It isn’t surprising, particularly to the business world, that civilization has been undergoing major changes. Particularly in the syntax of our lifestyles and communication. The current and emerging methods of the creation of thought and interpersonal relationships is having a huge impact on all levels of society. These changes are not happening linearly, but exponentially.
This is creating a divide in humankind which we haven’t been able to quantify in the general categorizations of generations which have peppered our language up until now. This is beyond boomers, busters, Gen X and Y’ers. This is beyond defining as post modern or emergent. The greatest phenomenon that is influencing today’s generation is digitally enabled/enhanced media (cell phones, computers, TV, movies).
This digitally enhanced/enabled media is re-defining the boundaries on how various social groups and generations interface with each other: on some very basic levels, i.e. general preferences in lifestyle, communication and worship environments. A new language of interactivity has evolved. And this is giving rise to a digitally divided generation bracket. This newly evolving group is GEND (Digital Generation).
How is GEND defined? The common denominator is simply people who are digitally connected. It’s a digitally enhanced/enabled media world today. You know, blue tooth technology, life in your PDA, YouTube, viral videos, itunes in an iPod shuffle. facebook, podcasts, vlogging, wiki. It’s big and it’s loud. Extreme edge is so passé. GEND spans race, culture, age and sex. Now, when you add up the populous that is defined within the parameters of GEND there emerges a paradigm shift in how we interpret and define age/generation classifications. For the parameters of this tag is not limited to age, only mindset.
Why is this important to the church? When we then combine this GEND tag with the concept of reaching the unchurched (or dechurched) we have more comprehensive picture of this emerging culture. Where is this leading?
* Learning to use whatever it takes, as long as we are uncompromising about God’s word. Our job is to bring people into the presence of God, it’s His job to meet them. Bringing them into the presence of God requires being able to ‘speak’ the same language.
* Since most GEND have been deluged with marketing of all types, up to and including gorilla marketing they are quickly able to discern when someone is trying to sell them something. Therefore it has to be authentic.
* We need to understand that the medium affects the message. For this group, gone is the day of come, sit and listen. Use of interactive digital media is important. We need to utilize various tools such as text messaging in services. We are exploring concepts such as Motione. And dreaming about holographic imaging displays in worship.
*We are to create a community where all God’s children are welcomed at the table. Particularly the unchurched, dechurched and disenfranchised. Everything is designed to be comfortable to unchurched, to speak that language.
My words may be jumbled, by the thought isn’t. We have to make that paradigm shift and re-think how we define worship.
Or we will lose a generation of "all ages".
Are you GEND?