Let us start this discussion by clarifying what constitutes Generation Z and how they differ from Millennials: Generation Z are people born in the late ’90s and early 2000s. In comparison, Millennials were born in the 1980s and 1990s.
How Do Employers view them?
“These generational representatives will probably tell you that kids these days are nothing like their immediate elders. Where Millennials were searching for meaningful toil, Gen Z is money-minded. The former like working together; the latter believe it is every entry-level drone for themselves. Raised on participation trophies and gold stars, Millennials would rather focus on what they are good at; having seen how cutthroat the economy can be during the most recent downturn; Gen Z is more open to working on their faults. (Those bon mots come courtesy of the SmartTribes Institute, a leadership consultancy.)”
What is Generation Z’s view of religion?
Generation Zers in America have been home-schooled more than the last several generations, and most are close to their parents.
According to a Goldman Sachs study, they have more conservative ideas than the previous Generation X; and according to a Harvard Business Review study, nearly 70% were ‘self-employed (teaching piano lessons, selling goods on eBay, etc.).’
According to Dr. Joan Hope (editor of Dean & Provost), in her article, Get your campus ready for Generation Z (September 2016; The Successful Registrar, Volume 16), this generation started attending college in 2013.
The article reported that “Gen Zers’ participation in religion is up compared with previous generations. When asked about spirituality, 47 percent said they were religious, and 31 percent said they were spiritual but not religious. Church attendance is also up during young adulthood, with 41 percent saying they attend weekly religious services, compared with 18 percent of millennials at the same ages, 21 percent of Generation X, and 26 percent of baby boomers.”
But All is not Rosie.
This generation has grown up with a new cultural sense of normal. One study by Joan Hope pointed out a big spike in church attendance by Gen Z. It is too early in their development to see if this trend holds true long term. Studies also show that this will be the largest non-white generation in history in America.
With Hispanics as the fastest-growing group among Gen Z., It is all about fertility rates. Hispanic mothers have an average of 2.4 children, compared to black mothers (2.1) and Asian and white mothers (1.8), Tom Rainer points out. And due to this large number of non-white population growth, more Gen Z will be interracially married. Estimates that at least one in ten of this generation will marry across ethnic and racial lines.
The Social Challenges of this Generation.
Tom Rainer also states, “Homosexual marriage will be embraced as normative. But we cannot tell what percentage of Gen Z will be in a homosexual marriage. Two historic events have shaped Gen Z. Most were not born when 9/11 occurred, but their parents and others have made the event a part of their lives and insecurities. The second event, the Great Recession, is still a reality despite the uncertain financial strength of the nation. Gen Z parents, and thus, their children, still feel the impact of a weak jobs economy.”
This information paints a much more hopeful picture for the church, but it is not without its challenges. Generation Z is a highly tech-savvy generation growing up with the internet and Smartphones as a part of their existence. But unlike Millennials, they do tend to crave more personal contact. More to come on this; I just wanted to whet your appetite.