Some insights on Generations.
Builders – 1927-45
Creating better people by creating a better exterior world. Focus was on infrastructure and development, by building a better life we can make better people.
Boomers – 1946-64
Rejected the ideas of building and said change comes from inside. Movement away from the idea of building to inward focus on self. This is a massive post-war generation who have an inward focused mindset.
The Busters – 1965-79 (gen-x)
Typically angry, bitter and frustrated because of the boomer parents. Latch key kids and typically quite small as a market. Came in as a result of the pill, sometimes they are a surprise or accident. This is a relatively small generation sandwiched between Boomers and Millennial’s, very rarely catered to because of their size.
Millennial – 1980-1995 (gen-y)
Grew up in a wealthy environment with a generation dedicated shopping, media and marketing. This is the first generation with the participation awards. Massive generation similar size to Boomers. There is a deep sense of entitlement within this generation.
Digitals – 1995-2009 (gen-z)
These are the guys who grew up with the internet. They have grown up native to interactive environments. Cannot imagine a world without interactive technology.
Generation Alpha – 2010-25
They will probably work longer and be in school longer than any other generation. They will be one of the first generation that will earn less. They will have potentially 4 different careers in their lifetime. Potentially lost of only children or adopted brothers and sisters. Parents typically more educated and more financially secure.
Common Issues across generations…
Identity formation, sexuality and substance addiction are typically issues across the generation.
Identifying some generalizations across the generations.
Divorces has declined from 1980 from roughly 22% to roughly 17% in 2008.
Teen pregnancy has declined and so has abortions over the last 10 years.
Binge drinking is higher among 40 year olds than teenagers.
Sexual activity has declined among teenagers over the last 10 years. Roughly only 48% have reported sexual intercourse compared to 54% in 1991.
Sometime we know what is going on, and sometimes we don’t. Right now it is quite a healthy time to be a teenager. There are wiser and more transparent decisions going on among teenagers today. Digital landscapes allow us more transparency with students.
Innovation Acceptance Bell Curve.
Innovation acceptance in light of the church, where would you put the church? Where would you put the denomination. At one stage denominations would have to be innovators, Luther, Calvin are innovators. Very quickly denominations often move into the laggards as the ministry grows. Our keys in generational ministry is that time and opportunity are quite closely linked. Churches need to move away from laggards and back towards innovation.
Sometimes we don’t always get to pursue our dreams, because we live in terms of our circumstances. Whether we like it or not we have to respond in term of our circumstances. There are things within ministry that we want to pursue but we need to look at the environment and what impacts teenagers. Then we do ministry according to the environment and problems that students are dealing with.
1) New Tools.
We grow up in a generation of new tools. Social Media, Web 3.0. How does the new technology shape our ability to be present. We need to develop spiritual disciplines for our new tools. Technology allows us to publish communicate and transmit information instantly and globally. Churches need to think about how we innovate with new tools as well as construct safe boundaries.
Just like we have protections in our physical communities we need to have the same for online communities. Most cyber abuse happen from people that students know. It isn’t stranger danger, most child abductions happen by people that know the individual. Teaching students where to go for cyber abuse is very important.
Redefinition of Relationships…
We need to think about something new being created and developed. We need to walk alongside this connectivity and this new developing relationships. Depth Of relationship is still happening online.
2) Weak Chic…
Its cool to have problems. Our problems become a badge of status and identity. We follow people in a very different way. We can hold the tension of success with brokenness in people like Brittany Spears and Michael Jackson. We have a generation who can handle people who are both success and failure. What it has made is people who handle authenticity more than holiness. Some people aren’t willing to progress beyond authentic than the pursuit of holiness.
We have a generation of people whose life is constantly being documented. Asking community to deal with me, I am not willing to change. With online documentation a generation is realizing everyone has a past, and people are willing to deal with that.
Teens are open to deeper issues.
We can be more honest.
Tighter community. When we are able to share and be honest we can care for people more fully.
Spread of deeper problems. Students are still copycats like cutting, which is only a bigger problems in media savvy nations like Japan and the US.
Community is about acceptance. Glee is the example of that.
Lack of ability to guide towards Christlikeness groups. Groups like Anna and Mia groups for anorexia and bulimia where people celebrate the condition and develop a community of how to live in light of their issues. We need to push toward transformation in Christ.
Time is closely related to opportunity. We know that discipleship takes time. It requires the development of relationship, relationships require time and time is the scarcest of students resources.
Don’t waste students time. We need to use their time effectively. Are we just doing things that make us look busy?
Help them manage their time. They have pressure in their lives and we need to demonstrate it ourselves. The question of how we spend the 24hrs God has given us?
Sanctuary. Are we providing sanctuary, where they can find rest and be still. The ability to silent and sit still.
Develop the idea where we can remove pressure by allowing the students to get involved in activities that work within their schedule to grow spiritually. We need to develop a culture where we develop our gifting to engage the world.
Decreasing Plausibility of Christianity…
Two key question.
1) On whose authority? The ability for self promotion and marketing, who actually said I should believe this? Students are really responding to apologetics to help understand their faith. Reality truth does matter and Christianity is rational and reasonable.
2) Where is the power? Why does the church make any difference? The church should be different from what the rest of the world is doing. Does knowing Jesus really make a difference in the world. If we aren’t doing something earth shaking and revolutionary.
Students need to know that what they believe in is valuable and rational. In light of a “truth is relative” we need to work our ministry towards absolute truths, but from a educated well developed standpoint.
Separation of Church and Everything…
Opportunity for integration. Sexuality and homosexuality, talking into the value of purity and holiness in a much longer journey for sexuality. We aren’t communicating what people are as a whole within the realm of homosexuality and what is the pathway to dealing with this conversation in the presence of our church.
We are the church, neither red or blue, our agenda is outside of the earth Christians are purple. We are the cutting edge of life transformation not policy making. We have to think how we are relating to politics and innovating rather that joining the bandwagon.
The church needs to speak into people’s gifts skills and talents and how that integrates into the work force. We have a great opportunity to be career councillors. We have significant drop-off of people who think that value for ministry is only place on church sanctioned activities. We need to be equipping students in light of their daily interactions not just church.
There is a credibility problem with a lot of thinking students. Where are we learning and integrating ideas in light of the new narratives that are coming out. Developing well researched and though initiatives to show that there is an obvious connection between smart well thinking students and faith/science.