My post brain-candy reflections from a Strategic Leadership class
have me wondering about the next generation of New Church Planters. According to Pew, most Gen Y-ers (ages 18-33) can be characterized this way:
- More connected to friends than traditional political or religious institutions
- More in debt but hopeful about their financial futures
- Less likely to be married, often because of financial concerns
- More racially diverse
And although 16% of Gen Y-ers are outliers (and these characteristics do not describe them) the other 84% of this generation – according to Professor Rich Honack – are known for:
- Being less career motivated than their Gen X siblings and Boomer parents
- Serving an average of 1 1/2 years on each of their first four jobs after college
- Being globally connected
- Being short-term planners with no long-term vision
- Inventing Gap Years
- Being disinterested in having a driver’s license or a mortgage
- Being financially at-risk (42% live with their parents for financial reasons)
Again, this does not describe all Gen Y’ers, of course, but sociologists seem to believe they’ve tracked some commonalities among most of them.
So here’s my question: How will Gen Y-ers impact the establishment of new worshipping communities in the coming years?
Note: words like “establishment” and “worshipping communities” are not often typed beside words like “Generation Y.” But as I work with students preparing for professional ministry, many of them are interested in – and perhaps called to – starting new congregations. What will that look like?
- Will Gen Y pastors want to leave after 1 ½ years on the job?
- Will the transience of twenty-somethings allow a new church to become stable?
- Will Gen Y-led congregations always struggle financially?
- Will older generations want to be part of such a different kind of church?
I find these questions more exciting than anxiety-inducing but they mostly speak to the changing landscape of our churches. What are your thoughts about Gen Y-ers in spiritual leadership? What do you look forward to as batons are passed?
Image of artist Justin West who – at age 23 – is considered one of the most talented in his generation.