The Three Most Effective Ways to Communicate with Generation Z

Generation Z is a generation with unique qualities. They are the first generation to grow up with mobile devices, social media networks, and the ability to access the internet 24/7. Generation Z is also different from their predecessor (Millennials) because they are more pragmatic and practical in their approach to life. So how we communicate with Generation Z must be unique as well. 

First, Generation Z values one on one communication. They want their communication to feel unique to them. Mass communication will not work with them. There’s a reason why Facebook and Instagram are not resonating with this generation. Both of these platforms are designed for one person or organization to communicate with a large audience. However, Generation Z prefers to have one-on-one conversations which is why they prefer messaging apps like What’s App, iMessage, and Facebook Messenger. 

So if your ministry’s goal is to reach this generation, understand that a stage announcement, Instagram post, or a church-wide email won’t get the job done. Reaching this generation will require you to reach out and work with them personally. Granted this does not immediately scale, however if you can train your leaders to think this way, then it can fuel your ministry’s growth. 

Second, Generation Z values pragmatism in their communication. While they want to aspire to higher goals, they want a sense of realism in their communication. This is not to say that you need to be direct or blunt with Generation Z, however they can tell if what you’re communicating is a pipe-dream or if it’s something that can come to fruition. 

This means that when you’re casting vision for the future of your church there needs to be a sense of practicality to the vision. How will this vision impact the community, the church body, and the unreached? What are the tangible ways that it affects Generation Z’s world?

Third, you need to be transparent in your communication. Generation Z wants to be able to see behind the curtain and know what’s really going on. This generation is very savvy when it comes to marketing and they can see right through it if they feel like they’re being sold to. The best way to communicate with them is to be open, honest, and clear.

This means you’ll need to move jargon that can obscur what you’re trying to communicate. If something failed, it’s okay to say it failed. If something works, let them know it works. However, if it feels like you’re trying to spin a situation, then Generation Z will detect it and assume that you’re trying to hide something.

Generation Z has 87 million people in their age group. This makes them the largest generation currently in the United States. They’re also a generation that the church may lose if it does not change the way it communicates. The church needs to understand that this is a generation that is very different from any other and the way we’ve communicated in the past will not work with them. We must be willing to adapt our methods if we want to reach this generation for Christ. 

What are some of the ways your ministry is reaching out and communicating with Generation Z? Leave a comment below and let us know.

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Thom S. Rainer is the founder and CEO of Church Answers, an online community and resource for church leaders. Prior to founding Church Answers, Rainer served as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Before coming to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism. He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.