Louisville—While many in student ministry are still focusing the majority of their attention on the generation known as millennials, the new generation, Generation Z (those born between 2000 and 2018), are the ones filling high schools and youth groups, John Adams, Kentucky Baptist Convention’s Louisville regional campus missionary, shared in a session at Super Saturday on Sept. 16.
But in order to reach this unique generation of young people, “we need to understand them,” Adams said.
They are viewed as both disconnected and driven, lazy and passionate, delusional and diverse, he said, taking descriptions from the audience in an open discussion-type setting.
This generation is steeped in technology because they have never known a world without it. “Eminem and LL Cool J could show up at parent’s weekend. Press pound on the phone is now translated as hit hashtag,” Adams quipped, putting the generation into perspective. Their lives are governed by “FOMO” or fear of missing out, as evidenced by their social media usage, and their life paradigm is “I’m coping and hoping.”
This generation comprises 25 percent of the population and thus cannot be overlooked, Adams stresses.
But “what should the church do knowing this?” he asked.
“The church should have no fear while creating authentic community,” Adams said. “They should cultivate authentic leadership and they should engage them where they are.”
Youth leaders need to be reaching out in ways that this generation feels comfortable. They must be embracing technology instead of making it the enemy.
“You have to engage them in multiple formats. You’ve got to get to know them,” he said.
He encouraged those in attendance to get started by using the acrostic “LIFE.”
Look—up, in and out
Focus—move toward goal/resource/planning
“Think outside the box. You don’t have to buy every new box that comes out. Think about these things,” Adams shared. (WR)