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Thriving in the Generational Shift – Spiritual Awakening Part 5

At Intentional Churches®, our church by church approach gives us a unique vantage point. We are witnessing a spiritual awakening sweeping through America. We are convinced that this spiritual awakening, combined with a growing curiosity about Jesus, means conditions are ripe for a genuine revival. As we continue our exploration in this series on The Great American Spiritual Awakening, we delve into the crucial shift in mindset needed to effectively reach and grow the emerging generation.

Understanding the Generational Shift

As we anticipate Gen Z comprising about 30% of the workforce in the coming years, it’s imperative to recognize the distinctive characteristics that define this generation. Born between 1996 and 2010, Gen Z has grown up as digital natives, navigating a landscape heavily influenced by social media and, notably, a global pandemic that marked their coming of age. Adaptability, mentorship, and collaboration are values that resonate with this generation.

Church leaders, at times, might find themselves daunted by this shift. However, at Intentional Churches, we see immense potential. Gen Z is primed for the Gospel, and as leaders, it’s time to get back to Scriptural basics and leave behind the pursuit of elusive silver bullets.

1. MORE Relational Mentorship and LESS Programmatic Offering

To effectively engage with Gen Z, the emphasis must shift towards more relational mentorship and less reliance on programmatic offerings. This entails fostering genuine connections and mentorship relationships within the church community. Instead of simply providing content heavy programs, churches should focus on cultivating authentic relationships that guide and support individuals on their spiritual journeys.  

We believe that church community and program models going forward should minimize actual content (though not eliminate) and lean into asking great questions to promote guided self-discovery.

Key Question to Consider 

What is the right balance of content versus conversational processing within your ministry environments and programs?

2. MORE Life Collaboration and LESS Life Prescription

Gen Z thrives in collaborative environments. The traditional model of prescribing life solutions needs a reevaluation. Life prescription is formulaic in nature. “If you do this, then that will happen.” Too many Christ followers have this view of their spiritual journey. 

Rather than dictating a predetermined path, churches should encourage life collaboration, allowing individuals to actively participate in their spiritual growth journey.

In this era of shared experiences and collective wisdom, the church becomes a hub for life collaboration. Congregations should provide spaces for individuals to share their experiences, struggles, and victories, creating a sense of community where everyone plays a part in each other’s growth.  Interactivity is a key church strategy going forward.  

The study of Scripture together becomes more about helping people discern what God is challenging them to immediately do within this season of life. It is more action oriented and less about knowledge acquisition.  

Key Question to Consider

How could we better equip our ministry leaders to drive pragmatic application of Scripture in the people they lead?

3. MORE Practical Tools and LESS Content Downloads

Information overload is a common challenge in the digital age. Gen Z values practicality and hands-on experiences. Therefore, churches should shift their approach by providing more practical tools and less emphasis on content downloads.

These tools can range from simple applications of biblical principles in everyday life to practical guides for navigating challenges. By focusing on tangible, applicable tools, churches can meet the immediate needs of Gen Z by fostering a more engaged and hands-on approach to spirituality.

At Intentional Churches, we teach a tool called Your Personal Relational Reach Zone to be used with your staff, board, and congregation. Within this tool, a few churches we work with are using the 3 Circle Gospel to equip believers to share their faith with those in their Personal Relational Reach Zone.  These types of simple and trainable tools are critical for a new generation of believers.  

Key Question to Consider

What are the simple practical tools we equip our staff, board, and congregation with regularly?

Final Thoughts

We believe that the seismic generational shift is not a cause for apprehension but an opportunity for revival in Christ’s bride. By embracing these mindset shifts, we can effectively steward and maximize the generational momentum, ensuring that the church remains a relevant and transformative force in the lives of Gen Z.  

A Final Question to Consider

What are ways you and your team are adapting strategies to reach and grow the emerging generation?

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