How Does Your Church Use Technology to Connect with Gen Z?
It’s a well known fact that Generation Z is highly adept at using technology, at times engaging online differently and with higher frequency than their Millennial predecessors. That trend is likely to continue and will have ramifications for how your church connects with emerging generations. How does your church presently use technology to connect with Generation Z?
Are you effective, and could you be more effective? We’ve covered ways Gen Zers use social media and suggested ways you can do a better job utilizing digital tools. There is always room to grow.
For further insight we can look to colleges and universities, who are adapting as the oldest Gen Zers begin their academic careers. College professors are changing how they use digital technology to connect with students. Mark Abadi of Business Insider reports:
One professor revealed to The New York Times the extent she incorporates technology into her class. Nicole Kraft, a journalism professor at Ohio State University, told reporter Laura Pappano that she takes attendance for her class via Twitter, posts coursework on the instant-messaging app Slack, and holds office hours on the video-conferencing app Zoom at 10 p.m., "because that is when they have questions."
Kraft told the Times she doesn't even use email in her class, except to teach her students how to write a "proper" one, because "that is a skill they need to have."
In my experience, Gen Zers and young Millennials will check email, and at the very least they appreciate knowing that information about happenings in the church is available to them through a simple search of their inbox. If you have an eNewsletter, tell Millennials and Gen Zers how they can sign up.
But as we can see from the example at Ohio State, there are ways to use Twitter, Slack, and other applications to remain connected to Gen Zers, get them engaged, and foster growth. Ask the Gen Zers in your congregation what digital tools they are using and find out how they use them. Then, develop a digital strategy that will help your church better serve emerging generations in your community.
As you develop a strategy for online engagement using apps and other digital tools, don’t forget your website. We’ve made suggestions for evaluating your church website in order to better connect with Millennials; these same criteria will help you minister to Gen Z. Your website won’t be the first or primary reason a Gen Zer would choose to join your fellowship—that would most likely be a personal invitation. But it is highly likely a Gen Zer would check you out on the web before their visit, and would be very open to engaging with discipleship material or sermon audio online once they are there.
There may have been a time that your church encouraged congregants to check in on Facebook or to utilize a hashtag on Twitter. But news tools are creating new ways for Gen Zers to connect, engage, and share their faith with others. Gen Zers are on their screens and are active online. Do research with regard to how, form a plan to effectively communicate, and take your next step to connect with them online.