Understanding Gen Z: See Their Perspective

Born between 1995 and 2012, at 72.8 million strong, Gen Zers are making their presence known. It is the generation that is now collectively under the age of 25. They’re radically different from the Millennials, yet no one seems to have been talking much about them until recently.

While there has been a great deal of conversation about “fixing” the Millennial generation, we are in danger of missing the next generation as they step into the workplace – and leadership roles at our churches.

As a group, on one hand they have been notorious about dropping out from your church. On they other hand, they make up a significant part of both your ministry participants and prospects.

They are also beginning to step into very visible leadership roles in your church.

So what does Gen Z look like, and what does that mean for your church?

The Quick Summary – James Emery White, Meet Generation Z

Move over Boomers, Xers, and Millennials; there’s a new generation–making up more than 25 percent of the US population–that represents a seismic cultural shift. Born approximately between 1993 and 2012, Generation Z is the first truly post-Christian generation, and they are poised to challenge every church to rethink its role in light of a rapidly changing culture.

From the award-winning author of The Rise of the Nones comes this enlightening introduction to the youngest generation. James Emery White explains who this generation is, how it came to be, and the impact it is likely to have on the nation and the faith. Then he reintroduces us to the ancient countercultural model of the early church, arguing that this is the model Christian leaders must adopt and adapt if we are to reach members of Generation Z with the gospel. He helps readers rethink evangelistic and apologetic methods, cultivate a culture of invitation, and communicate with this connected generation where they are.

Pastors, ministry leaders, youth workers, and parents will find this an essential and hopeful resource.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Research from various sources confirms that younger generations, especially Gen Z, are interested in spiritual matters – it’s just religion they are rejecting.

In beautiful and surprising ways, Gen Zers are searching for God on earth, not some trendy program your church has to offer. In effect, your challenge is not just to reach a younger generation, but instead to create a more fuller expression of Jesus lived out in your church.

The most defining characteristic of Generation Z is that it is arguably the first generation in the West (certainly in the U.S.) that will have been raised in a post-Christian context. As a result, it is the first post-Christian generation.

Perhaps the most defining mark of members of Generation Z, in terms of their spiritual lives, is their spiritual illiteracy. This is, of course, the defining mark of the post-Christian world. They do not know what the Bible says. They do now know the basics of Christian belief or theology. They do not know what the cross is about. They do not know what it means to worship. But their spiritual illiteracy is deeper than that. They are more than post-Christian. They don’t even have a memory of the gospel.

We have to become cultural missionaries and act according to that identity. I think we all know what a good missionary would do if dropped into the darkest recesses of the Amazon basin to reach an unreached people group. They would learn the language, try to understand the customs and rituals, and work to translate the Scriptures, particularly the message of the gospel, into the indigenous language. When it comes to worship, they would incorporate the musical styles and instruments of the people. They might even attempt to dress more like them. In short, they would try to build every cultural bridge they could into the world of that unreached people group in order to bring Christ to bear.

James Emery White, Meet Generation Z

A NEXT STEP

Author James Emery White poses some excellent questions for you to consider as you contemplate reaching Gen Z. Take time in your next team meeting to review the questions below.

Why is it that what would be so natural, so obvious, so clear to do so in the missiological setting described above is so resisted in the West?

Do you or does your church approach your community with a truly missiological mindset, the same way you would if you were in a new country?

What’s the average age of staff members and attenders at your church? Are you comfortable with that? If not, what can you do this year to start changing that?

We live in a world that is more open than ever to spiritual things. Not defined religion, but spirituality in general. How do you see this manifested in the world? What might it mean for the church and its mission to reach people?

Every generation must translate the gospel into its unique setting without transforming the message itself. If an average non-attender from Generation Z were to sit in your service this Sunday, would the experience make any sense to them? If not, how can you work to translate elements of the service so that the service connects with them without compromising the truth it contains?

When it comes to outreach in your church, are you honestly willing to do whatever it takes to reach the next generation? Are you willing to lose those who can’t see that it’s not about them?

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 70-2, released July 2017.


 

This is part of a weekly series posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders.

SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; each solution is taken from a different book. Additionally, a practical action step is included with each solution.

As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS Remix provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

>> Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Understanding GenZ: Know Their Personality

How can you be more effective about reaching and leading the generation after the Millennials?

