I have been reading, Faith for Exiles: 5 Ways for a New Generation to Follow Jesus in Digital Babylon. It’s a must read for any youth worker. There are some interesting stats that can help us understand how to reach this next generation better and build resilient disciples.
On their website, they say that only 10 percent of Christians are resilient disciples. How can that be? This is the age-old question why are students losing their faith? Why are they walking away from the church? Are students losing their faith or are they losing faith in the church?
Here is a great image from their :
According to Barna they classify resilient disciples as, “Resilient disciples are Christians who (1) attend church at least monthly and engage with their church more than just attending worship services; (2) trust firmly in the authority of the Bible; (3) are committed to Jesus personally and affirm he was crucified and raised from the dead to conquer sin and death; and (4) express desire to transform the broader society as an outcome of their faith.”
Reaching generation Z is crucial for the church. They are the Pastors and leaders for this generation. If we can’t develop them and use them in the church we will be in a difficult spot.
A few traits that Generation Z are looking for in the church:
People over programs. The church is so programmatic. What is the driver for your ministry or church? When I consult churches on developing cultures that young people would love to attend, I often ask to look over their calendar. It shows what we really value.
Usually on a calendar has a ton of different programs. Never on a calendar is the vision or mission. Young people want to know why. Why would they sacrifice a night of the week for your program? Why does it matter? How will it help them?
Programs are uninspiring. A program will never lead someone to Jesus, but the people at the program will. If the people at the youth night are focus on mission and the vision, there is a movement.
Jesus plus nothing. Resilient disciples are focused on Christ. They know Jesus, experience him, and they are growing in their walk with Christ. How are you helping students read their Bible’s? How are we at discipling?
We are going
I have said this so many times before, if you want to build a discipleship culture, find someone to disciple you. It starts with you, not with a student. Find a mentor. Ask him out for coffee. Pay for the coffee. They ask him or her to disciple you. It’s pretty simple.
There is more potential in this generation. When you look on barna’s website, you realize that there is a mission field if we are ready. If are willing to do the work. To ask Jesus to forgive us that we find job security and safety in programs. We need to be bold in this culture. Generation Z are so passionate about life and the world. They just aren’t passion about sitting in a program waiting for their time to lead.