Gen Z, Millennials and the current culture

Who’s going to reach the Next Generation of leaders in the church? — Part II of a series

By Rev. Rick King

I’d like to think I still have something relevant to say to this moment that we’re in; all leaders do.

In working with Isaiah, I rub elbows a lot with Millennials, which is both a way of keeping current with technology, popular culture, and attitudes of people younger than I am.

But older leaders like me—Boomers and Gen Xers, for instance—struggle to reach the next generation because the current culture keeps changing, in most cases faster with every passing year.

It can be hard to keep up even with the knowledge base this requires.

Carey Nieuwhof notes that every young leader is a “cultural native,” meaning THIS culture is their native culture: the technology, the movies, literature and other media, and the lens through which they view politics, history, and economics, for example.

And while I work hard to be informed and up-to-date, one of the things that distinguishes one generation from another is the culture they DON’T share. As Christians and people of faith, the common ground I do stand on with other generations is the desire to seek the Holy, along with the Bible, the pursuit of a spiritual life, and shared experiences of transcendence, of God-in-community.

But apart from these things, I have to admit that it’s hard to reach a culture, like the present one, which you don’t understand. The message of God’s unconditional love may be common ground for those already part of a faith community.

But what about those who aren’t…yet?

As Nieuwhof points out, “Relevance gives you permission to speak into the culture.”

Which is why developing leaders OF the next generation is so important to REACHING the next generation—and why making this a priority is so important and vital to our future as a church.