Born between 1995 and 2012, at 72.8 million strong, Gen Zers are making their presence known. It is the generation that is now collectively under the age of 25. They’re radically different from the Millennials, yet no one seems to have been talking much about them until recently.

While there has been a great deal of conversation about “fixing” the Millennial generation, we are in danger of missing the next generation as they step into the workplace – and leadership roles at our churches.

As a group, on one hand they have been notorious about dropping out from your church. On they other hand, they make up a significant part of both your ministry participants and prospects.

They are also beginning to step into very visible leadership roles in your church.

So what does Gen Z look like, and what does that mean for your church?

THE QUICK SUMMARY – David Stillman and Jonah Stillman, Gen Z @ Work

A generations expert and author of When Generations Collide and The M-Factor teams up with his 17-year-old son to introduce the next influential demographic group to join the workforce—Generation Z—in this essential study, the first on the subject.

Based on the first national studies of Gen Z’s workplace attitudes; interviews with hundreds of CEOs, celebrities, and thought leaders on generational issues; cutting-edge case studies; and insights from Gen Zers themselves, Gen Z @ Work offers the knowledge today’s leaders need to get ahead of the next gaps in the workplace and how best to recruit, retain, motivate, and manage Gen Zers. Ahead of the curve, Gen Z @ Work is the first comprehensive, serious look at what the next generation of workers looks like, and what that means for the rest of us.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

In order to begin to understand Gen Z, you first need to put them into perspective with the rest of the population at large:

Then, there is the conundrum of what to call them. Words matter, and once attached, are hard to change. Each of the generations prior to Gen Z were named, and for various reasons, Gen Z seems to be the one most favored.

But don’t be mistaken – Gen Z is not a “label” to be applied to the millions of individuals born between 1995 and 2012, all with very unique differences. It’s a name – but it represents some very interesting characteristics.

A new generation is starting to hit our workforce, yet no one seems to be talking about it. Until now.

In order to pioneer a dialogue about what they will be like in the workplace, here are seven key traits of Gen Z

Phigital: Gen Z is the first generation born into a world where every physical aspect (people and places) has a digital equivalent.

Hyper-Custom: Gen Z has always worked hard at identifying and customizing their own brand for the world to know. Their ability to customize everything has created an expectation that there is an intimate understanding of their behaviors and desires.

Realistic: Growing up during the aftermath of 9/11, with terrorism part of everyday life, as well as living through a severe recession early on, has created a very pragmatic mindset when it comes to planning and preparing for the future.

FOMO: Gen Z suffers from an intense fear of missing out on anything. The good news is that they will stay on top of all trends and competition. The bad news is that Gen Z will always worry that they aren’t moving ahead fast enough and in the right direction.

Weconomists: From Uber to Airbnb, Gen Z has only known a world with a shared economy. Gen Z will push the workplace to break down internal and external silos to leverage the collective in new convenient and cost-effective ways.

DIY: Gen Z is the do-it-yourself generation. Having grown up on YouTube, which can teach them how to do just about anything, Gen Z believes that they can do just about anything themselves.

Driven: With parents who drilled into them that participation is not a real reward and that there are winners and losers, a recession that pulled the rug out from their predecessors, and a rate of change that is hard to keep up with, it is no wonder that Gen Z is one driven generation.

David Stillman and Jonah Stillman, Gen Z @ Work

A NEXT STEP

If you want to know more about Gen Z in your church, start at the source. Even with the wide range of ages, it would be informative to sit down with a group of Gen Zers and have a dialogue with them:

  • What do they like to do with free time?
  • Who is their favorite celebrity?
  • What kind of music and entertainment do they regularly listen to?
  • What brands do they like the best?
  • What apps do they use most on their phones?
  • What colleges do they want to go to, if at all?
  • What is most important to them right now?

Another goldmine of information on Gen Zers? Teachers! Take a few teachers out to lunch and ask them:

  • What do they see happening with this generation, as they become young adults and leaders in the world?
  • What were their biggest struggles in working with Gen Z?
  • What gaps do they see in current societal needs that Gen Zers may struggle with?
  • For those teachers who have been around awhile, what were the biggest differences between Gen Z and Millennials (born 1980-1994)?

