I’ve have 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 to them self, only a means to an end. We must remember methods come and go; but the mission always stays the same.
Did you know 44% of those under 35 years of age 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. In order to best pursue them we must first understand them, and then be willing to rethink our methods, but never our mission.
Last month 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 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.
ReThink #4 – Because they are exposed to so much information; the church should rethink three important areas…
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 Zs would say, “I know all what the Bible says.” Yet they have never actually read the Bible. Rather they simply: Google or Ask Seri. Not only are they Biblically illiterate, they are Biblically misinformed. Studies have shown over 50% 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 Zs 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)
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.