Reaching the next generation is very important because a church that is not reaching the next generation is a church on the decline. The next generation is not just the future of the church but the church here and now!
In the context of our youth ministry, we are also trying to find creative ways to reach and connect with Gen Z and I am excited for us to reach the next generation together! How come we are not talking about reaching millennials anymore? Well because millennials are not the future church anymore, Gen Z is!
Check this number out: “Generation Z accounted for 2.47 billion (32%) of the 7.7 billion inhabitants of Earth, surpassing the Millennial population of 2.43 billion.” So it is safe to say that Gen Z is the future and present Church. As a matter of fact God used young people to accomplish his mission and vision. He used Mary to birth Jesus. He also used David, Timothy and so many wonderful young leaders.
So how can I reach the next-gen? You say they are always on their phone, on Tik-Tok, Instagram and they use that “snappychat”...well sorry to say that technology and social media will always be around. Instead of complaining about it, teach them the word of God that will last forever.
The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8
Jonathan Morrow said this “Gen Z has been discipled by their smartphones, taught sex ed by Google, and conditioned to assume that just because they believe something makes it true.” Another study said, “Only 46% of the next-gen Christians turn to the Bible for moral guidance” Just a thought ... Have we made Google our “god” instead of running to the BIG GOD. Look, I love Google. I use it a lot but I should not get my moral guidance from Google without looking into the word of God first or seeking Godly advice.
Another guy by the name Dupri Wells put it this way, “Gen Z has been discipled by their parents, taught sex ed by the Bible, and believes the BIBLE IS TRUE ABOVE “CULTURAL TRUTHS.'" This is my hope and my prayer for the next generation!
So real quick, here are the key elements of reaching the next generation. C.E.O. = Connection, Engagement, and Opportunities
Has your phone ever been on 1%? It is kind of scary and you pause everything to make sure you get your phone that charger. Once it is charged it’s ready to GO! The same thing happens in life! Life is draining, work is stressful, and then the next thing we know we are frustrated, depressed, and angry. This is why WE must stay connected to the Father! With a generation that is depressed, filled with anxiety and fearful they desperately need a direct connection with our Heavenly Father.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
If you are a parent, leader, or pastor. how are you creatively connecting them to the word of God? They need a connection with you and others. We were designed to do life together with others! God wants us to connect with his people. The next-gen needs a connection with other Christian believers! These 2 things will never change. Why? We were made to LOVE GOD and LOVE PEOPLE! We must connect with God and connect with his people. 46% of teenagers feel better when they connect with someone other than a family member when lonely - (Barna.)
When I am talking about engagement I’m not talking about gimmicks or awesome bumper videos they can get from youtube like Mr.Beast). I’m talking about SPIRITUAL MILITARY ENGAGEMENT! A military engagement in combat between two armed forces.
Here is the truth to this: We are armed with the Sword of the spirit (Word of God) and the enemy is armed with his fiery darts! We know the battle we fight is not against flesh and blood but evil rulers!
We have 262 months (18 years) to train the next generation to prepare for the spiritual battle. Pastors, leaders, and teachers will have an even shorter time than that.
1 in 8 U.S Teens have a biblical view of sex and marriage 46% of U.S Christian teens say they never read the bible. -Global Youth Culture
These numbers break my heart because we are raising a generation that is unarmed and underprepared. Parents, you must be in your word so you can train and prepare your teens for the spiritual battle ahead of them! We must train the next gen to put on the full armor of God and pick up their weapon. So leaders, pastors, and parents we must teach them to follow God because if not this world will teach them not to...
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
How are you prepping the next generation for battle?
Gen Z are producers and not consumers. Give the next generation opportunities to lead, give them opportunities to serve, allow them to host a service, and even give them an opportunity to preach a service (obviously with some guidance). They want to be in the game! They want to make a difference right now! So why wait? With some training, practice, failure, and learning opportunities they can help build the Church now.
What I love about God is that he used young leaders to reach others. That is why it is important for us to empower them and equip them to do the work of the ministry. A lot of times people look down at them when we should be encouraging them.
Paul told Timothy this in scripture: "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and purity." A church that believes in the PRESENT NEXT GENERATION will have a FUTURE CHURCH! Let’s do this together!
Which point would you say that you need to improve on?