GENERATIONS & The complete guide to Generation Z

by Ryan Jenkins, Inc. Magazine, 7/25/17.

No matter your age, technology is fundamentally re-shaping your behavior and expectations in a way you never thought possible. If technology has changed the way you live and work, imagine how it shaped an entire generation that has used technology as early as one year old.

Total game changer.

The next generation gives us data points into what’s next. Understanding who is Generation Z provides the necessary data to influence how a company must recruit, retain, and lead its employees in the future. (Read this to find out the eight ways Generation Z differs from Millennials.)

Rather than focusing on historical events, the below timeline covers how pivotal innovations and culture shifts have transformed Generation Z’s view of life and work. Generation Z begins in 1998 and the below provides the necessary context around how the oldest Generation Zers have grown up by charting the fictitious life journey of one individual. Let’s call this individual Jennifer Zahn or Jen Z for short–ah, get it?

Who Is Generation Z: A Timeline That Reveals How the 21st Century Shaped Them

1998: Jen Z is born.

Jen Z is raised by tech-savvy Generation X parents and many of her younger Generation Z peers are being raised by the tech-dependent Millennials. In fact, 38 percent of children today who are under two years old have used a mobile device for playing games, watching videos, or other media-related purposes. There was a relatively large technology gap between Millennials and their Baby Boomer parents, but Generation X has shrunk that gap with their Generation Z kids which has only accelerated the tech adoption of Generation Z.

Generation X’s independence, survival mentality, and skepticism towards leaders and institutions that they witness rise and fall during their youth will translate into parenting Generation Z with a focus on do-it-yourself mentality, hard work, and being realistic (especially since 62 percent of Generation Z doesn’t remember a time before the Great Recession).

  • Generation Z Mindset: Generation Z will approach work with a DIY, work hard, and pragmatic mindset.
  • Innovation Influencer: Parents

2006: Jen Z collaborates globally.

At age 8, Jen Z is an avid gamer which shapes her approach to collaboration. With 66 percent of Generation Z listing gaming as their main hobby, the International Olympic Committee is considering adding pro-gaming as an official sport, and Amazons $970 million acquisition of the live streaming video platform where viewers watch playthroughs of video games and other gaming-related events, Twitch, confirm the growth and importance of gaming among Generation Z…

Jen Z doesn’t think twice about turning on her Xbox, putting on a headset, and gaming alongside people around the world in real time as they strive for an epic Halo win. Because gaming isn’t hierarchical, Jen Z grasps the power and ease of virtual collaboration and reaching across borders to create powerful and diverse networks of global talent.

  • Generation Z Mindset: Generation Z gravitates towards gamified processes or procedures and are native to global communication and collaboration across virtual platforms.
  • Innovation Influencer: Xbox

2007: Jen Z becomes untethered.

At age 9, Jen Z is given her first cell phone for the primary purpose of safety and logistics. However, she is soon exposed to the new smartphone that mom and dad own. Today, the average age for a child getting their first smartphone is 10.3 years-old. Smartphones mobilized Generation Z to text, socialize, and game on the go.

Also at this time, YouTube is growing in popularity and thanks to the easy to use Flip Video camera, Jen Z is empowered to create and share videos. Three-quarters of Generation Z watch YouTube at least weekly. YouTube becomes a go-to resource for entertainment, information, and how-tos.

  • Generation Z Mindset: Generation Z is a video and mobile-centric generation where their mobile devices serve as the remote control of their lives.
  • Innovation Influencer: Smartphone and YouTube

2008: Jen Z extends her digital communication.

At age 10, Jen Z doesn’t meet the age requirements of Facebook but that doesn’t stop her from lying about her age in order to create an account and begin communicating with friends. While Millennials helped push social media into the mainstream, Generation Z can’t remember a world where social media didn’t exist. Today, 39 percent of kids get a social media account at 11.4 years-old.

Millennials were digital pioneers, but Generation Z is the true digital natives. They have not had to adapt to technology because the only world they know is a hyper-connected one where 2 out of 7 people on the planet use Facebook.

  • Generation Z Mindset: Generation Z is quick to adopt new communication channels and prefers real-time, transparent, and collaborative digital communications.
  • Innovation Influencer: Facebook

2009: Jen Z benefits from content curation.

At age 11, Jen Z enters middle school with a smart device and the world’s information curated into blank search boxes. Jen Z and her peers have become adept researchers and very resourceful due to their early Internet access. In fact, 43% of Generation Zteens prefer a digital approach to learning and find it easiest to learn from the Internet.

Generation Z treats the Internet as their external brain and therefore approach problems in a whole new way, unlike any generation before them. They do not consider parents or teachers as the authority but rather the Internet as the authority.

  • Generation Z Mindset: Generation Z wants teachers and managers to not be the sole source of their learning but rather supplement their learning — coaching them through their questions, mistakes, and successes.
  • Innovation Influencer: Search Engines

2010: Jen Z lives an interconnected life…

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/ryan-jenkins/complete-guide-to-who-is-generation-z.html

SKEPTICISM & Millennials Increasingly View the Church Negatively

by Aaron Earls, LifeWay, 2/26/16.

Not only are they not showing up for services, a growing number of millennials believe churches are bad for society.

Since 2010, millennials’ view of churches and other religious organizations as having a positive effect on the country has fallen 18 percentage points, according to Pew Research.

In 2015, 55 percent of young adults believed churches have a positive impact on the country compared with 73 percent five years ago.

The drop among millennials comes when other generations view churches more positively. In 2010, millennials had the highest view of churches. Today, it’s the lowest of any generation.

Churches weren’t the only institution about which millennials grew more cynical. Five years ago, 40 percent of young adults thought the national news media had a positive impact. That portion is only 27 percent today, largely in line with other generations’ view of the national media.

By and large, however, millennials didn’t fit with the perception they are anti-institutional. Among every institution, except the church, young adults were the most likely to say it was having a positive effect on the way things are going in the country today. Generally speaking, the younger you are the more likely you are to see non-religious institutions as having a positive impact on society.

Overall, among the 10 institutions Pew asked about, churches and religious organizations fell in the middle. Millennials view small businesses (86 percent), technology companies (77 percent), colleges and universities (73 percent), and labor unions (57 percent) more positively than churches.

Despite the decline, young adults still see churches as more positive contributors to society than the energy industry (54 percent), banks and other financial institutions (45 percent), entertainment industry (39 percent), large corporations (38 percent), and the national news media (27 percent).

Read more at … http://factsandtrends.net/2016/02/26/millennials-increasingly-view-the-church-negatively/#.V7Ltt8T3aJJ

FAITH SHARING & Research suggests younger evangelicals are slightly more likely to share their faith

by Facts & Trends, LifeWay, 5/13/16.

About a quarter of U.S. religiously affiliated adults share their faith at least once a week, according to Pew’s study of American religious beliefs and activities.

The practice of sharing one’s faith is up slightly since 2007.

While older Americans are more engaged in other religious practices (attending church, prayer, Scripture reading), Pew found younger adults are slightly more likely than those 65 and older to share their faith.

insights-sharefaith

Read more at … http://factsandtrends.net/2016/05/13/whos-sharing-their-faith/#.V7LtBMT3aJI

GENERATIONS & Why Do Need to Label Generations? Some Thoughts from Missiology

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 12/17/15.

Once a student asked me if we should refer strictly to “different preferences” or “styles” of worship, rather than “generational preferences” for worship.  His rationale was that he enjoyed Gen. X worship, but he was a Boomer.  Designating it Gen. X-style worship made him feel it was too generationally specific.  Instead he said, “Why can’t we just say we offer differing styles?”

This is a good point.  But, it may be counterproductive for researchers and academics to avoid generational designations (though I would encourage you to publicly speak of styles – e.g. traditional, classic, modern, postmodern, emerging, organic, etc. when publicizing these various styles).  However, for our research discussions the generational designations are important for clarity, specificity and generative explanations.  Let me elaborate on this.

We Use Labels Carefully, To Describe Cultures

Generational predilections and their resultant designations provide a rubric for understanding cultures.  It is about cultures, but these cultures are largely generationally driven (due to common experiences – see Gary McIntosh’s exploration of this in “Four Generations” or Margaret Mead’s “Culture and Commitment”).  Thus generational descriptors are important sociological and anthropological designations that are not exclusive, but valuable for communication.  If we follow the logic of rejecting generational descriptors and instead referring to a strategy of “offering as many styles as possible,” we then loose the emphasis upon the genesis of those styles – shared temporal experiences (the Depression, Vietnam War, Gulf War, computers, Internet age, etc. etc.).

Thus, I want to advocate that as researchers and strategists we keep the generational designations when working with leaders, for it reminds us the genesis is cultural.  And, it also reminds us that though we may relate to these cultures (as I think I do with Millennials), we who are of a different age (I am a Boomer) are never truly part of it because we have not experienced the same temporal experiences.  Note how in my “Inside the Organic Church” book I was unintentionally but constantly reminded that I was an outsider by these Gen. X congregations.

Etic or Emic? Why It is Important to Understand the Difference.

