3 costly assumptions in reaching Gen Z

May 13, 2020

As the millennial generation is slowly moving into middle age, Gen Z is starting to become the generation that is capturing the nation’s attention, and rightly so. Gen Z is set to be a very large and diverse generation. It is exceeding the records set by the millennial generation for its diversity and tilt towards claiming no religious affiliation. Gen Z is also a generation that is digitally native, meaning constant digital connection is normal, even essential.

But Gen Z is also growing up more slowly under the new cultural norm of safetyism. They are less likely to engage in risky behavior and more depressed than other generations at this point in their lives. Just when many churches thought they had figured out millennials, Gen Z has now become the new generation to understand.

But how do we begin to reach them? Their needs are great, yet many of them have no natural connection to a church. In many ways, reaching Gen Z is like reaching someone from a different culture. They may be American by birth and manners, but many of them are foreign to the language, customs and claims of the church. Perhaps we can learn from cross-cultural communication in reaching Gen Z.

Don’t assume they have heard the gospel.
First, don’t assume Gen Z has heard the gospel and rejected it. As more people are raised without going to church or having any contact with Christianity, they know less about the claims of Jesus Christ. They may be curious about the customs of the church and what Christians really believe, but they most likely will not be in church. Be ready and willing to explain the gospel in a non-church setting.

Don’t expect them to understand Christian vocabulary or symbols.
Gen Z is capable of asking very thoughtful as well as basic questions about Christianity. Be willing to talk about what might seem simple information to you, yet don’t get rid of Christian symbols thinking that they are confusing. Symbols can be very good teaching tools and conversational starters. Try using holidays to explain the truth and Christian background behind many of our customs, songs and decorations.

Be ready to listen.
Working with Gen Z will be a process. Have patience and ask as many questions as you can to understand their mindset: What are the truths they hold; what are the narratives they value; what are the issues causing them fear, pain, and depression? Getting to such deep discussions will take time, authentic friendship and care. Though we often think of decisions about Christ being made at an altar call, we should be prepared for more decisions to be made in living rooms, coffee shops and dorm rooms.


Tom Knight
Collegiate Partnerships  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

5 reasons your pastor should take a sabbatical

The word “sabbatical” has different meanings depending on the context in which it is used. It has one meaning in the academic community, another meaning in its biblical usage, and still another in many secular settings. For the purpose of this article, I define sabbatical in...

Baptist state convention to host community blood drive

In response to critically low blood supplies in the region, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina is hosting a community blood drive at its offices in Cary on Thursday, June 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Following is more information about the drive. WHAT:The Baptist State...

Grandparenting: Embracing a God-sized vision

“Isn’t it great to be a grandparent? You get to spoil them and give them back to their parents!” This is a common response when people find out I am a grandparent, but it reveals an incorrect and incomplete view from a biblical perspective. My wife and I are enjoying this phase of...

How to create a comprehensive disciple-making strategy for your church

As summer arrives in full force, it may be difficult to think about fall ministries. Planning, recruitment, schedules and programming lie ahead, but have you ever asked the question, “What if our preschool, children’s, youth and adult ministries were viewed as layers in one...

11 fun ideas to serve children (and families) this summer

One area of concern school teachers have noticed about children returning to school after months of virtual schooling is the delay or regression of social skills. Time away from in-person interaction has caused a lag in the social and emotional development of many children. With...

Twitter hashtag focuses on the good work of Southern Baptists

On a website that often makes social media look terribly anti-social, many Southern Baptists have been sharing some positivity with the Twitter hashtag #ThisistheSBC. As the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting looms, social media posts and conversations about the...

A ‘Revelation 5’ vision for North Carolina

Near the end of his life while exiled on the island of Patmos, quarantined if you will, the Apostle John was given a foretaste of the future. Part of John’s vision recorded in Revelation 5 includes a picture of thousands and thousands of people from every tribe and language and...

On mission through the Cooperative Program

For almost 100 years, the Cooperative Program (CP) has been the primary way Southern Baptists “do” the work of ministry together both here and abroad. Standing on the firm ground of the Great Commission, the CP is an effective tool that galvanizes the missionary zeal of our...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay connected by signing up for the N.C. Baptist monthly newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!