The following is from the book Meet Gen Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World 

  • Average length watched of a single internet video. 2.7 minutes. Percent of page views that lasts less than 4 seconds. 17%. Percent of page view that last more than 10 minutes. 4%. Percent of words read in web pages with 111 or less. 49. Percent of words read on average (593 words) web page. 28.
  • Bottom line? Whatever it is we are attempting to convey, much less explain, will need to be communicated more frequently in shorter bursts of “snackable content”.  Why? Because members of Gen Z are the “ultimate consumers of snack media. They communicate in bite sizes.”  P. 116
  • So rethinking evangelism involves 1) recapturing a sense of evangelism as both processes and event 2) having that process be heavily oriented towards explanation and 3) having that explanation be conveyed in a quick and engaging manner in order to get filters. That’s why Dan Schawbel, managing partner of Millennial Branding, tells his advertising partners “that if they don’t communicate in five words and a big picture, they will not reach this generation.” P. 117
  • Generation Z is not only spiritually illiterate but very visually oriented and informed. They consume knowledge of the world through YouTube, Netflix, Hulu – anything they find visually gripping. P. 119
  • Members of Gen Z are “agile communicators: speed of communication and repartee garners cultural currency,” note Sparks and Honey. They are accustomed to rapid-fire banter and commentary. Give it to them. P. 126

I just got done with this book and I won’t lie to you when I say it has got my mind turning about somethings. In particular, this section of the book about how this generation of students consumes data and visuals.

The first thought in my head after I read this section of “snackable content” was, “Isn’t this also the generation that binge watches 3 hours of Netflix shows at a time?”

The stats and the thought of mine seem to contradict each other. I think both can be true at the same time. In our team, we have started to ask the questions in regards to our info, content and how we go about it to see if it’s truly effective. If students are quick to move through the info and can take in massive amounts of entertainment and different messages from whatever media they are consuming, and we believe we have the best message of all time in Jesus, is what we are doing effective?

The answer… I don’t know. We have to see.

Here are some things our team has come up with in order to begin to engage this generation of students who can consume large amounts of media (which is very well written and visually engaging) but also consume more content quicker than any generation before them:

  • We started asking in planning meetings: How can we communicate this is a clearer more concise way? How can we make this visual?
  • In a promo for a message topic: promoting on social media the big questions students are asking about that particular subject we are teaching that night.
  • Going story is driven on everything: using Instagram stories to tell stories of community groups and events coming up. Stories of students and how they have been affected by a group or event.
  • In sermons: how can we visualize this or make it a practical tangible take away.
    • Example: In the Kingdom Worker series we are doing, this week we made business cards where students will randomly pick a card in the bucket and whatever act of service is on it, they are committing to complete it by next service. (This series is up for sale with all this on DYM right now)
  • Asking: Is this clear? Sounds simple but it’s crazy when you sit down with something for a little bit you can break it down to simpler, more effective communication in sermons, Instagram posts, summer camp etc.

I don’t have an answer really for any of this. I just know this generation will respond to certain things we have been doing for a long time but there will be a lot more than if we don’t begin to think intentionally through it, we are going to miss out on effectively communicating the most important message to our students 21 and under.

This is just me throwing up on a blog post what our team has been processing and hoping to get some insight from you as well! Tell me what you think about this info and how you have engaged with it!