Posted: 2/25/19 at 10:40am. Post by Tony Brooks.
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 in purity. (I Timothy 4:12 NIV)
We have a new generation to consider, as they have surpassed the Millennials as the largest generation and the first post-Christian generation.
One of the best books to read is Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the Post-Christian World by James Emery White. I would recommend every student minister, children’s minister, and youth/children’s teacher read this book. My wife, Katrina, shared the book with me recently for some meetings with youth ministers and youth ministry committees.
Things that define this generation: Great Recession, WiFi enabled, multi-racial, and sexually fluid (terms straight from White’s book). So how do we teach and minister with Generation Z? Here are some ideas:
- They are tech-savvy. As a teacher, you can be sure they are going to get opinions from around the world on their smartphones for every truth you try to teach. Don’t just use the curriculum; do research online. They use their smartphones more than they watch television.
- They want a two-way dialogue. Gone are the days of just sharing what you know! They want to discuss and be a part of the communication. Lecture doesn’t work! (It hasn’t for years! Only about 5% of what you share will be remembered in three days.)
- They want to tackle tough social issues. Are you prepared to talk about tough issues like sexuality, racism, abortion, and more? They want to talk about these issues, and they want to know you are open to discussing them.
- They need face-to-face community. Their world is global through social media (but not Facebook…their parents are on Facebook.) They spend so many hours connecting through media but need to work on social skills and face-to-face community without bias. Model the love of Christ!
- They want to co-create culture—and they do. They have an entrepreneurial spirit! They would like to lead in discussions and create new opportunities to grow. Consider giving them parameters along with resources for scripture and commentaries and allow them to present the information they find. Over the years I have done this with two teams in a debate-like setting. All come away with a tension of “working out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (from Philippians 2:12 NIV).
We cannot teach the way we did in the past! Help them set the example in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity.