Pursuing the Next Generation Part Two


by Brian Eno/ December 16, 2019

I’ve learned in the church world we easily become captivated by the products, services and programs we offer, and forget these are not an end in themselves—only a means to an end. We must remember methods come and go; but the mission always stays the same.

 

Did you know 44 percent of those under age 35 identify as "Nones"? “Nones” are people who self-identify as atheists, agnostics, or mark “none of the above” on religious surveys. As I wrote last month, we only have a short window of time to pursue the next generation. To best pursue them, we must first understand them, and then be willing to rethink our methods, but never our mission.

 

Last week I unpacked three of the four words I like to use to describe the next generation. Those four words are: Experiential, Participatory, Community, Informational. This time I would like to write about the final word, Informational. This one might be the most critical one of all. Why? Because Millennials and Generation (Gen) Z have grown up in a world filled with information. They’re the most formally-educated generations in history, and with more education and information, comes more doubts and higher anxiety.

 

Informational 

 

  1. Technology – We must be willing to embrace technology, because it is not going away. It’s their world! To them it’s like air and water—a necessity.

     

  2. Doubts – We must not ignore their genuine questions of faith. The church must be a safe place for them to address doubts and ask difficult questions.

     

    Many Millennials and Gen Z would say, “I know what the Bible says.” Yet they have never actually read the Bible. Instead, they simply: Google or Ask Siri. Not only are they biblically illiterate, they are biblically misinformed. Studies have shown more than 50 percent of people who have left the faith, say the reason they left was because they simply didn't believe anymore. We’re not living in a non-Christian culture but a post-Christian culture, a culture which has rejected Christianity.

     

  3. Scheduling – Because of the 24/7 information age, this is an anxious generation. The church should help lower their anxiety by rethinking the church calendar, schedules, and programs.

 

Millennials and Gen Z desperately need to meet the One who said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, NLT).

 

Let’s never forget—every new generation is an unreached generation. May we always be willing to rethink our methods but never our mission, as we pursue the next generation.