With Becca’s new job, (read more about that here) she has been asked to research stats and trends for Gen Z. She and I've had a ton of fun chatting about this particular topic. I’ve been doing a little research online and there is not a firm agreement on the beginning and cutoff years for Gen Z.
Many agree that iGen or Gen Z is born after 1996, but the cutoff ranged from 2011 to 2015. Why? Because as Alex Williams reminds, “Generational study is more art than science…” Yes, we can look at generational studies for trends, but we do not assume every person in a generation is or will be the same.
For example, think about the 16-year-old wealthy girl growing up in Orange County and then compare her to the Pioneer Woman’s (LOVE HER!) 16-year-old daughter. They're probably not exactly the same. There are many factors (location, family, religion) that cause a person to not be conformed to the patterns of this world.
Culture might say that as a Millennial I should play the part of the narcissistic consumer, but that doesn’t mean that I have to or that I even want to. There are many timeless aspects of my faith that I would rather do instead.
One timeless expression of my faith comes from Acts 2:46, the early church, “... broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts…”. I love preparing and sharing a meal and having inspirational conversations around a table. It is one of my most favorite things in the whole world!
According to Millenial trends, I could just pin good recipes and stop there.
For Gen Z, they might just group text each other.
Another timeless expression of my faith:
Hebrews 10:24- “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…”
When a young mom asks me for advice, I say, “Spend the day with us. You’ll see a lot of prayer and us practicing Biblical methods but not perfection. Read a chapter of Don’t Make me Count to 3 and let’s chat about it.”
If I were just following Millennial trends, I could just overshare my life on facebook.
The Gen Z mindset says "We'll follow each other on Instagram."
We are made in the image of a complex God, we can never be reduced to a stereotype or marketing trend. That being said, I view the world differently than my friend’s 4th-grade daughter and differently than my mom. The reasons are not simply because my mom lives overseas. Media and technology have made the world smaller, so many within a generation do live the same way (ie- the Pioneer Woman’s daughter does have some, but not everything in common with the girl in Orange County).
Over the next 2 weeks, we will provide a Gen Z trend coupled with a unique way to mentor in light of it. I’m starting with this post though to remind us all (mostly me, because my daughter is Gen Z!) that cultural trends should not make us fearful and they shouldn’t be our driving factor in our decisions, discipleship methods, or our understanding of how to parent our kids.
The truths of mentoring and discipleship are timeless (i.e. you still read the Bible!), but our methods have some creativity depending on our location, people, and culture. We don't conform to the culture (Rom 12:1-2), but we can and should be salt in it. We want to give you some ideas, but we don’t want a changing culture to change areas of our lives and faith that are timeless and above culture. If you have ideas, we would LOVE to hear them! Please comment below! -Amy