Rather than concentrating on how different Generation Z is, I encourage those wanting to reach young people to focus more on how God is unchanging through the generations. He still desires for that generation to come into and be part of expanding His kingdom: We just need to be willing to flex and learn as we cooperate with Him in that pursuit.
Teenagers today aren’t the same as when I was in youth group in some significant ways, to be sure—but not all is negative. For example, having pretty much grown up in public because of social media, they are more willing to take risks and be more supportive of one another—two great pluses when they’re fired up for God.
Here’s how we at Life Center approach discipling Generation Z:
- Any success we have seen in our ministry to young people is based on a few simple foundations. The value we place on them as a vital part of our church is expressed from the top down; you’ll often see our lead pastor, Joe Wittwer, involved in our youth program as one of the volunteers.
- We encourage all ages to be part of what we are doing. The oldest volunteer at our midweek middle and high school meetings is in her 60s.
- We recognize that our students are better positioned and equipped than we are to reach their peers, so we emphasize developing their gifts for ministry.
- We try to keep our mission constantly in mind, reminding our leaders and students weekly that it’s all about helping people find and follow Jesus.