Finally, take a look at the list of seven traits above. Which is most important to you in terms of ministry with Gen Z? Share that with your team and encourage them to be on the lookout for Gen Zers who have this trait, and how it can be used in your churches ministry.

On the flip side, take a look at the list again, looking for the least important trait. Recognizing that it may be important to others, dialogue with your team how this trait can be strengthened with the Gen Zers you minister with.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix #70-1, released July 2017.


 

This is part of a weekly series posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders.

SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; each solution is taken from a different book. Additionally, a practical action step is included with each solution.

As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS Remix provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

>> Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Mind The Gap: Bringing Generations to Lead Together

If you’ve tried to lead employees who are under the age of 40, you’ve probably noticed things aren’t as easy as they used to be. (And they were actually never that easy.)

If you’re under 40 and are working for an over-40 boss, you’re probably restraining your eye-rolls as you notice that people just don’t seem to understand you.

Younger leaders tend to love flexibility, the freedom to work remotely when they want,  the ability to call some shots and the ability to develop a side-hustle, all of which seems to either baffle or frustration older leaders.

Many (not all, but many) older leaders would rather see team members have one job (no side-hustle), do their work from the office, be available after hours just in case, and earn a seat at the table before they give much input. And they don’t get the lack of loyalty that they feel a lot of younger adults display.

All of which frustrates younger leaders.

I run into this tension every time I talk to leaders about how the workplace is changing.

Over-40 leaders are smart to study how things are changing so they stay relevant. After all, the gap between how quickly you change and how quickly things change is called irrelevance.

Younger leaders are smart to understand the tension because it will make for far less frustration on their part, and help them advance in the organizations they’re a part of.

I’m an over-fifty leader who’s worked in offices in business and church, in a hybrid environment where some work is remote and some is done in an office, and now run a 100% virtual company that handles my speaking, writing and podcasting. In addition, almost all of my team members these days are pretty much Millennials or Generation Z.

Here are five things I’ve noticed about a changing workplace, and how older and younger leaders can get along better at work.

1. The Idea Of An Office Gets More Dated Every Year

Every once in awhile you have this moments when you realize how rapidly culture is changing.

A few years ago I was driving through Dallas and saw some office towers going up, and I thought to myself “I’ll bet one day our kids and grandkids drive by office towers and say ‘Did people actually used to have to go to a building to get their work done? Why?’ (Kind of like the Blockbuster days, when you had to go to a store to get a movie on a disk to watch it, and get hit with late fees if you failed to return it on time.)

One of the reasons offices used to make sense for everyone a generation ago is because the means of production were stored at the office. Your company held the typewriters, meeting spaces, computers, paper, pens, phones, copiers, fax machines and all the things private citizens didn’t usually have. There was a clear line between work life and home life.

Now there’s a very good chance you’re holding almost everything you need to do your job in your hand. Plus your phone, tablet and laptop travel with you everywhere. What about meeting spaces, you ask.  Well, between coffee shops, co-working spaces and restaurants, the need for offices has plummeted.

Older leaders still think about ‘going to work’ because that’s how they cut their teeth.

Younger leaders realize you don’t go to work; the work goes to them because they are the work. As a result, they love to work remotely at least some of the time—from home, from a coffee shop.

Older leaders often see this as lazy. Younger leaders see this as normal.

As Bryan Miles has pointed out about virtual culture on my leadership podcast, remote workers aren’t lazy; lazy workers are lazy.

If you have a lazy worker…deal with it. But often remote work can be far more efficient. There are fewer water cooler conversations, fewer random and useless meetings, fewer interruptions and less distraction.

So does that means offices are gone forever?

No. In a hybrid company that allows some remote work, core hours are a great idea where everyone is in the office, say, on a set day or in a set window to improve team interaction or for meetings. But beyond that, an office isn’t nearly as necessary as it used to be.

2. 8-4 Doesn’t Make Sense Anymore

One of the challenges is that office work took its early cues from manufacturing.

It make total sense if you have a car assembly plant (or a coffee shop, or a retail store) to have workers show up exactly on time for a shift. Because offices at one time owned the means of production (see above) it kind of made sense to the same thing.

But where most of the work is relational, informational and flexible (i.e. almost all white collar office jobs), 8-4 no longer makes sense. After all, unless you’re on the reception desk or doing some kind of work tied to fix hours, you can do most things any time.

