A year ago I walked into our church’s young adult ministry and found less then ten people meeting on a regular basis. We’re a church of thousands. And there were 10. On a good day. Around 15 years ago, our young adult ministry was thriving. From what I can piece together, between the congregation aging and some heavy turnover with leadership of the program, it simply faded. Sound familiar?
In 2004, Blockbuster video was worth 5 Billion dollars. It was the largest video rental store in the world. They were an empire. No one came close to threatening this company’s territory. So when a man named Reed Hastings approached Blockbuster in 2000 offering for their new startup to be purchased for only 50 million, Blockbuster laughed them out of the room.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg knows that his social network is an avenue for human connection. He also knows that traditional means of social capital are on the decline, which means more fragmentation and weaker communities. Facebook has surpassed 2 billion online users worldwide, and Zuckerberg believes his platform can be a solution to our trend of coming apart.
It has been widely reported that the religiously unaffiliated are on the rise, especially among younger generations. Fewer and fewer people are choosing a traditional or organized form of religion, though some consider themselves spiritual. Correlatively, measures of loneliness and isolation are up. This makes sense. As people disengage from a proven means of social connection, a void opens.
Go to school. Get married. Have children.
This is known as the “success sequence.” But among younger generations, who often meander along the path to full adulthood, this notion has fallen on hard times. Is a winding path to career and family a generational trend charting a different path to well-being? Or is the ancient path wiser?
Catholic outlet EWTN News report that Pope Francis wants to hear directly from millennials. In 2018 the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will gather to discuss “Young People, the Faith and the Discernment of Vocation.” In preparation for this gathering they have appealed directly to youth. They want to hear what it is like for younger generations to be part of the Catholic church.
We have just passed high school graduation season, and several young friends of mine have now doffed cap and gown and processed to “Pomp and Circumstance.”
Graduation parties have also taken place. While attending a celebration for a former student, Oliver and I discussed Snapchat. Very casually, this eighteen-year-old told me, “Yea, I don’t even really check Snapchat anymore.” I wondered why, so he enlightened me.
The summer job isn’t as cool as it used to be.
The Atlantic recently reported that the rate at which teenagers obtain employment has been steadily decreasing for decades. Why? Have opportunities decreased as the economy has changed? Are Overwatch and Mass Effect consuming all of their time? What is generation Z up to when school is out?