There actually is a name for this tension in missiology.  If you are truly part of a culture you have an emic relationship with it.  And if you are an outsider to a culture (such as a missionary), you may study it, analyze it, adopt it and even enjoy it … but you are never truly native to it, and thus you have an etic relationship with it.  Thus, I have an etic relationship with Gen. X, even though I love their organic emphasis even more than my native Boomer church culture.

GENERATIONS & The emerging agreement on age ranges w/ a description of each

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 12/14/15.

The New York Times ran an article about Millennials after which other media pointed out that the age-range they used wasn’t actually the range for Millennials. If the venerable NYTimes can’t get it right, then agreeing on what to call each generational culture will be challenging.  Here are some thoughts followed by the emerging agreement.

Generational cultures:(1)

This is how simplified it in Preparing the Change Reaction: How to Introduce Change in Your Church (Indianapolis, IN: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2007), p 53.

  • Builder (1) or the Silent (2) or Greatest (3) Generation, b. 1945 and before
  • Boomer Generation, b. 1946-1964
  • Leading-edge Generation X, b. 1965-1974
  • Post-modern Generation X, b. 1975-1983
  • Generation Y, b. 1984-2002

See these postings for more: CULTURES & A List of Cultures  and CULTURES & A Cumulative List of Cultures from My Books

Though there is disagreement, there is an emerging consensus.

Philip Bump in his article for The Atlantic, titled “Here Is When Each Generation Begins and Ends, According to Facts” (3/25/14) conducted excellent research and generated the following chart:

(chart retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/03/here-is-when-each-generation-begins-and-ends-according-to-facts/359589/)

This is how Philip Bump explained each:

We identified six different generations, and labeled their eras.

Greatest Generation. These are the people that fought and died in World War II for our freedom, which we appreciate. But it’s a little over-the-top as far as names go, isn’t it? Tom Brokaw made the name up and of course everyone loved it. What, you’re going to argue with your grandfather that he isn’t in the greatest generation? The generation ended when the war ended.

Baby Boomers. This is the agreed-upon generation that falls within DiPrete’s punctuated timeframe. It began when the Greatest Generation got home and started having sex with everyone; it ended when having sex with everyone was made easier with The Pill.

Generation X. George Masnick, of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies puts this generation in the timeframe of 1965 to 1984, in part because it’s a neat 20-year period. He also calls it the “baby bust,” mocking “[p]undits on Madison Avenue and in the media” that call it Generation X. Ha ha, tough luck.

Generation Y. Masnick addresses this group, too, putting it “anywhere from the mid-1970s when the oldest were born to the mid-2000s when the youngest were.” But mostly Generation Y is a made-up generation when it became obvious that young kids didn’t really fit with the cool Generation X aesthetic but not enough of them had been born to make a new generation designation. NOTE: Generation Y is a fake, made-up thing. Do not worry about it.

Millennials. In October 2004, researchers Neil Howe and William Strauss called Millennials “the next great generation,” which is funny. They define the group as “as those born in 1982 and approximately the 20 years thereafter.” In 2012, they affixed the end point as 2004.

TBD. But that means that kids born in the last 10 years lack a designation. They are not Millennials. Earlier this month, Pew Research asked people what the group should be called and offered some terrible ideas. In other words, this is the new Generation Y. We’ll figure out what they’re called in the future.

Time Magazine Gets In the Discusion

(http://time.com/247/millennials-the-me-me-me-generation/)

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  In this discussion a student passed along this scan from Time Magazine (Joel Stein, 5/20/13) from a few years ago that completely leaves out Generation Y, assimilating them into the Millennial Generation.  Though not as scholarly of a work, it is insightful.

Generations TIME

Endnotes:

1. Gary McIntosh, One Church, Four Generations: Understanding and Reaching All Ages in Your Church [Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2002] and Bob Whitesel and Kent R. Hunter, A House Divided: Bridging the Generation Gaps in Your Church [Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000).

2. This generation has been labeled various ways, for instance as the “silent generation” by William Strauss and Neil Howe in Generations: The History of American’s Future, 1954-2069 (New York: Quill, 1992).

3. They are labeled the “greatest generation” by Tom Brokaw in The Greatest Generation (New York: Random House, 2004).

GENERATIONS & An Online Test To Help You Discover With Which Generation You Identify

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  “I am one of those people who feel a sense of call to minister to Gen. X and Millennials (I even wrote a book on Millennial Leadership called ORGANIX.)

In fact I took this online test to see which generation I identified.  And, I identified almost equally with Generation X and the Millennials.

Check out the survey here:  http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2174636/Which-Gen-Am-I-When-I-Work-copy

ASSIMILATION & What Young People Are Saying About Its Negative Connotation

by Bob Whitesel, 5/21/15.