Yet far too many older leaders are stuck in a mindset that people have to be in the building at set hours.

As a result, too many people show up at 8 (or 8:05 or 8:15) for no particular reason. It can create a clock-watching culture (is it 4:30 yet? Do I get paid for this lunch???) where your team is in a set place for no discernible rationale.

So here’s the question for leaders: are you paying your team to show up or are you paying your team to produce?

If you’re paying your team to show up, that’s one thing.

But if you pay them to produce, outside of fixed meetings and shared team time, why not let them choose how and when to produce?

Here’s what’s changed: The old economy paid people to show up. The new economy pays people to produce.

As I share in my productivity course,  The High Impact Leader, some of your team’s best productivity might happen when no one’s in the office or working. So why stifle that and make them show up because someone decided that’s when they should work?

3. Most Young Workers Work For Themselves

While they may not articulate it, most Millennials approach life as though they are working for themselves, not for you, whether you hire them as employees or on contract.  (We’ll see about Gen Z. I wonder if this trend will accelerate even more.)

Sure, that might sound strange, but hang on and try to get into their head space for a minute.

First, any younger leader realizes they will likely NOT work for the same organization for 40 years and retire. Not only are the pension plans of the 60s and 70s long gone, but the workforce changes so quickly that most younger leaders expect to have multiple careers throughout their life, not just multiple jobs in different organizations.

Second, thanks to technology, the start-up culture is huge. Many leaders realize they can start things far easier than people could a generation a year ago. You can influence the world through your keyboard, your phone or a microphone. It used to cost millions to launch something. Now you can launch something on a Saturday morning for the price of a phone.

Third, we live (rightly or wrongly) in an era of personal branding. Couples have logos and fonts. And almost everyone wants to express their style through fashion, design, photography or lifestyle

What this means is that most Millennials has subconsciously realized they have to create a life plan that’s independent of any employer or organization.

This isn’t fatal to any organization once you understand it.

What it means though, as a leader, manager or boss, is that you need to come alongside them and help them realize their objectives.

If you see those life objectives as competing with your objectives, you’ll lose them. If they see that you want them to win, they’ll hang around a long time.

Here’s the bottom line with young leaders: If you help Millennials win, you’ll both win. If you merely want them to help you win, you’ll lose.

4. The Side-Hustle And Gig Economy Are Here To Stay

So you hire a young worker only to find out he or she has a design business on the side, or that they’re writing a book or launching a podcast or starting a blog.

What do you do?

Are they being disloyal? Do you rope them in and tell them to give you 100% of their time?

Well, a few things.

First, you don’t own 100% of anyone. Any leader who tries to micro-manage the entire lives of their employees won’t have employees for long. You’re really only managing 25% of any full time employee’s life anyway (40ish hours of 168 hours).

Controlling bosses in the future will have less and less to control all the time.

Second, the side-hustle is here to stay because the gig economy (freelancing) is here to stay.

63% of free-lancers today say they started by choice, not by necessity.

By 2027, the gig economy will be over 50% of the economy.

The majority of Millennials are already freelancers. (Source: Forbes.)

So to think you’re going to have a work force that has one job and stays with you forever really puts you back in 1965.

Brian Houston, founder of Hillsong, has some incredible insights on how to keep young and talented leaders over the long haul. Hillsong has done an exceptional job of keeping great talent and giving them freedom to express themselves in their lives and in their leadership.

His advice? If you want eagles, raise the ceiling.

5. The Cause Is More Compelling Than You Are

Older bosses need to realize that most young leaders really do want to work. They just want meaningful work.

You know the stereotype: Millennials want to change the world and believe they can do it.

Again, before you roll your eyes, remember (older leaders), you raised them to have values like these. And some of them are doing it. So cut the cynicism.

What this means though is that your mission is more important than ever.

Leaders who want to preserve the institution, pad the bottom line, or simply grow the organization will always struggle to attract and keep young leaders.

For the church, this should be easy. If you’re truly mission-driven (you want to reach people or impact your community), your ethos has an instant appeal to younger adults. Just keep the mission central.

If you’re in business, profit won’t be nearly the motivator that cause is. If you don’t know what your cause is, figure it out.

