Generasionele Navorsing: Millenials en GenZ

Die eerste ‘n paar statistieke oor hoekom ons anders moet dink oor Generasie Z as vorige generasies. Die tweede oor hoe om die nuwe generasie te lei vanuit The Proximity Principle gegrond op die werk van Ken Coleman. En laastens algemene inligting oor die nuwe generasie(s) aan die hand van die Barna Foundation se nuutste navorsing.

Eerstens ‘n paar rigtinggewende statistieke:
  1. Generasie Z gaan die mees diverse generasie tot op hede wees.
    1. In Noord Amerika gaan die meerderheid van die bevolking nie-blank generasie Z wees. Wat waarskynlik ook waar gaan wees vir Suid-Afrika, gegewe Suid-Afrika se rasse verspreiding.
    2. Generasie Z gaan ‘n meerderheid van minderhede wees.
  2. Generasie Z gaan meer geskool en minder ervare wees as enige generasie tot op hede.
    1. Die eerste keer wat die gemiddelde Generasie Z persoon gaan leer hoe werk gebeur is rondom die ouderdom van 22jaar.
  3. Generasie Z gaan die eensaamste generasie in die geskiedenis, tot op hede, wees. En waarskynlik die eensaamste generasie in wêreldgeskiedenis, vanweë die globale impak van die internet.
Tweedens hoe om leiding te gee aan die nuwe generasie aan die hand van die Proximity Principle van Ken Coleman:

Die Proximity Principle: Om te kan weet wat jy moet doen, moet jy rondom die mense wees wat besig is om dit te doen en in plekke waar dit besig is om te gebeur.

Nou wat is dit? Wel, jy vra raad oor Generasie Z so as ons die beginsels invul sal dit kan lees soos volg: Om te kan weet wat jy moet doen om Generasie Z te bereik/bedien, moet jy rondom Generasie Z wees, in plekke wees waar Generasie Z graag leer, oefen, werk, groei en ontspan.

John Maxwell vul Coleman aan wanneer hy praat van die law of the zipcode(postal code): Maxwell meen dat jy alles wat jy nodig het om ‘n bediening te begin reeds rondom jou teenwoordig is.

Om terug te keer na Ken Coleman kan daar ook gepraat word van ‘n Proximity Mindset. Met ‘n ingesteldheid oor wat reeds rondom jou aan die gebeur is en wat jy moontlik op die been wil bring is drie beginsels belangrik.

  1. Ken jou rol.
    1. Hierin is dit belangrik om duidelikheid te hê oor wie wat doen. Daar moet duidelik gekommunikeer word oor wie wat doen en oor dit wat gedoen word.
  2. Aanvaar jou rol.
    1. Dit is noodsaaklik om jou te bepaal by jou rol en nie iemand anders se rol te wil oorneem/bestuur nie. Aanvaar verantwoordelikheid vir jou rol, en moet nie ander se rolle kritiseer of verkleineer nie. Elkeen het ‘n rol te speel in die plan.
  3. Staan jou rol vol.
    1. Die rol wat jy gekry het in die groter plan moet jy ten volle omarm en die skoene volstaan. Moet nie die rol halfhartig neem nie, of iemand anders se rol wil inneem nie. Jou rol is met rede aan jou toegeken of jy het met bepaalde sterkpunte die rol geëien.

Duidelikheid (1) skep ruimte vir selfvertroue (2) om te groei en te floreer (3).

Wanneer daar na Coleman se Proximity Principle gekyk word sal ‘n gemeente besef dat hulle reeds alles in hulle midde het om ‘n goeie bediening aan (en deur) Generasie Z te begin en uit te bou sodat dit ‘n volhoubare bedieningsveld kan raak. Wat belangrik is, is om werklik jou konteks/omgewing se Generasie Z te ontmoet, en nie met jou persepsies oor ‘n generiese generasie Z te werk nie.

Laastens deel ek graag navorsing aan die hand van die Barna Foundation se nuutste bevindinge oor die gekonnekteerde generasie.

Die gekonnekteerde generasie voel die impak van breë en globale tendense (lees internet en sosiale media) in hul lewens meer as wat hulle geliefd en geondersteun voel deur mense naby aan hulle. Eensaamheid is besig om die nuwe generasie te verander. Slegs 32% van Millennials sê dat hulle iemand het wat in hulle glo.

Die nuwe generasie is ‘n onsekere generasie:

  • 1/5 lei aan angsversteurings.
  • Onderwys en loopbane word geprioritiseer.
  • Toestelle (lees selfone) is besig om hulle te leer wie hulle is.

