More and more, churches need to be equipped to disciple Generation Alpha — the generation born between 2010 and 2025. Here are 10 tips from Children & Family Ministries Strategist Cheryl Markland about how we can train this next generation.

Today’s children born between the years of 2010 and 2025 are known as “Generation Alpha.” The term Generation Alpha was coined by Australian researcher, Mark McCrindle, to mark this generation as the first to be born entirely in the 21st century. 

This generation’s start date, 2010, is also the year of the launch of the iPad and Instagram. “App” was the word of the year. 

Alphas are digital natives and easily navigate the technology on which many of them are dependent. Without adequate supervision, many Alphas struggle physically and educationally due to overuse of technology, which can lead to sedentary lifestyles and short attention spans. Excessive access to social media can lead to emotional and mental health issues. Exposure to information that is beyond their developmental ability to process can lead to fears and anxiety. 

On a positive note, however, this generation thinks globally and considers how their actions affect others, especially in efforts to protect the environment.

Each generation has historical markers that impact and define their development. For Generation Alpha, COVID-19 has been the benchmark event that has shaped their lives. Political discord magnified by COVID-19 decision making — masking, vaxxing, to meet or not to meet — drove a wedge in churches and communities. Education by Zoom and working parents left many children behind in their educational, social and spiritual development. Social distancing and life on social media have created a need to help this generation with essential communication skills.

As children’s leaders, what can we do to assist, disciple and train Generation Alpha?

  1.  Communicate and listen well. Model eye-to-eye contact. Ask open-ended questions that foster the need for complete responses. Ask for input, opinion and “what-ifs” to develop critical thinking skills.
  2. Help them go beyond “likes” in receiving and offering feedback and helpful criticism.
  3. Help them learn to evaluate information and discern and define “capital-T” Truth through a biblical worldview.
  4.  Design teaching for collaborative effort.
  5. Create spiritually safe spaces for questioning and exploring God and His plan for their lives.
  6. Teach them something that Google can’t. Encourage wonder, worship and the mystery of God.
  7. Counter the impact of influencers as our children learn to understand their personal identities as creations made in the image of God.
  8.  Partner with parents in communicating what you are teaching.
  9. Allow your personal discipleship to overflow into your discipleship with others. Be sure you are prepared as you prepare to lead.
  10.  See the children you teach as fellow disciples of Christ who need your commitment to building relationships with them.

It is often said that children are the church of tomorrow. Generation Alpha says that if you want them to be the church of tomorrow, teach them how to be the church of today.