In a recent post I discussed how the word “assimilation” can mean something positive to older generations but also something negative to younger generations. This, it is often confusing when churches use it to denote their newcomer ministries.

To younger generation assimilation carries a negative connotation of giving up your personal cultural tastes and preferences. But to older generations it is a term which connotes positive characteristics of “blending in” with a dominant culture.

Subsequently, because assimilation can be misconstrued by people of different ages it is best not to use to describe our newcomer ministry.

In hopes of discovering an alternative term, I asked my students for suggestions. Here are two interesting postings from students about the term assimilation.

Student A: “Being 26 years old, I am kind of between generations. Plus I do youth ministry, so a lot of times I still get to feel like I’m a kid. When I hear assimilation, I feel that same uneasiness. From a church standpoint, when I think of assimilated drones, I think of legalism. I think of those in the church who have become cronies of the “rules and regulations” of the church, but have completely lost touch with the relationships. Much like the Pharisees, and much like the Borg, they all work with one mindset, and it just happens to be incorrect. I hate Star Trek, but I remember the episode where they tried to turn Patrick Steward into a Borg, and his struggle to escape. Having grown up in this culture, I am totally cool with being connected and in relationship, but pleeeaaasssee dont’ assimilate me!”

And then Student B said (Church name is a pseudonym) :

“Thank you, thank you!  I have been saying the same thing since the mid-90s.  In fact, I first heard the term ‘assimilation’ in this context while I was helping plant a church … while I was in my undergraduate program.  The executive pastor, Chuck, spent a great deal of time developing a program for assimilation, and it always had an ominous sound to me because of my fondness for Star Trek.

In fact, I took a downloaded portrait of a borg, cropped Chuck’s face onto the borg’s body (complete with facial hardware!) and put the following caption underneath it:  ‘We are Greenhill Church.  Resistance is futile.  You will be assimilated.’ Of course, I never showed that to anyone except another intern…’ 🙂 ”

Now, what comes to mind when you hear the term assimilation? And have you ever thought about how it is perceived by others? Now that you know about these dual and opposite meanings, what will you do?

ASSIMILATION & Maybe Christians Should Use an Alternative Term?

by Bob Whitesel, 5/21/15.

I believe it is critically and spiritually important to connect newcomers with our congregations. When discussing this topic with students the word “assimilation” sometimes comes up. This is, in fact, a word I have used for years to refer to the process of helping newcomers fit into our life of a fellowship and to embark upon their discipleship journey.

However a recent student noted that to young people today “assimilation” has a negative connotation. Here is her quote: “I’m a Star Trek fan and all I can think of when I hear that is the Borg insisting that every other life form they meet be forcefully altered into another drone for their collective, not even able to think on their own anymore but forced to do whatever the Borg wanted.”

That is almost exactly what a interviewee in a Phoenix focus group of young Gen-Xers said to me. Thus, I have been utilizing the word “connection” or “connecting.” It has a techie feel to it, and may be the Millennial generation equivalent of the Boomer “networking.”

The student who was the Star Trek fan even attached a picture of the Borg with her posting (I guess to scare Boomers). I downloaded the picture and tried to post it, but it assimilated, I mean connected, to my PC … but my Macintosh is doing fine :-)>

Here is what the student was talking about 😉
Click on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyenRCJ_4Ww

GENERATIONS & Young People Moving Away From Religion? Not really. Meet the Post-Seculars.

By Cathy Lynn Grossman, Religious News Service, 1/28/15.

(RNS) Meet the “Post-Seculars” — the one in five Americans who seem to have gone unnoticed before in endless rounds of debates pitting science vs. religion.

They’re more strongly religious than most “Traditionals” (43 percent of Americans), and more scientifically knowledgeable than “Moderns” (36 percent) who stand on science alone, according to two sociologists’ findings in a new study.

“We were surprised to find this pretty big group (21 percent) who are pretty knowledgeable and appreciative about science and technology but who are also very religious and who reject certain scientific theories,” said Timothy O’Brien, co-author of the research study, released Thursday (Jan. 29) in the American Sociological Review…

Many findings fit the usual way the science-religion divide is viewed:

— Moderns, who stand on reason, scored high on scientific knowledge and scored lowest on religion questions regarding biblical authority and the strength of their religious ties.

— Traditionals, who lean toward religion, scored lower on science facts and were least likely to agree that “the benefits of scientific research outweigh the harmful results.”

However, the data turned up a third perspective – people who defied the familiar breakdown. The authors dubbed them “Post-Secular” to jump past a popular theory that Americans are moving way from religion to become more secular, O’Brien said.

