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

Baptist Children’s Homes breaks ground for three new foster care homes

Almost 300 staff members and trustees of the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina (BCH), Cleveland County dignitaries, supporters and friends came together on Sept. 11 for the groundbreaking of three new homes near Shelby, N.C. River Hill Refuge, as it will be known, will...

10 principles for leading in church revitalization

Many churches in our world today are in deep need of revitalization. In order to lead your church in revitalization, there are some basic principles you must follow. Here are 10 principles for a revitalizer: Be humble. You must swallow your pride, humble yourself and love even...

What you can do when your church is in decline

Facing reality in churches can be tough. When a faithful, dedicated church member of many years sees the church losing ground as the neighborhood around the congregation changes, painful feelings emerge and uncertainty abounds. This feeling is exacerbated when one’s age puts them...

5 reasons you should care about the new church fostering movement

A new movement is emerging among churches of all sizes. Though in its infancy, this movement has the potential to add a significant amount of energy to the world of church revitalization. The church fostering movement is one you should follow. What is church fostering? It’s good...

Help and Hope: ‘Humanity at its finest’

The remnants of Tropical Storm Fred dumped unexpected levels of rain on western North Carolina last month, pushing the Pigeon River beyond its banks in Haywood County and causing devastation to homes in its path. Aug. 17, 2021, is a date many residents will never forget. “I have...

Baptism Sunday requires volunteer training, preparation, pastor says

As part of Baptism Sunday alongside other Southern Baptists, Mercy Church has several names slated of those to enter the baptistry Sept. 12. But it’s those unplanned baptisms, said Pastor Spence Shelton, that require an extra level of training for volunteers. Of course, anyone who...

20 years later: Baptists on Mission remember 9/11 response

When the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial was closed to the public this summer because of COVID-19 restrictions, Skip Greene drove as close as he could to the gate. Greene, a longtime member of First Baptist Church of Boone, wanted to see the place where he served 20 years ago,...

Tharrington honored for 50 years of service with Baptists on Mission

Lynn Tharrington had two dreams as a little girl — to work in an office and serve as a missionary. Never in her wildest imagination did Tharrington think she would get to do both for 50 years while serving North Carolina Baptists in the same role for the entirety of her working...

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!