May 29, 2011

Reaching Gen X

Born between 1965-1983 (in 2010, 28-45 years old), 21% of the Australian Population.

This generation is not as big as the boomer generation and has been highly influenced by the fact that abortion was legally allowed in this time-span. “You are not wanted” has been echoed to this generation. Gen X is the MTV (musical television) generation that is very comfortable with digital technology; computers have replaced the television influence of the previous generation. The computer revolution ushered in new styles of learning and people began to use their time in different ways. This is the xtreme generation that is expressing itself in individual style with extreme sports and extreme, eclectic dressing, all a search for identity driven by the fact that the parent generation offered so much neglect to relationships.

Young adults in this generation wait around four years longer to get married than their parents, they have more time to travel, to establish a good career and to develop an identity as an autonomous adult. Social connections are largely through the Internet, they are a globally focused generation, travelling often to help out and also focused on local community projects. Within this generation, more women are in the workforce, they are highly educated and are pursuing careers over parenthood. Key events that have helped shape this generation are the death of Princess Dianna in 1997 and the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989). Richard Peace refers to the need to help this generation build relationship with their parents whom they are angry with, many for spending little time with the children as they worked to build their influential businesses. The children now exhibit a hesitant attitude to work, which needs to be understood.

In Australia during this time the Prime Ministers were Bob Hawke and Paul Keating. In technology there was the VCR (1976), the Walkman (1979) and the IBM PC (1981). The entertainment industry experienced INXS, Nirvana, Madonna, ET, Hey Hey it’s Saturday and MTV (musical television). Other experiences and influences were wearing roller blades and torn jeans. Haley’s Comet was seen in 1986 in Australia, the stock market crashed in 1987, the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 and Newcastle experienced a major earthquake also in 1989.

This generation enjoys case studies and is very practical. Learning needs to be relaxed and interactive, round-table style with a relaxed ambience. This group has medium term financial goals and is credit savvy. When it comes to leadership, coordination and cooperation is the most valued experience to offer. This group is not so much wanting to be told what to do but rather they need to see an example and a demonstration. They value achievement and are looking for progression and opportunity.
The use of computer technology, multimedia and music to reach this generation cannot be ignored nor can the fact that when Princess Dianna, the people’s Princess died, the nation of Australia was devastated. Generation X adored this lady as she somehow showed a relational attitude to all and was not about building her own empire. She was with the people, so very defining of this generation. To influence by example not authority needs to be considered in evangelism to this group.


Foundation, Austraian Leadership. "Generational Segments." [accessed March 18, 2011].

Foundation, Australian Leadership. "The Generations Defined Sociologically." (2010).

________. "What Characterises Generation Y Employees." (2010).

Peace, Richard. "Reinventing Evangelism: Telling the Jesus Story through Life, Word and Community - Day 5 Discussions." Pasadena, California, 2010.

________. Reinventing Evangelism: Telling the Jesus Story through Life, Word and Community - Day 5 Powerpoint. 2010.

Wuthnow, Robert. After the Baby Boomers : How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings Are Shaping the Future of American Religion. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.