Generation Z,” or Gen Z, the generation born after 1995 has grown up as digital natives. What can we do to reach this younger generation, which is more likely to be spiritually and biblically illiterate than any previous, and to shepherd the faith of Gen Z within the church? While it is tempting to use generational research to develop highly contextual approaches to evangelism that meet young people exactly where they are, such attempts often function as poor imitations of the very fads our culture is selling. This is how we end up with the “youth group as pop concert” or “Christian film as evangelism tract” phenomena. At best, this approach grabs the attention of young people for the short term (though it often fails even to accomplish this); at worst, it offers cheap entertainment in place of the deep roots needed for faith to survive in a post-Christian culture. In our witness to Gen Z, we must take the long view, recognizing that witnessing is more often planting seeds of faith than harvesting the fruit.
This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with Journal author Kyle Keating about his article “Making the Christian Story Plausible and Desirable to Generation Z” in the 43:3 issue of the Christian Research Journal.
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