In this episode, Janine McNally speaks about the newest emerging group of kids and youth, Generation Alpha, and some of the unique data being compiled to assist in reaching them inside and outside of our ministry settings. Janine also shares about her book titled When You See Fireflies which dives into some of these same principles geared toward reaching Gen Alpha.

Janine McNally

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Episode Notes


Why focus on Generation Alpha?

  • Prepping for teaching courses and came across research on Gen Alpha
  • Mark McCrindle's book – Generation Alpha
  • Decided to focus on the children of the most recent generation
  • 2010-2024 on track to be the largest generation in history (almost 2 billion)

Behind “When You See Fireflies”

  • Her daughter came up with the title
  • For a brief time, fireflies come out and you can direct kids to “come inside” where it's safe
  • The world is getting darker and darker and we need to call them in to where it's safe

Generation Alpha stats

  • The first generation to be born into a world full of technology
  • The “glass” generation
  • Balance between “addicts” vs. “experts” of technology

How should the church respond?

  • Competing with the world to WOW kids probably won't happen; so teach them how to use technology the right way
  • Kids are engaged on social media more than ever before and are lonely, so when using technology we must think about the relationships being built
  • Where can churches do better with relationships?
    • Teaching on a screen is OK; this can be helpful, but not the only engagement
    • Engagement with the material is necessary though so they can express their thoughts and questions
    • Families are busy, so build relationships through the activities they are already doing rather than create MORE things for them to do at the church
    • Get personal by going where families are (leaders taking gifts to homes)
  • The complex world has led to non-nuclear families, absent parents, and redefined norms such as marriage, gender, and moral absolutes; the church can respond by:
    • Address those issues through Scripture and stories by asking and answering hard questions
    • Become relevant by focusing on the hard questions (aggressively)
    • Start tackling topics when questions start
    • Proactively address appropriate issues, at age-appropriate times and in age-appropriate ways
      • MUST HAVE strong relationships for this
    • Let kids do the thinking and problem-solving rather than just teaching the same way it has been done for 50 years

Action Items

  1. Get the book
  2. Read with a team
  3. Come up with 3 adjustments to your ministry

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Special Sponsor: Clearstream

This episode is sponsored by Clearstream. works with thousands of churches worldwide and integrates with tools your church already uses such as MailChimp, Church Community Builder, Rock RMS, Planning Center, and more. You can get started on a free-trial, and if you're with a new church plant under 1 year old can use Clearstream free for 12 months.