“Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue” (1 Corinthians 14:19 ESV)
If you didn’t get every word in the title, that’s ok. Languages evolve, and we need to keep current. When we don’t, it’s as if we’re ‘speaking in tongues’. The result? Poor communication.
Your ministry needs to speak in a language your parishioners understand so that they will be able to benefit from your instruction. So, as the opening quote says, what is the language of ‘your mind’?
In the case of Generation Z, it is your digital platform.
Generation Z? Digital platform?
Writer Darrel Girardier has explained the connection.
First of all, Generation Z (Gen Z) are people born between 1995-2009. As you can see from a 1995 episode of the TV show, Computer Chronicles, the Internet was already quite advanced. For example, people could already:
As a result, Gen Z was born into and has been growing up in a digital age. They have no concept of a world WITHOUT the Internet or digital devices. That’s why Girardier describes them as the “first truly digitally-native generation”.
In other words, Gen Z “speaks” digital.
Does your ministry? If not, you might as well be speaking to them in tongues.
So, how can your ministry speak digital?
Gen Z has about an 8-second attention span. If it hasn’t captivated them during that time, they are off to something else.
This also means that the traditional ‘sermon on the Mount’ may not be for them. Gen Z prefers collaborative learning situations instead of lectures.
Gen Z has become used to viewing multiple screens simultaneously. They can handle up to five at a time. (Yes, we know that this may not always translate to effectiveness but keep reading to see why this does not matter as much and why we need to rethink the way they are included).
Gen Z is motivated by passion. They want to believe in something as opposed to joining a “name”. As a result, they are more likely to commit to a cause than an organization.
Gen Z has learned that hierarchy and bureaucracy aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be completely trusted. This lesson came from:
Gen Z expects people and organizations to be on the Internet, especially social media. No Facebook page? Not on Instagram? Can’t find you on YouTube? Then you probably have something to hide and aren’t an organization to be trusted.
Popular ‘froyo’ shops such as Cups, Let’s Yo, and Yogurtland are well-known from their variety of frozen yogurt flavors AND the amazing assortment of available toppings. They are perfect for Gen Z who is turning out to be the most diverse generation to-date.
If we made a digital presence checklist for your ministry, it might look something like this:
All this may be a big step for your ministry. It’s worth your time and energy: ¼ of the U.S. population is Gen Z.
And it’s a young quarter. At the moment, Gen Z ages range from 8-22. These are the youth which your ministry needs to attract to the Word.
Fortunately, there’s lots of help available … and a lot of it is free. For example, by following digital experts like Darrel Girardier or Jason Caston or you can begin learning about how to build a digital strategy for your ministry from our website. We even offer you a free eBook which clearly explains exactly what you need to do. The ebook framework allows you to adapt to any demographic.
What about your ministry?
What tips can you share about how you’ve been speaking to your Gen Z’s?