Who Is Generation Z?

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Church Juice provides congregations with free resources, articles, and opportunities for training and consulting on church communications. Church Juice is a ministry of Back to God Ministries International, the media mission of the CRCNA.

There’s been a little buzz lately about the next, next generation. Researchers are calling them Generation Z, although we’ll see if the name sticks. As many churches learned the hard way with the millennial generation, communication to and with each generation needs to be tailored. How we communicate with Gen Z will need to look different than how we interact with Baby Boomers, or even millennials. So who is Gen Z? And how do we communicate with them?

Who is Generation Z?

Generation Z, as defined by Barna, are children and teenagers who were born between 1999 and 2015. Look at that again. Feel like we’re behind the ball? We’re already 3 years beyond Generation Z, yet we’re just now starting to look at this generation. It’s time we start preparing for how to communicate to these young people as they begin to enter adulthood. Gen Z is also the largest American generation yet, with a population of 65-70 million people.

So what makes this generation distinctive and how do those distinctive affect how we communicate with them? Let’s look at 3 distinctives from Barna’s research.

Half of Gen Z is Non-White

If your church is filled with middle-aged, white people, your communication strategy is likely optimized for this demographic (whether consciously or unconsciously). Your congregation may very well reflect the current adult-aged population of the surrounding community, however, this likely won’t be the case in 10 or 15 years since about half of Gen Z is non-white. Many churches believe diversity is something to be welcomed and celebrated (Rev. 7:9), but diversity in the church is rarely something that happens without intentionality and commitment. Have you reviewed your communication strategy with the issue of diversity in mind?

Gen Z Values Community

Generation Z values community. However, they are twice as likely as older generations to say they’re lonely. So make community a value in your church. And think about how you can reach young people with your message of hospitality.

Gen Z is “Post-Christian”

This generation is far less-churched than previous generations. Experts report that the worldview of Gen Z is post-Christian. Only 4% of Gen Zers have a biblical worldview. Instead of placing their identity in Christianity or religion at all, this young generation is highly motivated by future goals. Generation Z seems to be finding their identity in their educational pursuits and performance.

Generation Z may be “post-Christian” and have very little connection to or history with the Church, but that means the Church really has a blank slate. It’s time for our churches to get strategic about how we can adjust our messaging to engage and communicate with this next generation.

How We Communicate

The method we use to deliver communication needs to be different as this next generation enters college, work, and adult life. I don’t just mean being on Facebook—what we’re saying needs to be different too. What can your church do to reach this next generation? Join me for a live webinar on April 18 at 2pm ET as we discuss how to communicate with Generation Z.

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