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Generation next part 2

January 12, 2007

Dee asked a great question in the comments yesterday.  Basically what do we do with this information.  What do we make of Generation Next?

I have a few things that I see about them and these track with my interactions with today’s highschool and college age folks.  See these trends not as pluses and minuses but just as change.

These are in no particular order.

+  Technology – they use it.  We should too.  There are great opportunities to minister via the internet.

+ Social networks – 2/3 of this generation use social network sites.  That’s HUGE.  If you haven’t been (I can’t believe I’m saying this Angie) to MySpace well get your head out of the sand and go take a look.  20% of those have dated someone they met there.  So if they trust it to find a date… there is opportunity there.

+ They are more accepting of other races… this is a hugely positive quality.  We should encourage them to use this for God’s glory.

+ They are closer to their family than the previous generation (Gen X).  So families…don’t squander this.

+ Tattoos and such…  Can this be redeemed for God… sure it can.  See Patrick Mead or Josh Graves for some ideas on that.  Louis Giglio has a great story on a tattoo his niece wanted to get.

+ They are less cynical.  Coming from the generation of cynics…I am glad for them (Really, I am, I promise).

+ They are optimistic.   We should be optimistic for them and encourage that into action.

+ Heroes – 25% say that their hero is someone close to them… there is your opportunity.

+ 14% more than the previous generation they believe that they will bring about social change.

+ 1/2 of all of them play video games (whoohooo)  1/3 have played in the last 7 days.  How about some redemptive themed video games that don’t suck.

+ Sex is way up.  Causal sex that is.  This is what I perceive in my interactions as well.  In a oversexed society parents have been blindly turning the other way as garbage is pumped into their children’s minds.  We must do better.  For gen next, we need to dialogue with them.  they will talk, they are social remember.

+ Religion – 8% less say they are protestant 9% more say they have no religion.  If this is news to you, you better wake up.  In a increasingly post modern society, churches better be learning to adapt/ evolve (that’s ironic).  To the degree that they trump the mission with traditions they will become less and less relevant and smaller and smaller.

I believe Generation Next can change the world to be a much better place.  But there is a challenge there for the rest of us.  They overwhelmingly see themselves as different than the previous generations.  Will we embrace their differences and help guide them or will we throw up our hands?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2007 2:44 pm

    I think about this so often wondering how to impact this next generation. It seems like my own efforts are so small, but combined with a group, like a church, we can make a pretty big impact on their lives.

    …a dream of mine is to develop a series of books with a moral/Christian message for young readers. I’m a dreamer, you know!

  2. January 12, 2007 3:12 pm

    I have been mulling over the mound of info in yesterday’s post and now this one as well. Very, very interesting information to me.

    Some may be shocked who read it… but I got over the initial shock when I joined MySpace & got to see this side of Generation Next. The majority of my friends list are folks who are around my age… but my GenNext friends are distinctively different! It’s interesting to me b/c I know them through their families… Then on MySpace it’s like I see another whole side of them. The side that is wildly honest about what they *really* think of their parents and that gen. And the part that is freely open about sexuality. I know much is just talk for that age… But the lines between talk and action start blurring somewhere along the way.

    I was really *shocked* that some of them allowed me to be their MySpace friends and see this other side since I am known as some sort of freaky version of the Church Lady among them. But there’s a craving there to be known and to be heard.

    Honestly, reading some of the bulletins they send out and seeing some comments made by their other friends leaves me really sad… I want to be purposeful about the kind of encouragement I give to GenNext. It has to be real and unafraid of who they are before they can receive it.

    I carry a big burden for GenNexters b/c therein lies a big portion of the direction that ministry to those w/same-sex attractions will be forged. That’s such a passion of mine and I dream for the positive spin that next gen can have. But without God in the mix… it’s not very substantial.

    I *really* want to have enough patience in me to attempt to bridge those gaps between me and the Nexters. They are so worth it… and there’s a lot I can learn from them. It took me 30 years to learn how to be really honest about God/religion rather than just trying to look like a “good girl.” I believe, like you mentioned T, that we could combine in a mentoring sort of way that could prove to be a powerful God force to be reckoned with.

    So, when are you getting a MySpace page set up, TCS? 🙂

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