Three Secrets to Understanding Generation Alpha:
Restoring Relevance, Trust, and Belief
Engage Certificate Program
Wednesday, January 10, 2024 | 10:50 a.m.
Janine McNally, D. Min. (ABD). Grace4kidz.org
Understanding Generation Alpha
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Generation Alpha, Mark McCrindle
Born: 2010-2024 (0-13 years)
Digital Natives: Born into Technology
Different Learning Style
YouTube is the second most popular search engine on the internet (after Google), but for Generation Alpha, it's number one.
“Why would I read something when I can watch it?”
Education is changing
Circles, not rows
Visual – Touch Screens
Experts tell us that the age at which we're exposed to a traumatic event determines the depth of its manifestation in our soul.
Isolation - Quarantine
Dependence on Technology – School, Childcare
5. Mental Health Issues
Lonely even though “Engaged.”
Depression, Anxiety, Suicide.
Gen Z Study: 1,000 Participants
20 % of them say they have a regular therapist.
57 % take regular medication.
39 % attend therapy for mental health issues once a week.
More than two in five of the country's 68 million Gen Z'ers have a clinically diagnosed mental health condition.
9 in 10 say they struggle specifically with anxiety.
8 in 10 say they fight against frequent bouts of depression.
Most Medicated Generation (ADD, ADHD, PTSD)
6. Dysfunctional Families
“Gone is the idea of a “normal” family. Nearly half of our kids will see their parents’ marriage dissolve. Many will grow up in a fatherless home.” Barna.
2 Income Families
Absent Father – physically or emotionally
7. We are losing them!
"Among young adults (ages 18-29), the dropout rate sits at an alarming 64%. That’s nearly two-thirds among a cross-section of Millennials and Gen Z who had a Christian background and then, at least for a season, bowed out of the church. In their absence, percentages of atheists, agnostics, and “nones” are on the rise.” David Kinnaman & Mark Matlock, Faith for Exiles
Losing them earlier
Sporadic church attendance
1. The Church is Irrelevant - don’t see a connection to their daily lives
One in four practicing Christian Millennials believe the church is irrelevant today.
57% of churched adults and 45% of practicing Christians say they know people who are tired of the same old church services.
40% of churched adults say they leave disappointed at least half the time.
Restore Relevance – HOW?
Answer the Hard Questions
Current events, mental health, depression, anxiety, bullying, loneliness, social media, racial inequality, suicide, self-harm, school shootings, politics, sexuality, gender identity, inequality, abortion…
46% say they need factual evidence to support their beliefs.
We need to train a generation to defend what they believe.
2. The Church is Untrustworthy
Hypocrites- Behaving more like a country club
Disillusioned by moral failures of leaders, scandals, church splits, power grabs, politics, money
20% of the “nones” (no religion) who walked away say it is because they became disillusioned.
36% of Gen Z and Gen Alpha say the church has hypocrites.
66% of skeptics say that church scandals and abuse turned many of them away from belief in God.
Restore Trust – HOW?
Practice what you Preach.
Show we care
Keep eyes on the Perfect Person
3. They No Longer Believe
“They no longer believe… either God doesn’t exist, or He doesn’t matter. The nones are now the fastest growing group in the United States, and surprisingly, 78% of them admit that they actually grew up in church.” Pewresearch.org
13% of Gen Z say they are Atheists
37% say you can't know for sure if God is real.
58% say there is more than one way to God
26% view the Bible as a book of fables, legends, and history.
19% say they don’t believe in God
Of the 81% who believe in God, half of them say that the “god” they believe in is not the God of the Bible.
Barna.com, christianpost.com, News.gallup.com, Pewresearch.org
3. Restore Belief – HOW?
“Our entire culture (including secular schools) is aggressively teaching the apologetics of evolution and secular humanism. They teach our students how to defend a humanistic worldview, and they model that worldview. The secularists are teaching our children how to defend the secular faith and connect it to the real world… Unless the facts behind the Christian faith are clearly and convincingly communicated in a way that students can learn and remember, their faith will not stand the assault of doubt from the world.”
Answers in Genesis
1. Reestablish Absolute Truth
“Truth is however you define it.”
“There is no right and wrong.”
“If it feels good, do it.”
“Faith is fine if it works for you.”
Everything is grey and depends upon the lens we are looking through.
2. Objective Truth: Teach the “Why”
Discuss the apparent contradictions that they will eventually face.
Teach the evidence for the existence of God and the resurrection
Teach the application
Bible stories without principles and application will result in little more than a recollection of children’s tales.
Provide a solid biblical worldview to enable them to resist the battle for their minds.
3. Subjective Truth: Help them Experience God.
Share your own personal life stories and testimonies
Record answers to prayer.
Get There First: “There is a race for a child’s soul, and the first one there wins.”
. . . I believe the battlefront is found in the minds, hearts, and souls of our children.
Imagine yourself as Satan . . . what easier way to inflict the maximum possible pain upon God than by winning over His beloved creatures from the earliest possible moment, resulting in a lifetime of unrighteous behavior by those creatures? Win them early, and the job is all but finished.