the shape of leadership

Six Things to Know About Working With Gen Z

Investing in the next generation of church leaders

Kent Ingle on November 5, 2019

Leading younger people who are serving in ministry can be a little intimidating. As the members of Generation Z (most commonly defined as those born after 1996) enter the workforce, some church leaders may worry about the learning curve involved with bringing on these potential new hires.

Nevertheless, leading and equipping the next generation has never been more important — and working with Generation Z can be a particularly rewarding experience.

These young people are a wealth of talent and drive. They are looking for leaders who are willing to invest in them, trust them, and help them reach their potential. Yet they may be less likely to seek church positions compared to older generations.

In fact, the share of Gen Z who identifies as atheist is double that of the general population, according to Barna Group. If there is any demographic in need of ministers and faith leaders who authentically live out the gospel message, it is Generation Z.

Gen Z is not as complicated to lead as they may seem, but they do need our attention and mentorship. It is vital that we not only bring them to our church teams, but that we also invest in and lead them effectively.

Here are six practical ways to lead members of Gen Z who are working in ministry:

1. Communicate face-to-face. Though Gen Z is often described as the digital generation, many of these young people prefer more personal forms of communication. Allow them to be a part of brainstorming sessions and weekly meetings. When you need to address an issue, engage with them personally. Human interaction is never out of date.

Leading and equipping the next generation has never been more important.

2. Don’t micromanage them. Just because they are young does not mean they can’t get the job done. Today’s young people are comfortable leading the way to solutions and will feel more confident doing so if you don’t constantly call into question their abilities.

3. Affirm what they bring to the table. The members of this generation value their individuality. Take note of their skills and the unique strengths they bring to the table. Not only does this build morale, but it will also motivate them to become more proficient.

4. Let them speak up. This generation is passionate and creative. And according to Pew Research Center, they’re on track to be the most educated generation ever. If you want them to grow quickly as members of your team, give them a voice.

5. Call out the best in them. Gen Z is driven to succeed, but they also struggle with higher levels of anxiety than older generations, according to a 2018 study from the American Psychological Association. And nearly three-quarters of this generation said they could have used more emotional support in the past year. Be sure to encourage them. Call out their potential as you see them develop.

6. Make it a priority to invest in them. In an increasingly secular age, each Gen Z ministry leader is invaluable. When you invest in this generation, you are investing in the future of the Church.

Generation Z is full of incredibly hard-working, devoted individuals who will truly enhance your church culture if you choose to invest in them. As the body of Christ, it is essential for us to be multi-generationally minded and to remember that all generations contribute to our church families.

As statistics continue to reveal a non-religious trend among young people, our churches must be intentional about raising up the next generation of faith leaders.

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