Post-Seculars — about half of whom identify as conservative Protestants — know facts such as how lasers work, what antibiotics do and the way genetics affects inherited illnesses.

But when it comes to three main areas where science and Christian-centric religious views conflict — on human evolution, the Big Bang origin of the universe and the age of the Earth — Post-Seculars break away from the pack with significantly different views from Traditionals and Moderns.

Areas where the factions are clear:

RNS science graphic by Tiffany McCallen; click to view full size

Read more at … http://www.religionnews.com/2015/01/29/science-religion-evolution-big-bang/

CHRISTMAS & Christmas A Non-Religious Holiday For Half Of Americans #PewResearch #InfoGraphic

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “This research shows that Christmas is increasingly becoming a cultural holiday and that most people say their church attendance on Christmas has declined almost 25% since they were children. This is a reminder to the church that marketplace forces are eroding our primary celebratory occasions. To offset this it’s important for church leaders to understand and to increase market differentiation. This means reminding people about the difference between the cultural holiday and the religious one, e.g. maybe fewer singing Christmas trees and more focus of the manger scene.”

By Pew Research, 12/3/13christmas2013-1Nine-in-ten Americans say they celebrate Christmas, and three-quarters say they believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. But only about half see Christmas mostly as a religious holiday, while one-third view it as more of a cultural holiday. Virtually all Christians (96%) celebrate Christmas, and two-thirds see it as a religious holiday. In addition, fully eight-in-ten non-Christians in America also celebrate Christmas, but most view it as a cultural holiday rather than a religious occasion.

christmas2013-2… But fewer Americans say they will send Christmas or holiday cards this year than say their families typically did this when they were children.

christmas2013-3

The share of people who plan to go caroling this year also is lower than the share who say they typically did so as children. And while about seven-in-ten Americans say they typically attended Christmas Eve or Christmas Day religious services when they were children, 54% say they plan to attend Christmas services this year.

Read more at … http://www.pewforum.org/2013/12/18/celebrating-christmas-and-the-holidays-then-and-now/

GENERATIONS & Chart on What Makes Your Generation Unique: Boomers, X, Millennials #PewResearch

Read more at … http://www.wnyc.org/story/how-generations-differ-boomers-x-millenials/

HEAVEN & Most people want to live past 75, but they haven’t given much thought to dying

By Jason Millman 9/29/14 The Washington Post

There have been a couple of important developments in the past couple of weeks suggesting that maybe, just maybe, we can finally have a long-sought rational conversation about end-of-life care.

First, the influential Institute of Medicine issued a 507-page report recommending major reforms for how end-of-life care is provided. And then Ezekiel Emanuel, a well-known bioethicist and former Obama adviser, explained why he wants to die at the not-so-old age of 75. Emanuel’s provocative essay has inspired a range of reactions, including on this blog, where University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack made his case for living longer.

Less discussed in the past couple of weeks is where Americans’ attitudes on death and dying stand — and how they’ve been changing. A couple of Pew Research Center polls in the past year provide useful perspective on this topic.

lifespan.png&w=1484
Read more at … http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/09/29/most-people-want-to-live-past-75-but-they-havent-given-much-thought-to-dying/

MEGACHURCHES & Not a Boomer Phenomenon – Megachurches Draw Twice as Many Under 45

megachurch_1_infographicbby Warren Bird

“As the Baby Boomer generation (born 1946-1964) passes on, megachurches are also dying off.” I see statements like that often in the public media, but all the evidence says they’re just plain wrong, based on a major research project I did with Scott Thumma.

Instead, the larger the church the greater the percentage of young adults go there on average. We found and wrote in Not Who You Think They Are (free download) that the average age of megachurch respondents is 40 years old, similar to the U.S. Census average. Yet the average age of an attender in a typical “non-megachurch” congregation is nearly 53 years old. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of megachurch attenders are under 45 years old, while only a third are that young in other size churches (35%).

Likewise, many more single adults are part of megachurches. Nearly a third of megachurch attenders are single, unmarried people. In a typical church (all sizes) singles account for just 10% of the congregation. It is more likely in a typical congregation that the vast majority (80%) of attenders will be married or widowed. Yet in our megachurch attender sample these groups account for only 55% of the congregation. The vast majority of the megachurch singles fall into the 18-44 age range, a group that is essentially missing in many churches”

Read more at … http://leadnet.org/not-a-boomer-phenomenon-megachurches-draw-twice-as-many-under-45/

GENERATIONS & The US Age Pyramid Becomes a Rectangle #PewResearch #InfoGraphic

Read more and see an animated graph at … http://www.pewresearch.org/next-america/