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Barna: The Techno Generational Gap in the Church

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image New research by The Barna Group shows the divide between different generations and how they approach the new media. This is helpful for church leaders and outreach folks to get a hold of in order to plan more effective ministry to different generational groups.  Most churches are adequately reaching the Boomers and the Busters but the church technology is way behind in addressing the younger generations where they live.

Here’s some of their conclusions:

    Even though young people are sometimes called the “Net Generation,” every age segment is becoming dependent on the Internet. In fact, because Boomers and Busters represent about two-thirds of the adult population, they are far more numerous users of technology than are adults under the age of 25. For instance, the majority of online purchases are made by those between the age of 30 and 55. And many of the bloggers, music downloaders and users of social networking websites are from the Boomer and Buster cohorts.
    Still, despite the preponderance of middle-age technology users, the nation’s youngest adults (Mosaics) are light-years ahead in their personal integration of these technologies, even blazing beyond the comfort of Busters. While Busters differ dramatically from their predecessors, Mosaics are even further down the path of integrating technologies into their lifestyles. On effect of this is that younger adults do not think of themselves as consumers of content; for better and for worse, they consider themselves to be content creators.
    All Americans are increasingly dependent on new digital technologies to acquire entertainment, products, content, information and stimulation. However, older adults tend to use technology for information and convenience. Younger adults rely on technology to facilitate their search for meaning and connection. These technologies have begun to rewire the ways in which people – especially the young – meet, express themselves, use content and stay connected.
    For church leaders, it is notable that a minority of churchgoing Mosaics and Busters are accessing their congregation’s podcasts and website. While technology keeps progressing and penetrating every aspect of life, churches have to work hard to keep pace with the way people access and use content, while also instructing churchgoers on the potency of electronic tools and techniques.
    Since technology is pervasive, many of the age-old questions about human development and human flourishing are taking on new dimension. How does technology help or hinder communication, or for that matter, relationships between the generations? Are social skills better or worse? Are reading and writing skills improving or not? And what does adequate preparation for tomorrow’s workforce look like? Educators, parents, youthworkers and other leaders must continually fine-tune their responses to these issues.


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