Similarly, you might think of yourself as a great leader people want to work with (actually, that’s usually a sign you’re not a great leader), but I promise you Millennials aren’t that impressed with you.

The best way to attract and keep young leaders is to work withthem to accomplish a greater purpose.

Leaders, if the mission isn’t bigger than you, you need a new mission.

So…Older Leaders And Younger Leaders: Some Tips

This sounds like a bit of a show down but I promise you it doesn’t have to be.

For older leaders the most important shift to make is to manage outcomes, not process. Don’t value leaders for showing up. Value them for what they contribute.

Don’t tell them how to get it done, just hold them accountable for getting it done.

Leaders who manage the what and why and flex on the how will have a bright future.

The old paradigm told people to be at their desks and sit up straight. The new paradigm says ‘value me for what I contribute.”

Leaders who manage outcomes and rally people toward a higher mission will always have a steady supply of young leaders lining up to work with them. I share some additional insights about working with Millennials in this post.

What about younger workers?

Well, first of all, flexibility by your boss is not permission to be lazy. Hustle hard, but produce.

Second, gain influence by being ridiculously great at what you do. If you want to know how to gain influence when you’re not in charge, check out this interview with Clay Scroggins.

What Do You See?

What are the frustrations you experience as a younger or older leader?

> Read more from Carey.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is lead pastor of Connexus Community Church and author of the best selling books, Leading Change Without Losing It and Parenting Beyond Your Capacity. Carey speaks to North American and global church leaders about change, leadership, and parenting.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Reaching the 20Somethings

Quick: Who are you trying to reach?

Please don’t say “everyone.” If you are crafting a strategy to reach “everyone,” you are virtually guaranteed to reach “no one.” Think of light. Light that is diffused does very little in terms of penetration. Focus it through a magnifying glass and you can set something on fire. Focus it into a laser and you can cut through sheet metal.

So let’s get focused on who we are trying to reach for maximum impact.

First, if we really are talking about outreach, then you are not after the already convinced. So let’s rule them out. Let’s rule out the de-churched, too. Sure, they should be in a church, but they are already believers.

Let’s be hardcore.

Which means we’re talking about the unchurched unbeliever. The raw meat for evangelism. The testosterone for the mission. The person far from God. The one who doesn’t give much thought, if any, to Jesus, to heaven and hell, and certainly not to a church.

But we’re still not done.

Who is the average person in this category?

A 26-year-old. Yes, 26. Right now in the United States, 26-year-olds are the largest single cohort, numbering 4.8 million. And just in case you want to know, 25-, 27- and 24-year-olds follow close behind (in that order).

They live on the cusp of many of life’s most defining moments: choosing a career, buying a house and having children.

But there is a challenge.

They need remedial education in… well… almost everything. Take a cue from the marketplace, which is, as usual, ahead of the church on such matters. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, “The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. has started offering gardening lessons for young homeowners that cover basic tips – really, really basic – like making sure sunlight can reach plants.”

Jim King, senior vice president of corporate affairs for Scotts, said: “These are simple things we wouldn’t have really thought to do or needed to do 15 to 20 years ago. But this is a group who may not have grown up putting their hands in the dirt growing their vegetable garden in mom and dad’s backyard.”

This shouldn’t be a surprise for a generation with “over-scheduled childhoods, tech-dependent lifestyles and delayed adulthood.” They are so different, in fact, “that companies are developing new products, overhauling marketing and launching educational programs—all with the goal of luring the archetypal 26-year-old.”

So companies such as Scotts, Home Depot Inc., Proctor & Gamble Co., Williams-Sonoma Inc’s West Elm and the Sherwin-Williams Co. “are hosting classes and online tutorials to teach such basic skills as how to mow the lawn, use a tape measure, mop a floor, hammer a nail and pick a paint color.”

In other words, they need the education before they can even begin to consider a purchasing decision.

Or even a purchasing need.

I hope you smell the application coming.

If you want to reach a 26-year-old unchurched unbeliever, you will need to go remedial. The heart of evangelism, and the apologetics that softens the ground for evangelism, will have to pay fresh attention to explanation.

