By Dr. James Emery White, Crosswalk.com
Vivendi Brand Marketing released a comprehensive report titled “Gen Z & Entertainment” on those born between 2000 and 2012 (Although most would deem Generation Z to include those born between 1995 and 2010.). The report looks at how “they connect with books, festivals, gaming, music and series in a new and different way.”
The “Billie Eilish” generation (named after the Gen Z music phenom) is accurately noted as the largest generation on Earth, and they “mark a radical break from the expectations, behavior and mindset of their elders.”
Drawing from findings from more 60 reports, additional in-house research and extensive collaboration across all Vivendi businesses, they determined the following key traits that best characterize this generation:
- Gen Z have an 8-second attention span, but at the same time are aces at absorbing content quickly, as exemplified with Tiktok, the app best associated with them.
- Gen Z are connected. 72% use social media while watching television. As opposed to millennials and their “selfie culture,” they are all about authenticity and showing their genuine selves.
- Gen Z are inclusive, tolerant and abhor discrimination. Activists and conscious consumers, they are fully aware of their environmental footprint, willing to spend less on material goods and more on in real life experiences.
- Gen Z feel anxious. Always connected, their unfiltered view of the world fuels anxiety. Mindful of digital overload, they desire immersive, real-life moments that capture their full attention and alleviate their stress. Apps such as Flipd help them to digital “detox” and unplug from their digital life.
Readers of my book Meet Generation Z will find these marks familiar. The telling point is that the early research revealed in that book is not only being substantiated, but also demonstrating that it is not changing as they age.
Why bother with Generation Z?
Consider three reasons:
- They are the largest generation on the planet. If you care about reaching people for Jesus, you will care about Generation Z.
- They are not simply shaping culture. Soon, they will constitute culture.
- Most churches are tied to a specific generation. It may be because of the year the church was birthed; it may be because of the age of the senior pastor; it may be because of the era of its greatest growth. The danger of being generationally linked is that you will live and die by that generation. Wisdom would dictate that every church should keep its eye on the next generation, and the generation after that, in terms of outreach. That way you will not be a “one and done” church, but one that maintains vibrancy for, yes, generations.
So yes, “meet” Generation Z. But do not only meet them,
… reach them.
James Emery White
“Vivendi Unveils Extensive Report on Generation Z and How They Are Shaping the Entertainment Business,” Vivendi, March 9, 2020, read online.
James Emery White, Meet Generation Z (Baker).
About the Author
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunct professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His newest book, Christianity for People Who Aren’t Christians: Uncommon Answers to Common Questions, is now available on Amazon or at your favorite bookseller. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.