‘n Paar beginsels vir ‘n bediening in ‘n angstige tyd:

  1. Handhaaf ‘n teenwoordigheid van vrede. Kommunikeer vrede. Handhaaf die teenwoordigheid van Jesus.
  2. Wees ‘n interpreteerder vir mense. Onderskei. Bied perspektief.
  3. Belê in geleefde gemeenskap, want die digitale ruimte is nie ‘n beliggaamde plek nie.

Druk wat jong volwassenes in die gesig staar:

  • ‘n Soeke na identiteit: Wie is ek, regtig?
  • Om angs te veg: Hoe moet ek in vandag se wêreld leef?
  • Ervaring van eensaamheid: Is ek geliefd?
  • Om ambisie te benut: Wat is my doel in die lewe?
  • ‘n Gevoel van geregtigheid: Wat maak meer as myself saak?

Die tipiese 15-23jarige het 2767ure screentime waarvan slegs 153 ure gebruik word vir spirituele inhoud. Dit beteken slegs 5.5% van screentime tyd word aan spirituele inhoud spandeer.

Van die 18-29jariges wat in Suid-Afrikaanse kerke groot geword het is:

  • 5% Prodigals (eks-Christene)
  • 14% Nomands (ongekerktes)
  • 49% Gewoonte kerkgangers
  • 33% Veerkragtige dissipels

Van die 18-29jariges wat wêreldwyd in kerke groot geword het is:

  • 22% Prodigals (eks-Christene)
  • 30% Nomand (ongekerktes)
  • 38% Gewoonte kerkgangers
  • 10% Veerkragtige dissipels

Hieruit kan gesien word dat gewoonte kerkgangers ‘n groot persentasie van Suid-Afrika se bevolking uitmaak. ‘n Verblydende statistiek is die aantal veerkragtige dissipels, hierdie getal is heelwat meer as die wêreld tendens. Daar moet egter nie rus daarin gevind word nie, maar eerder daarop gekapitaliseer word met die wete dat globale tendense Suid-Afrika al vinniger begin inhaal as gevolg van die internet en sosiale media.

Daarom sal dit wys wees om die veerkragtige dissipels so gou moontlik te ontmoet en in te span in ‘n bediening of ‘n alternatiewe bediening te skep vir en deur jong volwassenes.

Ester en Daniel is goeie voorbeelde vanuit ons tradisie om na te gaan kyk vir leidrade na die toekoms.

Vir iemand om hom/haarself as ‘n veerkragtige dissipel te beskryf is die volgende 5 beginsels gewoonlik belangrik:

  1. Om intimiteit met Jesus te ervaar.
  2. Om die kultuur verantwoordelik te kan onderskei.
  3. Betekenisvolle, intergenerasionele verhoudings.
  4. Om die nodige hulpmiddels en tegnieke te ken om hul beroep op ‘n Christelike manier te kan beoefen.
  5. Om deel te neem aan kontra-kulturele missionale aktiwiteite.

As daar nie vandag alreeds ruimte gemaak word vir jong leierskap nie, sal hulle nie meer more teenwoordig wees om ‘n verandering te maak nie. Die gekonnekteerde generasie wil nie slegs verbruikers van geloof wees nie, maar wil ‘n aktiewe bydrae maak tot die geloofslewe van ‘n intergenerasionele gemeenskap.

Wanneer daar deur leiers met visie na die gekonnekteerde generasie gekyk word is die volgende belangrik om ‘n veerkragtige dissipel toe te rus en in staat te stel om selfstandig in gemeenskap te floreer.

  • Werf (Werf jong volwassenes vir die toekoms)
  • Oplei (Lei jong volwassenes op vir die toekoms)
  • Laat gaan (Laat gaan jong volwassenes om ‘n impak te maak in die toekoms)
  • Monitor (Monitor jong volwassenes soos hul besig is om ‘n impak in die toekoms te maak.)

 

Vir meer inligting gaan kyk gerus na:

(2017) Tim Elmore: Marching Off the Map: Inspire Student to Navigate a Brand New World.

(2019) Tim Elmore, Andrew McPeak: Generation Z Unfiltered: Facing Nine Hidden Challenges of the Most Anxious Population.

(2019) Ken Coleman: The Proximity Principle: The Proven Strategy That Will Lead to a Career You Love.

(2019) David Kinnaman, Mark Matlock, et al.: Faith for Exiles: 5 Ways for a New Generation to Follow Jesus in Digital Babylon.

www.theconnectedgeneration.com

5 Reasons Millennials are Drawn to Mainline Churches

Don’t assume your church doesn’t have anything to offer the Millennial generation, says Andrew Ponder Williams. He outlines five ways that mainline churches are distinctively called and gifted to connect with younger generations and offers tips on how your church can maximize these advantages.

I consistently encounter the presumption in congregations of all sizes that Millennials don’t like mainline churches. I believe this assumption arises from a deep fear that our local churches don’t have anything to offer my generation. The truth is that Millennials desire and actively seek intergenerational, welcoming communities of faith. I know from firsthand experience with ministries across mainline traditions that our congregations have a lot to offer younger people.

