for example, didn’t grow up in an era of economic prosperity but have always been defined by the economy collapses…, what is the word of hope that we offer them? It’s not going to be the American Dream, and it’s not going to be just ‘find a good spouse and a good home and a good community and a good job.’ But they’re students who actually know that there’s real pain, real suffering, and real injustice in the world. And I believe that’s an entry point to the Gospel because the only solution to those issues is Jesus Christ working through the Church to transform our culture.”
Gen Z shares the entrepreneurial spirit of millennial innovators: About 72% of current high-schoolers want to own their own businesses, and 76% hope they can turn their hobbies into full-time jobs.
Armed with this information the question is “How do we engage this generation?”
- We have to connect Generation Z to God’s Word with powerful images, icons, and symbols.
“This is a generation that you cannot capture their attention merely by being gimmicky, by attempting to be trendy, or hoping for something to go viral. I think what will capture this generation’s attention is a true community, where they encounter real people and real conversation,” Greg Jao
In my previous post about Millennials and now this Generation Z there is a common theme. Both are seeking authenticity. They both are seeking real relationships, desire a real community, and engaged in real conversations. So the Church can pump the brakes on trendy, edgy marketing approaches that drove the church growth movement and get back to be real and relevant. We get to dig deeper into God’s word and allow that powerful, living Word of God to shape our discipleship, transform our minds and worship as Paul describes in Romans 12:2 “Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.”
What an amazing opportunity to connect with this new generation of leaders, who want authentic relationships. We offer them an authentic Savior in Jesus Christ.
- They have a realistic but not fatalistic view of the world.
This group understands that no matter what happens to this world, there is a greater power in control in, God. While other generations suffer from the distraction of seeking a nation, political figure or movement as their savior, not so with these young realists. They know that is not the case, this may be the factor that drives them back to church. Studies show they will be more faithful church-goers than the Millennials. However, before you get too excited, the partnership between knowing the reality of pain in this world while being immersed in a digital world creates a challenge for those trying to spread the Gospel.
Here is the landscape God is laying before us: these young people are your current youth groups students. The road ahead is challenging, but hopeful.
Next week look for the continuation of this series on Generation Z.