They are those born between 1977 and 1984. They've been tagged 'The N Generation' because of the influence the internet has had on their lives. They are the people who have never known life without CDs, computers and mobile phones, so they're technologically savvy and wired to the world 24/7.
So what do they need in terms of leadership? I recently read a book by a business consultant who has done some research on this. Here's the gist of what she says:
- They really do want to be on a team.
- They like diversity - different people and different viewpoints.
- They see politics at work, and don't like it.
- They see work as a means to an end, what they do in order to do what they want to do.
- They respond to leaders who earn their respect, not those who demand it.
- They like leaders who appreciate their talents and creativity.
So how does this affect the way we work with twenty-somethings in our churches? Does it mean that if they have demanding jobs, they may still see their Christian service as their 'real' work?
And what of leaders in their 20s? They will assume that leadership involves teamwork - and be frustrated when the rest of the church is slower to catch on! They will enjoy working as part of a diverse team (sometimes too diverse?). They may be impatient with church 'politics'.
And what does the church need to be like to make the most of rising Gen N leaders?
(Based on: Epiphanies at Work, Jill Malleck, 2005)