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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

On individualism and the present generation

One of the things about the present generation of youth is that they do not want to be labelled as part of any group.

They cannot identity with being Baptists, or Aristotelians, or even specific sports fans for a particular team. This is a rebellion against the previous generations' ideals of belonging to groups, which was a natural phenomenon. Two generations back, the Baby Boomers identified with a community, and this group does not, and we saw a value in groups, while this group does not. We had a community spirit in the Baby Boom generation which Gen Xers did not have. I have taught both Gen Xers and Millennials and I have great hope for the Millennials, who not only seem less materialistic, but also more capable of making an individual decision outside of a peer group. Interesting.

The Millennials, believe it or not, are less television oriented. If a community is going to grow, it will probably be outside the gate, o They are casting around for communities, They are trying to build communities from the ground-up owing to the fact that this group grew up fragmented families and non-existent communities.

The Millenials, being human, have a desire for community, but do not have the structures we had.

Any group which now exists must be built up from nothing. This is a shock to so many in my generation, where we took many different types of groupings for granted.

No more.

The virtual communities are important as so many children and young adults are only children or separated from their families.

One from my generation can only imagine what it must be like to not have the grounding of a community. I wrote in the past few weeks of my social experiences as a teen. This seems so foreign to many youth, who have never experienced organized entertainments or the surrounding formal context of such events.

This psychological situation creates both strong-minded individuals and independent minded youth, who are not looking for conformity, nor desire identification in a group.

Therefore, evangelizing this age group must include an engaging of their stark separateness.

To create communities or to seek out existing ones is the challenge of the Millennials.

To evangelize, one cannot appeal to the idea of belonging to a church or a worshipping community, as this is not a value.

To evangelize, one must encounter a need for the personal relationship each of us needs with Christ and preach to that need.

The problem is also that this generation of youth work on line, mostly, and in groups which are on line. To create a real connection to a real group is daunting. Only the courageous takes those baby steps.