Recently, McCrindle (a research organization in Australia) released a report on “Understanding Generation Alpha”; these are kids born approx. 2010 and later. Some are starting to enter youth ministry.
Here are some key highlights (especially as they differ from Generation Z):
- Personalization is key. It’s not just having their “names” on everything; they are growing up in a world where a service or resource is channeled specifically to them individually. This isn‘t a case of entitlement; it’s just “how it is” in the world they’re growing up in. (This is similar to those who grew up with refrigerators and running water; it’s just “how it is”.) This impacts how we disciple the individual.
- The “skills economy” will shape the kind of education they’ll experience. Education will be less about content/information-attainment and more about developing hard and soft skills that can be adapted into whatever multiple-career-changes Gen Alpha will have in their lifetime. Some of the objectives of our youth ministry programs will need to be re-considered in this light.
- The future is about as uncertain as ever. In previous generations, the general desired trajectory was “graduate high school, get your university education, obtain a secure job, buy a house and eventually retire at age 65.” However, a significant number of careers/jobs Gen Alpha are preparing for don’t even exist yet. Especially during this pandemic, the outlook and planning towards what’s coming up is as blurred as ever. This impacts how we move forward and challenges us to wrestle with what do we really put our hope in.
Obviously the research for Gen Alpha is far from complete. While McCrindle is extrapolating how these trends will shape the coming years, we continue to analyze and discern how the upcoming generations can be shaped towards the person and message of Jesus.
What shifts are you seeing as Gen Alpha is moving into jr. high ministry? (Share your thoughts either in the comments below or on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram.)
You can find out more with their infographic at https://mccrindle.com.au/insights/blogarchive/gen-z-and-gen-alpha-infographic-update/.