Today, whenever we hear the word “young,” we always associate it with the Millennial Generation. Various documents were published about the so-called “Millennials.” Still, there is an emerging generation that we also need to know and understand; we call them “Generation Z.” Who are these members of the new generation? And why we need to understand them?
“Gen Z’s” or the “Generation Z” are persons born into an environment where the internet, smartphones, and modern gadgets have already existed. They are named “screen-agers” because their whole experience is narrated by the culture, media, Netflix, and everything else.
Scholars describe them as persons born in a context where religion is no longer a significant influence. Due to the lack of Spiritual companions” and the absence of “peer or adult support.” They are skeptics toward religion and the moral necessity of believing in God.
Based on a study made by the Barna Research Group, this new generation is inclusive, less prejudiced, and driven to make a difference. Likewise, they are also open-minded and sensitive to other people’s feelings and opinions. Regarding identity, the research group found that members of Generation Z consider identity as something that a person feels inside rather than birth sex.
The Barna Group observed that the individuals from Generation Z admire their parents but at the same time do not feel the importance of family relationships in their lives. Their ultimate goal as individuals is to be happy. According to the study, the focus of Gen Z is primarily on professional success and financial security.
The Challenge for church pastors and leaders, especially for Piarists, is to understand this new generation. Today, most Catholic pastors and leaders are not well prepared to relate to and are also allergic to Generation Z occupies’ technological world. There is a great need to understand this new generation to help them in the Christian direction we aim to be. Pope Francis continually reminds us of the words “accompaniment” and “encounter.” And we can accomplish these two words by understanding the young generation. Our task is not only to understand them but also to evangelize to them that they are the future of the church and the present.
John Michael O. Dion Sch. P.
This article is a general view of who comprises Generation Z, their environment, behavior, belief, identity, models, and goals.
The same author also published a more extended version of this article in their Student Publication: Tinig Loyola, A Student Publication of the Loyola School of Theology, Vol. 21, School year 2019-2020, p. 12.
Br. JOHN MICHAEL O. DION
John Michael hails from the Diocese of Tarlac, Philippines. He is a Psychology graduate, joined the Piarist Fathers in 2012. He took Philosophy units at the Rogationist Seminary and Certificate for Professional Education at the University of San Carlos in Cebu City. In 2020, he finished his Bachelor in Sacred Theology and Master of Arts in Pastoral ministry, specialized in Spirituality and Retreat Direction at the Loyola School of Theology – Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines. Currently, he is assigned at Calasanz de Davao Community, working as a subject teacher for Philippine history, World Religions, Applied Social Sciences, and Religious Studies at Calasanz de Davao Academy, Inc.