Here are five reasons why mainline churches are distinctively called to minister with Millennials and tips for how your church can better connect with this generation.

1. We share our faith authentically.

Our consumer culture has hijacked the word authentic to describe guacamole, toilet bowel cleaners, and everything in between. The term has lost a lot of its impact and we have become immune to its true meaning.

True authenticity is something that forms within us when we are centered with God and with our neighbors. Authenticity requires vulnerability with God and with each other.

TIP: Millennials are a generation seeking authenticity. In other words, local churches should not pretend to be something that they aren’t. For example, if your church is small then don’t pretend to be big. Authentically embracing who you are as a community of faith will draw others to you.

2. We are rooted in traditions.

Please disregard everything you have been told about how your traditional church has nothing to offer young people. God has equipped you to minister to Millennials through the traditions you share and the relationships you offer. In a world that changes every five minutes, my generation understands that for something to last hundreds of years it must be pretty special.

Furthermore, traditional has gone from meaning “old” to meaning “mystical.” We Millennials grew up on stories of a young wizard named Harry Potter who escaped a locked closet under the stairs, came of age in a giant gothic castle, and was shaped by much older professors and mentors. The Harry Potter Effect, as I call it, has shaped our minds to see gothic spaces as places of great intrigue and even opportunity. It explains, in part, why Millennials are more open to traditional expressions of faith than you might think.

TIP: Embrace and showcase your traditions through creative and meaningful worship. Invoke a sense of the sacred in worship through candles, hymns, and don’t try to overly modernize your worship space.

3. We give generously.

The clearest conclusion about the Millennial generation is that we are generous in our giving to and support of impactful nonprofits. Mainline faith traditions are well positioned to engage Millennials because of our commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of all God’s children through missions and service. The most generous generation in history is the perfect match for the most generous churches in the world.

TIP: This is one area of ministry where it is okay to not be humble. Be bold in sharing your commitment to missions and the impact on the lives of others. Invite young people in your congregation to lead your church in its mission and service.

4. We live purposefully.

I learned from an experience with a former campus ministry student that the thoughtful theology of the mainline gives young people the opportunity to develop a distinct purpose for their lives. Our group had spent the day exploring Yosemite National Park only to discover it was too crowded to see much of anything. We took a back road away from the crowd and discovered an incredible mountain vista where we prayed.

This student shared that her day at Yosemite was like her experience with our mainline campus ministry. Her point was that most people travel just to the most famous spot within a park or destination, take a selfie, and miss the richness of what lies off the beaten path. She believed that most students at her school were joining campus ministries that narrowed their perspectives instead of helping them discover their distinct purposes.

TIP: Make mentorship a core function of your ministry whether your church has one young adult to guide or hundreds. Mentorship leads to meaningful relationships and spiritual growth for the mentor and the mentee.

5. We are based in grace.

Our theological emphasis on grace has always been especially inspiring and is more important than ever in this time of division. The grace God has for us and the grace we have for each other is something we are called to share widely. Mainline traditions emphasis grace in distinct and transformative ways. Our belief in God’s commitment to perpetual love and forgiveness for us all is something truly distinct and comforting.

TIP: Practice a life of grace inside and outside the walls of your church. Seize this opportunity to model grace for our divided society and for my generation. Embracing grace will distinguish your church as a nurturing intergenerational community of faith.

*this article first appeared on churchleadership.com

Future Faith: Challenge Two: Embracing the Color of the Future

In the previous post about Future Faith I discussed the first challenge of revitalizing withering congregations. I discussed the question of whether churches will be locked into a parochial story of their gradual demise or liberated by a global story that is bringing new life into its midst from unexpected places.

Today I am discussing the second challenge of embracing the color of the future.

It seems to be the case that when people talk about the “Nones” they are talking mostly about whites. Just go to one of Portland’s fabulous downtown coffee shops such as Floyd’s, Barista, or Spella Caffe on a Sunday morning and look at who’s sipping a latte instead of singing in church. They’re mostly young, hip, urban, and white.

Pockets of growth and vitality among many different denominational groups are being driven by nonwhite believers.

Those in mainline Protestant churches steadily declined in number, from forty-one million in 2007 to thirty-six million in 2014 according to the Pew study. But during that same period, the percentage of nonwhites among those denominations increased from 9 percent to 14 percent *.

Decades earlier, the Reformed Church of America had established distinct racial-ethnic councils. Later, they committed themselves to antiracism training, instituted a new Commission on Race and Ethnicity, held summit meetings on “building a multiracial future,” and increased the racial diversity of their staff. Then, for the first time in their recent history, they adopted a new confession of faith.

