Forget millennials. How will churches reach Generation Z?

Source: Religion News Service

By | 23 hours ago 

For the last decade, church experts have been wrestling over the best ways to reach and retain “millennials,” which is a phrase the describes individuals born from the early 1980s through the mid-1990s. Data shows that many millennials leave the church during their college years, and some never return. The fastest growing religious identifier among this generation is “spiritual but not religious.”

But as millennials age, get married, and start families, they are no longer the only “young people” that churches must consider. A new cohort has risen: “Generation Z” or individuals born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s. Generation Z diverges from millennials in many ways and presents unique challenges and opportunities for churches who hope to capture their attention.

For this reason, I decided to speak with Pastor James Emery White about his new book, “Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World.” Here we discuss what sets these young people apart from their elders and what he believes it means for modern ministry, evangelism, and apologetics.

JEW: During my studies at Oxford, I was introduced to the writings of a Catholic historian named Christopher Dawson. He had an intriguing thesis he introduced just after WWII that I have come to appreciate: that the history of the Christian church can be divided into segments of 300-400 years, and that each of these “ages” began — and then ended — in crisis. The nature of each crisis was the same: intense attack by new challenges, if not enemies, from within and from without the church. Apart from new spiritual determination and drive, the church would have lost the day. Dawson accounted for six such ages at the time of his writing. I believe we are now living at the start of another — a seventh age.

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