Google just released a study on what today’s teenagers think is cool. Titled It’s Lit, this report focuses on brand recognition and desirability. But hidden within are eight incredible gems that can help today’s church focus in on how to effectively build inroads with the next generation.
1. Get on mobile devices or get out of the game. Phones are now a tangible extension of the teen body. We can dislike it all we want, but if we want to have any type of meaningful impact with teenagers, we need to adjust to this new reality.
Action step – Get an app for your church. Make sure your church website is mobile friendly.
2. Images are king. Instagram is the social media platform most teens are on, followed by Snapchat. Teens are conditioned to respond to and through images like never before. That’s something we can harness for good.
Action step – Get on Instagram and start telling your story through images. There’s less clutter and less spam than there is on Facebook.3. Music needs to emotionally engage them. Here’s a quote from It’s Lit: “Teens think music that makes them ‘feel’ something is cool.” Teens want to be emotionally engaged through music. If we don’t utilize church music as a platform to engage them, we’re the ones missing out.
Action step – Sing their style of music. Don’t expect them to eventually warm up to traditional music any more than you’d ever expect to warm up to medieval Gregorian chants.
4. Teen boys are wired to connect through activities. On top of the ‘coolness scale’ for boys? Video games. Gaming has come to absolutely dominate the world of teen boys. If the church wants to reach them, we need to give them something to do. Inviting them to sit in a circle and talk about the Bible (traditional youth Bible study) holds little to no appeal for them.
Action step – Offer activities as an opportunity for teen boys to connect to the church. (For instance, one of our church’s small groups for teen boys is Woodworking).