The Belhar Confession came as a gift from the church in South Africa, born out of the struggle against apartheid, and declared that racial reconciliation, unity, and justice were essential dimensions of Christian faith.

Denominations across the US religious landscape must embrace a multiracial future, with all the changes in power and participation that this necessitates, or they will dwindle as self-protective white minorities.

White Protestants are in decline. From 1991 to 2014, their total number decreased by 33 percent *. At the same time, nonwhite racial-ethnic groups are becoming places of growth as well as fresh religious vitality within the changing US religious landscape.

Consider this: Among all those in the United States who are sixty-five or older today, nearly two-thirds are either white Protestants, white Catholics, or white evangelicals. But among those who are eighteen to twenty-nine, white believers make up only 28 percent of that total group *.

The commitment to challenge existing patterns of thought and structure, and to reconfigure the understanding of faith in a postmodern and post-Christian context, resonates deeply with millennials, as well as many others in the broader Christian world.

One of the issues frequently discussed about the emerging church movement is the extent of its racial diversity, or lack thereof. It’s a question that its own thought leaders have directly engaged. In some ways, we’re drawn back to the basic question about the “Nones”—how much is this a largely white phenomenon, and to what extent are efforts responding to this reality centered only in the progressive, white Christian community?

The above mentioned paragraph made me wonder if we as a predominantly white reformed church in Southern Africa, the Dutch Reformed Church, should focus on the white majority or shift focus to those that are non-white that have not heard the gospel, or does not have a place of refuge, of worship? Or, should it be an either-or-argument, or rather an and-and-argument? How can a predominantly white church focus on the marginalised without losing its current members? Maybe just doing the Gospel?

The other emerging reality in the US religious landscape that often has gone unnoticed is the growth of multiracial congregations.

In 2008 only 350,000 congregations in the US, only about 7 percent met that definition of being multiracial. But in recent years, Michael O. Emerson, one of the leading authors and researchers of multiracial congregations, has documented a marked increase in such congregations to 13.7 percent of US congregations.

Middle Collegiate Church vision reaches to a multiracial future. Long embodying that reality, for the past decade Middle and its lead pastor, Rev. Jacqui Lewis, have hosted an annual conference bringing together pastors and practitioners working in multiracial contexts and advocating for justice.

Public schools are found to be six times more diverse than the average US congregation. As long as such disparities persist, a younger generation, in particular, will find it unnatural to participate in churches preaching a message of reconciliation and love with a membership far less racially diverse than the schools they attended.

Central to the story of the Pentecost in Acts 2 and the early church, crossing the cultural and racial boundaries between Jew and Greek, producing congregations such as the one in Antioch with dramatic racial and cultural diversity reflected in its leadership (see Acts 13:1–2).

David Roozen’s study, “American Congregations 2015: Thriving and Surviving,” One striking finding was this: multiethnic congregations showed more spiritual vitality than their primarily white counterparts. Here’s what the study said: Racial/ethnic congregations remain more energized than congregations in which a majority of its members are white whether looking at vitality or attendance growth *. This important empirical observation shouldn’t lead to simplistic conclusions, denying, for instance, the evident spirituality and vitality found in any number of primarily white and growing congregations. Findings like these are always matters of percentages and degrees. In this case, for instance, 43.3 percent of multiethnic congregations were found to have high vitality, contrasted to 24 percent of majority white congregations. Further, 53.6 percent of multiethnic congregations showed growth in attendance, compared to 29 percent of the mostly white congregations that have long predominated in the US religious landscape. Those percentages are almost 2 to 1 contrasts, revealing a significant difference.

So, what is the color of America’s religious future?

  • Clearly, white will no longer be dominant.
  • Statistically, places of growth that are occurring within established denominations across the board in the United States—Catholic, evangelical, Pentecostal, and mainline Protestant—are being driven decisively by emerging nonwhite groups.
  • Spiritually, multi ethnic expressions of the church, increasing in number and influence, are more likely to exhibit vitality and growth.

The North American church must embrace the changing color of its future with a decisive shift in its dynamics of power or face a life as a dwindling white minority clinging to places of protective refuge.

discussion guide

  • What is a “None”? Do you know any? How has your faith community talked about the “Nones”?
  • Why does the author suggest that denominations and faith communities focus on being more multiracially diverse and aware?
  • What strategies or examples of racial diversity did the author provide? In what ways do these examples help or encourage your own faith community to become more racially diverse?
  • What is your reaction to the author’s statement that “the North American church must embrace the changing color of its future with its decisive shift in its dynamics of power”? If you agree with the statement, what might that mean for your faith community now and in the future?
  • What more do you want to learn or do based on reading this chapter of the book?

 

For more on this, please support the author and buy his book at Amazon or Fortress Press. I do not receive any compensation for this summary.