Millennials, Generation Y, and Generation Z are some terms used in association with people born from the mid 80’s to the current day. As these generations begin to take more of a role in society today, the church as a whole has struggled to reach and keep these groups. Research has shown that almost 60% of Millennials are leaving the church. Most likely, that number will be similar or even get worse with Generation Z if we do not understand the problem and make changes.
Reasons for this trend are hard to pinpoint, but some are clear. More than a third of Millennials and Generation Z do not believe church is important partly because they can find God and ways “to grow” elsewhere. Part of that has to do with the fact that 99% of Millennials are connected to the internet. As Generation Z grows, the same will be true for them. The amount of Christian or “Spiritual” content on the internet is unprecedented. This leads many young people to think that they can grow apart from the church. Obviously, throwing blame at the internet, social media, or mobile devices is not going to change anything. Real change must happen in the church and in the lives of people. But how do we help the next generation realize the importance of the body of Christ in their spiritual lives?
- Treat these believers as “brothers” and “sisters” in Christ. In 1 Timothy 5:1-2, Paul tells Timothy not to rebuke an “older man” but encourage him. As well, he also tells Timothy to treat younger men as brothers and younger women as sisters. Most believe these “younger” men and women begin at age 12. When a young person, even a teenager makes a claim to be a Christian, we should treat them as a brother or sister in Christ. We deal with them gently and encourage them to continue growing in Christ. Show them brotherly love! Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
- Build a personal relationship with the younger generation. Learn their names, find their interests, talk to them, and pray for them. This takes work, but relationships help us stay connected to the local church. The younger generation craves fellowship; be someone that shows them genuine fellowship. Your wisdom will never be passed on if you don’t build relationships with the next generation. Start learning their names today!
Millennials (Generation Y): 1980-2000. Generation Z: 2000-Present day. http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/03/here-is-when-each-generation-begins-and-ends-according-to-facts/359589/
Tad Wychopen is the Assistant Pastor at Faith Baptist Church. He leads the Thrive youth group and helps at Faith Christian Academy. His four boys keep him and his wife Hannah busy with new adventures each day. As a South Texas native, he enjoys the outdoors, local food, and the Cowboys.