Who Are Today’s New Natives?

Marching Off the Map – Part 2

Generation Y and Z are two very different groups of people. They have been influenced by different societies and, therefore, view things diversely. Today we are pulling apart the differences between Y and Z to determine how we can educate each generation effectively.

What began in academic circles as Generation Y has now been broken down into two separate groupings; Generation Y and Generation Z. Y individuals are those deemed “millennials,” born between 1990 and 2010 and Z is the generation born after 9/11. Let’s compare the two.

Generation Y

  • Grew up in a strong economy with high self-esteem.
  • Watches YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix.
  • Worried about growing their status and “likes” on social media.

Generation Z

  • Growing up in a time of recession, terrorism, racial violence, volatility, and complexity.
  • Doesn’t want to be tracked so prefer Snapchat over Facebook because messages disappear.
  • Want to co-create, live stream and help make up the activity as they participate.
  • Worried about the economy and world ecology.

7 Shifts Between Generation Y and Z

Elmore discusses seven major shifts between Generation Y and Generation Z. Our challenge as pastors, parents, and educators is navigating these changes. Some of them are subtle while others are quite big. Regardless, it is vital that we as leaders make ourselves aware of them.

1. Confidence is morphing into caution.

People who grew up between 1990 and 2000 had very different childhoods than those who grew up between 2005 and 2015. The economy in the 90’s was expanding whereas the past ten years have been marked with economic recession. The headlines have been constantly filled with terrorism and racial unrest since the fateful day of 9/11, nevermind the increase in gender confusion and other social debates.

2. Idealism is morphing into pragmatism.

Ten years ago, it was reportedly easy for Generation Y to get what they wanted. Today, money is a bit tighter and there’s been an increase in multi-generational households. Many are forced to think practically and ahead, and optimism has shifted to cynicism.

3. From aggressively pursuing further education to hacking one.

Generation Z watched Generation Y become paralyzed with student loans and debt. So, instead of applying to multiple universities in search of a liberal art education, Generation Z has started to combine university classes with online certificates and real-world experience.

4. Spending money is morphing into saving money.

Generation Y has been known to spend money boldly and with few boundaries. In contrast, Generation Z’s reality is forcing them to think ahead and prepare. This isn’t necessarily bad though; it could help them in the future.

5. Consuming media is shifting to creating media.

Today, young teens prefer to create media posts as opposed to only consuming them. They desire interactive experiences where they can actually participate in their content’s outcome.

6. Viral messages on social media are becoming vanishing messages.

Younger kids have witnessed the downsides of being tracked on social media by their parent’s, teachers and future employers, now preferring messaging that evaporates, like Snapchat.

7. Standard text messages have now become icon messages.

Kids now choose to send emojis in place of words. They have strong filters and want content to be shared and understood rapidly.

Elmore’s Suggestions for Connecting with Generation Z

Elmore suggests seven things we should do to connect with this upcoming generation. Here are a few that stood out to me.

  1. Keep it short. – Remember, Generation Z has a very short attention span. While they are capable of paying attention for long periods of time, the key is to engage them within 6-8 seconds.
  2. Feed their curiosity. – They want to discover new content and pass it on. So, we need to build a hunger for interesting facts and relay why the information is important to know.
  3. Give them ownership. – Students support what they help create. They’ll value something they’ve discovered more than what’s given to them without their effort.
  4. Offer them a cause. – Most kids want to do something important. They want to be a part of something meaningful, not hypothetical.

The deeper we dig into Elmore’s book, the deeper we want to go in reaching this generation. This is not a “next year” thing nor a change in our vision, it’s a reality check. Our move forward begins with our commitment. Why? Because the church is the hope of the world, and for every generation, we are on a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

Episode Resources

If you are interested in diving deeper into Marching Off the Map, buy your own copy here! We highly recommend it.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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