Gen Z Children How Does One Even Begin To Approach Them With the Gospel?
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I never imagined parenting teenagers could be this challenging. Sometimes I wonder why Ephesians 6 doesn’t command children not to exasperate their parents. The ideology of western culture has conditioned our teens and children to believe that they can create their identity and become whatever they want.
Groups of young people now identify as furries. They believe gender is fluid. Much of their entertainment ranging from social media to music to streaming services motivates them not only to create themselves but to cancel anyone who doesn’t celebrate their identity of choice. If you attempt to dialogue with them, you are told you don’t love them. We long to help but don’t know how.
In wanting to maintain a relationship with our youth, many have given up engaging them with the gospel.
We don’t even know where to start and we fear them canceling us. When my generation encountered the gospel, someone may have explained to us the rationale for the existence of God, or evidence for the reliability of Scripture, or proofs for the resurrection of Jesus. For most of Gen Z, none of that matters.
Complicating our attempts to share God’s love is the fact that they don’t experience guilt the same way we did. They don’t believe they are accountable to anyone but themselves.
In the last 40 years we have experienced the greatest shift in Western culture’s ideology since the inception of North America. Our culture has moved from assuming God’s existence, to denying God’s existence, to assuming His non-existence. At one time, many knew they had broken God’s law fracturing their relationship with Him. In longing to restore that relationship we were rightly taught to trust the One who kept God’s law perfectly and died in our place.
This generation doesn’t believe God exists and consequently doesn’t believe He has any requirements. Because they don’t know His law, they don’t experience guilt when breaking it. This shouldn’t surprise us, the Apostle Paul wrote, “I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” Romans 7:7 NIV.
Compounding this is the mental heath crisis that was and amplified through COVID. As Jean Twenge wrote in 2018, “iGen is on the verge of the most severe mental health crisis for young people in decades. On the surface, though, everything is fine” iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of Us. Their posts boast a best life ever narrative.
So how does one share the Gospel with a generation who assumes God’s nonexistence, cancels out anyone they disagree with, views dialogue as hate and doesn’t experience guilt when they sin? Where do you even start? As I offer a few thoughts, I want you to know that I’m on this journey with you, discovering how to engage our young adults and teens.
Firstly, we must understand the crushing affects of this philosophy. Young people can’t live up to the persona they have created. Most of them project a ‘perfect’ image on their social media platforms and are called out when they say or do something inconsistent with their persona. Their greatest fear is being cancelled.
Secondly, we need to recognize what they value. Gen Z values diversity, justice, environmentalism, caring for the poor and acceptance. READ MORE