My four grandchildren are all part of the generation being born in America right now. Many people call this generation “Generation Z,” because the two previous generations have been known as Gen X (my daughters and their husbands are part of this generation) and Gen Y (also known as the Millennials).
These are children who have been born since 2001. The oldest of this generation is 15; the last of the generation will be born about 2020. They will be the largest generation in American history, larger than either the Baby Boomers or the Millennials.
I have an intense interest in this generation.
As you might expect, I am concerned for my grandchildren and for their future. I am also hopeful about what this generation might mean to America and the world.
I recently read an article by Thom Rainer of Lifeway Christian Resources which gives much of the following information.
What do we know about this generation?
First, the majority of this generation will be non-white, a first in American history. Hispanics are the fastest growing group in Gen Z, primarily because of the birth rate.
When I served as president of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, the convention voted to seek to better reach our state for Christ by seeking to reach the next generation and by reaching the ethnic population. Seeking to reach Gen Z accomplishes both goals.
Second, this generation has been shaped by two historic events–9/11 (which their parents have told them about) and the Great Recession.
Third, Gen Zers will be highly entrepreneurial. Since they have learned that you cannot trust an employer to take care of you, many will create their own jobs.
Fourth, Gen Z is and will be in church more regularly. We can already see this happening at the church where I serve. This is an exciting possibility that may mean hope for America and the world.
Finally, (this may surprise you) this generation prefers personal contact. You might have expected a text message, but they really desire personal interaction. As you know, the church is quite adept at personal contact.
I am hopeful, but not simply about this generation. I am hopeful that the church will be as God wants us to be.
I am hopeful because we worship and serve the God who is the God of all hope.
I am hopeful about the opportunity to share with the youngest among us about the Greatest among us.