Age/Interest: GENERATION X


Contribution to mission
Described by many as negative, unable to concentrate and without commitment, Generation X is perhaps seen completely differently by God. "Generation X," says Hans Finzel of CBI, are born between 1965 and 1985, children of the Baby-Boom generation. What can Generation X'ers do to help missions? Here are some points made by Michael Schwartz, publisher of Vox Magazine (Caleb Project), in Denver, Colorado:

  1. Generation-X'ers are relationship-oriented. We appreciate relationships, family and friendship; we are not loners, but need fellowship and teamwork.
  2. We want to be real. We are used to the hard realities of daily life, and are cynical if someone comes along with cheap answers. We try to link daily life with the realities of the Bible, and are honest to ourselves and others.
  3. We are creative. We grew up with TV, video games, movies and computers, and are always on the lookout for that which is fresh, creative and new. We're not bound to the past, but like to develop our own solutions for age-old problems.
  4. A view for the whole. We see life as an integral whole, and recognize that the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual are united in Christ.
  5. A humble, flexible position. We are a broken generation, we have experienced broken families and broken dreams. We have adapted and stood up, prepared to go into a broken world.

Source: Michael Schwartz [<> from the Summer 1997 IMPACT magazine from CBI on Mobilizing Gen X'ers for missions <>] FWD: FRIDAYFax #34, 29 Aug 97 <>


GEN-X Mobilizing
QUESTION From: [Name withheld] What strategies are people using to mobilize gen xers SPECIFICALLY? I am a gen xer myself, and would be interested in any scholarly and practical insights people have used. I'm looking for something deeper than "we make our brochure like gen xers want it". I have heard of some folks with CCC and IV that have done some real solid graduate level research. Does anyone know of this or more? In a sense, I want others to tell me how I was mobilized, and how I can do that with others? Also, has anyone seen some good generational research regarding mobilizing? I have a little, but not much. Finally, anyone out there know of some good research in futuring - forecasting about what the next wave or era will be like? I read a great article in Voice of Vineyard interviewing George Barna (ala Surveys) with some good insight.

ANSWER From: & Jason Butler <> COMMISSION magazine, the Southern Baptist Intl Mission Board mag, focused its most recent issue on Mobilizing Gen X. I would recommend heading to and looking around or asking questions about getting a copy of that issue.Here are some excerpts
GEN XERS IN THE LAST FRONTIER By Erich Bridges ...John R. Mott...led the Student Volunteer Movement, launched in 1886, which helped spur the "second wave" of modern missions... Church historian Kenneth Scott Latourette describes Mott as possessing "a simple faith ... a complete commitment to Christ ... (and) worldwide vision." That pretty well describes, too, many young people today spreading the gospel among unreached peoples of The Last Frontier -- the "third wave" of missions.

The Southern Baptist International Mission Board has a "whole crew of people that are literally willing to die for their people group," says Jim Riddell, associate director of IMB mission personnel selection. "These are people who have bought into this image of living on the edge, this goal of 'all peoples, nothing less,' and they want to do what it takes to reach their people group. This is largely a Buuster and Generation X group...

"They're possibility thinkers," says Lloyd Atkinson, IMB associate vice president for mission personnel... "I don't think a lot of them are interested in just maintaining something someone else started." ...Students don't just accept challenging assignments; they ask for them. "They say, I want to go to a place where nobody else wants to serve, and I'm willing to do what it takes for me to get there,'" explains Mike Lopez, IMB student section chief. "For the most part, they raise their own money ...."

Raised in a tumultuous American society, comfortable with multiple cultures and surfing the Internet, Xers "can live with chaos," observes David Garrison, IMB strategy and mobilization leader and a pioneer in targeting unreached peoples. And more and more of them come to the task well-informed about the thousands of ethnic-linguistic peoples untouched by the gospel. Xers with a taste of The Last Frontier like to sit up all night trading stories about how close they came to the edge while sharing the gospel. They go into unreached villages, make friends quickly and share their faith -- and sometimes get pulled into police stations for questioning...

Not too many years ago, Garrison found little interest in unreached peoples when he talked to students on college and seminary campuses. Now, he says, they seek him out and declare, "I want my life to make a difference. I want a cause worth dying for."