Meet Generation “Z”

El norte vive!Now that “Millennials” are coming of age, a lot of attention is turning to the next generation. Here is an interesting slide presentation about the generation of kids we are teaching today – in this presentation, referred to as “Generation Z” – those born from 1995 to the present.

Meet Generation Z: Forget Everything You Learned About Millennials

Personally, I think the subtitle is a bit of hyperbole – I don’t think the next generation is that radically different that we have to “forget everything” about Millennials. However, there are some interesting points with catechetical implications. Here are a few:

  • they are eager to start working – the Church should explore ways to “hire” young people during the summer to work as team leaders and aids for vacation Bible schools and other such endeavors
  • they intend to change the world – catechists can and should appeal to their idealism in proclaiming the Kingdom of God and inviting young people into mission and service to others.
  • Growing up during the Great Recession has made them resourceful and industrious – catechists can tap into this resourcefulness to invite and challenge young people to develop strategies for helping those in need. Learning will also need to tap into their industriousness, challenging them to create.
  • They learned that traditional choices don’t guarantee success – They may be more open to considering non-traditional choices such as vocations to priesthood, religious life, and lay ecclessial ministry.
  • They are more inclusive and collaborative and worry about the economy and the environment – they may be more open to and interested in Catholic Social Teaching.
  • They are much more multi-racial and ethnically diverse than previous generations and their social circles are global – they may be much more open to learning about the sin of prejudice and pursuing ecumenism and interreligious dialogue.
  • Traditional gender roles have been challenged – they may be more inclined to advocate for an expansion of the role of women in the Church.
  • They live in multi-generational homes – a boon for intergenerational catechesis?
  • They seek education and knowledge – hooray! What catechist wouldn’t want to take advantage of that?
  • They use social media as a research tool – catechists will soon be telling kids to take their cell phones out rather than asking them to put them away!
  • Their attention spans are getting shorter – catechists will continue to need a variety of learning techniques to keep things moving and to engage young people and keep their attention.
  • They communicate with symbols and images – can someone say “sacramentality?!” The Catholic Church is perfectly positioned in this respect since we have a language of symbols!
  • They spend more time with computers – catechists will need to integrate computer technology into learning environments…this will no longer be an option.

What other catechetical implications do you see for catechizing Generation Z?


Photo courtesy of Montecruz Foto via Compfight

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

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