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Ministry with Gen Z Cohort begins January 11

Glitter blessing on National Coming Out Day

Do you desire to be in ministry with Gen Z? Join other church leaders seeking to know more about Gen Z and their unique needs and views on faith and life. Monthly meetings via Zoom through May 2024.

Connectional Ministry Staff, Michigan Conference

When asked by those in local congregations about young adult ministry, we often think we are talking only about Millennials. I am part of Generation X (MTV and Pepsi Generation), so Millennials are younger than me. Born from 1981 to 1996, Millennials, now 27 to 42 years old, are at the top or aging out of the young adult category.

Clergy offering glitter on National Coming Out Day
Rev. Elizabeth Hurd, Chair of the Michigan Conference Board of Young People’s Ministries, and a colleague support students on National Coming Out Day with Motor City Wesley. ~ photo courtesy Lisa Batten

I love Millennials and spent most of my campus ministry tenure working with Millennials. They continue to challenge the status quo, value meaningful motivation, emphasize relationships with supervisors, have intuitive knowledge of technology, prioritize tasks rather than time, value teamwork and social interactions in the workplace, and are open and adaptive to change.

But listen, church. We are past time to start talking about the new generation of young adults, Generation Z. Professionals who study generational attributes are often cited as saying one generation is simply reacting to the generation preceding theirs. This might be true, and each generation is formed by several impactful events that took place in their coming-of-age years.

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, members of Generation Z are our first digital natives, having grown up in the online world. Diversity is their norm. Having grown up from 2000 to 2020, they will be the last generation that is predominantly white. They are plagued with mental health issues due to many factors they experienced growing up, including isolation and depression bolstered by endless hours spent online and active shooter drills at school. Gen Z is more politically progressive, even those on the right, and will advocate for the rights of those historically marginalized, like LGBTQIA+ and persons of color.

I don’t know Gen Z well, but I am getting to know them and working to appreciate them. When I need to “phone a friend” for all things Gen Z, I get in touch with our Michigan Conference campus ministers. They are our research and development department when it comes to young adults. They talk of trying out new ministries like “throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what will stick,” and they speak about how young adults want to know that what they are doing is making a difference but need older adults they can trust to show them how to make a difference.

Church, we have an opportunity to be in ministry with young adults who are not rejecting spirituality but will hold the church accountable to what we proclaim. We have a lot to learn from our campus ministers and all those working closely to understand Gen Z. If we want to counteract the mass exodus of young people from our church, we would be wise to listen to those on the front line of ministry with young adults. If we want to be a place where young adults can belong, thrive, and be disciples, we must start the conversation now.

The Michigan Conference is taking all this seriously and invites you to join a cohort of people interested in ministry with Gen Z or who are just beginning ministry with Gen Z. This group will meet on the second Thursday of each month via Zoom from January through May 2024. The first meeting is January 11. The cohort will meet from 1:30 to 3:30 pm Eastern. The deadline for joining is January 5, 2024. Click the button below to register. 

The registration fee is $199, but scholarships are available for those who need financial assistance. Please get in touch with Lisa Batten at [email protected] for scholarship information.

The Ministry with Gen Z Cohort will learn from those who are in ministry with Gen Z. They will share their experience, knowledge, and ideas for faithful ministry with Gen Z. There will be one-on-one coaching and mutual support. After the cohort, there will be an opportunity for funding to attend a young people’s ministry conference.


Last Updated on December 12, 2023

The Michigan Conference