For example, we did a series titled, “How to Bible.” As in, how to read it, how to apply it and how to believe it. Right now we are in a series called “Thru the Bible in 7 Weeks.” It’s an overview of all the big themes and ideas of the Bible, including introductions to all 66 books. In today’s climate, it’s critical to offer the most basic of introductions to the identity and nature of Jesus, Trinity, grace, prayer and sin. Beyond theology, when it comes to a relationship with God, there needs to be practical attention paid to such practices as prayer, worship and community.

Remember, you are trying to reach a 26-year-old who needs remedial education on all things in life, and this includes the spiritual.

Give it to them.

And then watch how your newly focused outreach to the unchurched actually starts reaching them.

Read more from James Emery White.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James Emery White

James Emery White

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. He is the founder of Serious Times and this blog was originally posted at his website www.churchandculture.org.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Recognizing Generation iY in Your Church: Ready or Not, Here They Come!

Millions of high school and college students have just graduated nationwide. Today’s grads are part of the Millennial Generation. They represent the second half of this generation, and I call them Generation iY, because they grew up influenced by the “i” world, iPods, iTunes, iPhones, iChat, iPads…you get the point.

These grads from Generation iY (the kids born since 1990) are now job hunting. Business media is inspecting them like scouts hunt gifted athletes. About 10,000 of these kids turn 21 every day. Their generation is 80 million strong and growing. Their presence in the workplace is already causing a splash because they are…well, different. While the media describes them as “entitled” or as MTV’s “no collar workforce,” I think if we understand them, we can make the most of their gifts. Based on stats from Pew and Mediapost.com, let me de-code them a bit below.

1. They appear “choosy” or picky…but they want work to have meaning.

These students are primed to “give it their all” but only if they find jobs that offer meaning, mentors and merit. They want their job to matter, they want to grow and they love being “heard” by supervisors even though they’re young and have no experience. The desire to make a difference is a core Millennial trait.

2. Their work ethic appears low…but they want to connect socially.

The average adolescent is disconnected from others only one hour a day, out of 24 hours. They sleep and often shower with their cell phone. The quest for meaningful work and relationships seem odd to elder employers. “Loving what I do” outranked a big salary or a bonus, according to Pew Research. 89% agree it’s important to be “constantly growing at my job.”
71% want coworkers to be like a second family.

3. They want to belong…before they believe or behave.

To understand the “cart” and the “horse” in a Gen iY kid’s life, it’s important to know that they’ll work till midnight on work projects, but only if they’ve been given a sense of “ownership” and have been listened to by colleagues. 50% of them would rather have no job, than have a job they hate. 95% are motivated to work hard if they know where their work is heading. We will get the conduct we want if we first connect the mundane task they perform with the big picture.

4. They appear to be cocky…but they believe they offer something valuable.

Raised by “peer-ants,” (parents are like peers), they’ve always had a say. 76% of them believe “my boss could learn a lot from me.”
65% say “I should be mentoring older coworkers when it comes to tech and getting things done.”
This doesn’t mean they don’t think they have a lot to learn from a boss. It’s a sense that learning is a two-way street, regardless of seniority.

5. They want to apply themselves…but they don’t separate work from play.

In one study of Baby boomers and Millennials, they were asked to anonymously send postcards in which they explained what it would take for a
company to get them to do the best work possible. A typical Boomer response was: “Give me my objectives and get out of my way.” A typical Millennial response: “I need flexibility, respect… and snacks.” According to Generation iY, work should be fun.

6. They appear to be insubordinate…but they just want to create their job.

These conforming non-conformists are a paradox. They want to invent their job, then add value. 66% of them agree they want to invent their own position at work. 60% agree “if I can’t find a job I like, I will try and figure out a way to create my own job.” 83% of Generation iY is “looking for a job where my creativity is valued.”

7. They appear to be different…but actually want to be part of the big picture.

A full 70% of Millennials say they need “me time” at work, almost twice as many as Baby boomers.
93% said they want to be themselves, yet they do want to blend and be part of something bigger than themselves. 75% of Gen iY want a mentor, or as one participant said “I don’t so much want a boss; more of a Yoda.” Bottom line? If we will invest in them—they will invest in the work and furnish a huge ROI.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Elmore

Tim Elmore

Tim Elmore is the founder and president of Growing Leaders. His latest book Habitudes for the Journey is designed to master the art of navigating life’s critical transitions.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
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comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
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