A question that needs answering when it comes to the elusive “Generation Flux” is:
How did we get here?
A question must be asked in all this. If this new generation is called Generation Flux, than what is the older generation called? Leonard Sweet, in his book Viral, calls them the “Guttenberg Generation” because of Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press around the year 1440. Before the printing press, books were hand-written by scribes and very rare in the world, resulting in the slow progress of knowledge. With the printing press also came the multiplication of knowledge throughout the world. With that knowledge came the culture of getting our perspective from “paper” or words on a page. The “Gutenberg Generation” tends to enjoy holding a book in their hands versus reading on a device. They focus on knowledge and ideas while “Gen-Fluxers” on relationships and connection.
Interestingly, for some Gen-Fluxers, when it comes to spirituality, they gravitate away from the ever-changing evangelical culture that has been marked by heavy emphasis on evangelistic preaching, testimonies, extemporaneous prayer, and strong emotion, They do this in search of what they perceive as a deeper and richer worship experience. Their image-based customs attract them to the visual representation and the mystery in liturgical worship, the sacraments, the communal element of worship, the focus on Scripture and prayer. These produce beautiful, immutable visuals which appeal to a small segment of this generation.
When things began to change.
When the first personal computer came out in the late 1970’s, the way knowledge was distributed started making a quantum leap from paper to digital. Today, people read books on their tablets and reading devices as well as research information on the Web. Even some of us older ones have adapted using our Apple and Android devices for speaking.
How do we reach Generation Flux?
Although much can be said about reaching them, we can only give some places to start.
Celebrate their passion for finding spirituality through connecting with people. Remember this young generation is addicted to relationships through media and not necessarily attending a local church.
I know this may sound strange to us Guttenhergers, but this is the way the Church in Acts began. After the proclamation of the gospel came establishing the believer through connecting with other believers. This happened when they went “house to house”. Making disciples does not simply classroom instruction, but living out life stories together.
The older generation can also come along-side “Gen-Fluxers” by helping them see the difference between hating nostalgia (the past) and learning from it. Although the past is not a hitching post, it should be a guide post. Truth is relevant to every generation regardless of culture, philosophy, or innovation. The Ten Commandments come from our past and regardless of what age we live in, it is still wrong to kill, covet, and worship other gods.
“Gen-Fluxers” can be helped by the preceding generations if we stop trying to correct them before we connect with them. We older Christians love perfectly laid-out scriptural arguments and well-reasoned doctrine, but this young generation is more interested in questions like: Am I loved? Is there hope? Do you really care? These are not just lovely ideas but questions that invite encounter. God is not some abstract idea we put in a test tube, but a living Being who longs to touch humanity. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”