How can the Church reach out to the millennials and Generation Z with their distinctive worldview formed through the internet and social media? Experts point out the need to equip the youth with skills in critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity.
PUBLISHED ONApr 2020
According to Pew Research Center, a US-based non-partisan group studying demographics and social issues, the millennials are now aged 23-38, while Generation Z are those between 7 to 22 years old.
Michael Dimock, its president, wrote in his article, Defining Generations: Where Millennials End and Generation Z Begins, “generational cohorts give researchers a tool to analyze changes in views over time. They can provide a way to understand how different formative experiences (such as world events and technological, economic and social shifts) interact with the life-cycle and aging process to shape people’s views of the world.”
PricewaterhouseCoopers, in its study, The E-generation: How Do We Involve and Energize Young Citizens? stressed, “New attitudes, values and opinions are formed through the internet.”
The 2018 international reports of We Are Social and Hootsuite point out, “Social media continues to grow as a source of information about products and brands.”
According to Seminarian Earl Valdez, a delegate to the 2018 Pre-Synod on the Youth in Rome, “Our world presents us challenges that are daunting: technological progress, truthfulness in a world of fake news, the dignity and rights of LGBT persons, injustice in an increasing authoritarian political landscape, and climate change that puts lives of people in danger. The Church is called to provide guidelines and paths for the youth to share in the mission of evangelizing in these situations. She is also called to a critical engagement with culture, politics, and economics. She is called to go to the peripheries, where the situation of the least, the last, and the lost require much study, discernment, and charity. Thus, the Church as a teacher needs to guide young people on how to truly see the face of Christ and carry His presence in this complicated world.”
In Preparing 21st Century Students For A Global Society: An Educator’s Guide To The “Four Cs”, formators are called to equip the youth with skills in critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. In doing so, virtues such as care for others and compassion would also come in. Head of La Trobe’s Department of Education, Associate Professor Barbousas, says that the most important skill a teacher needs in the 21st century is adaptability.
We, the members of the Church, are challenged to journey with our young people with openness to the Holy Spirit and to His new ways of evangelizing to them, to help them encounter Christ authentically and to encourage them to anchor their worth on His unchanging and unconditional love.