Gen Z...3 Key Ways to Reach Them

Gen Z (currently age 2 to 18) is the now the largest generation on the planet.  They are the boys and girls in your community.  If you are in children's ministry, they are your mission field.

A recent in-depth study has revealed some keys to reaching them.  Let's take a closer look at these.

KEY #1 - STREAM TO KIDS.  They are the most powerful digital content consumers.  They prefer streaming content over linear television.  In fact, a survey revealed that 70% of Gen Z choose streaming over traditional television.  50% have either never had a cable subscription or have cancelled it.

They prefer streaming content from YouTube and Netflix.  In the last two years, watching streaming videos has doubled among Gen Z.  They watch more streaming video than anyone over the age of 18.  88% of Gen Z say they watch Netflix daily.

We must remember that we are commanded to "go and preach the Gospel."  Two-thirds of God's name is "go."  You can't spell the Gospel without "go."  The church can't sit back and expect children and families to come to us.  Especially since stats show that kids and families are attending church less frequently.  We must go to them.  How?  I believe technology is a gift from God that we can use to take the Gospel to kids who would never sit foot inside of our churches.  We can use technology to stream the Gospel message to kids.  A key to reaching Gen Z is going to be finding creative ways to share the Gospel with kids through streaming content channels like YouTube, Netflix and social media. 

KEY #2 - PROVIDE "TAKE A BREAK FROM TECHNOLOGY" EXPERIENCES FOR KIDS AND THEIR FAMILIES.  Gen Z and their parents are saturated with media content.  The majority of it comes from mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, etc.  For Gen Z, smart phones are not novel, they are the norm.  83% of students own a smartphone.  40% of girls and 29% of boys are on their smartphones between four and eight hours a day.

For Gen Z, technology isn't new and exciting.  This has produced an interesting dichotomy.  What is interesting to them is a break from technology.  89% of Gen Z say they need a digital detox from all their tech toys and tools and 54% say they take intentional breaks from their mobile phones to spend time with friends and family in real life.  Novel for Gen Z is a break from technology.

Ministries that want to reach kids and families must reach out to them through technology, while also providing opportunities for kids and families to have shared experiences apart from technology.  

Be a champion for kids and their parents spending time together, in real life, face-to-face, uninterrupted by technology.  Think of events, experiences, programs outings, family service projects etc. that you can offer and advertise to families as a "break from technology."  While it may not be your primary advertising line, it can certainly add an appealing tagline for Gen Z and their parents.

KEY #3 - GIVE THEM OPPORTUNITIES TO CREATE.  Research also shows that Gen Z has a strong creative streak. 

  • 65% enjoy creating and sharing content while on social media.
  • 42% post their own original written essays or poetry regularly.
  • 20% post an original essay or poem weekly.
  • Over 25% post original video content at least weekly.
  • 70% have used a photo-editing app.
  • 50% have used a video-editing app before posting visual media to a social network.
Have you heard of these kids who are influencing millions of people through their YouTube channels?

FullTime Kid with Mya:  11-year-old Mya teaches kids how to do crafts and experiments.  She has 57,492 subscribers with 18,541,736 views at the time of this writing.

EvanTube: 10-year-old Evan's channel is dedicated to playing with new toys, testing snacks and other silly challenges.  He has 3,769,447 subscribers with 2,601,572,991 views at the time of this writing.

Ryan's Toy Reviews:  5-year-old Ryan loves and reviews toys, but especially cars, trains and Disney.  In less that two years, he has 6,232,872 subscribers with 9,861,831,892 views.  

Help kids think of ways they can use their creativity to share the Gospel.  Perhaps the media content we were talking about in Key #1 should come from kids instead of adults.  The next person God is going to use to reach millions of kids and families for Christ may be a Gen Z boy or girl who is sitting in your classroom.  They simply need someone to believe in them and encourage them to use their creativity for the Gospel. 

Your turn.  What are your thoughts?  As you read these stats, what are some other factors you believe are key to reaching Gen Z?  Share your ideas with us in the comment section below.