If you didn’t know, titles like Why Gen Zers and Millennials Need Christians More Than Clickbait are actually “clickbait.”
Clickbait is a made-up Internet word defined like it sounds: luring words written with the sole intention to get you to click. However, once you click through, you realize you were baited so you could be counted and the website could get advertisers to buy more ad space. By now, you’re wondering if you’re currently a clickbait victim. You thought you clicked a post about why millennials need Christians, not Internet jargon. Don’t worry, you did. Also, we don’t do advertising, and I’m not actually talking about article titles. Millennials and Gen Zers need Christians to stop being clickbaity. I’ll explain.
Millennials (born in the early 1980s to the mid-1990s) and Gen Z (born in the mid-1990s to the early 2010s) are some of the most over-analyzed and least known groups of humans looking for a reason to belong. According to recent studies, Millennials and Gen Zers who say they are either without religion or belong to a non-Christian religion have been increasing over the years. But both groups need Christians. So why is this happening? I have one idea I’ll call clickbait-Christianity.
Before you get frustrated with me, know that I’m including myself in this category of clickbait creators. As a whole, we’ve practiced too much catching, counting, and releasing. If you don’t believe any of my other claims about Millennials and Gen Zers, please consider this one: we are pretty good at sniffing out intentions. We’ve been let down by leaders, parents, and brands we trust. As a result, we’re leery of the shiny hooks and wide nets we find in Christian books, music, movies, churches and even some relationships. This doesn’t make those things wrong, but it’s a good thing to know. Millennials and Gen Zers, like all humans, want to be sought out, needed, and known. But, we don’t want to be snagged, tagged, and released. It’s fine to catch and release fish, but people are keepers.
We need to feel wanted but not by people who don’t know us. You’d be amazed by how much we can grasp and how little we forget. We’re willing to try just about anything once. Millennials and Gen Zers need imperfect, genuine, safe, and loving people who’ll need us, know us, and show us the way. Basically, we need Christians. If you invite us into your life, we’ll drive you crazy some of the time, keep you on your feet most of the time, and make your life richer all of the time.
So, no more clickbaiting people into church and Christianity. It’s okay to catch us, but you’ve got to keep us and give us something real. Because until you do, we may just bite and spit out the hook. Here are three quick ideas to help you get started.
- Invite a young adult to eat a meal with you or your family, and ask them what they want to do with their life. Or bring one of us into some other regular part of your life. The more consistent the invite, the better.
- Become a regular in a place where Millennials and Gen Zers spend time in your community. Gain mutual interest and eventually relationship.
- Start a LifeGroup for young adults who are in a life stage you’ve been through and learned from. But don’t just come to teach, come for friendship.