By Daryl Crouch
Members of Generation Z may be young—but they are not inexperienced, uninformed, or naïve about the world.
Born from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, these young people have endured institutional dysfunction, threats of terrorism, and social media cynicism.
In such an environment, you might assume they would retreat to themselves and show little interest in the local church—but you would be wrong.
In fact, many of these young adults actively pursue the relationships that a church family offers. They appreciate the clarity of gospel-centered Bible teaching, and they see great value in serving the underserved in the community.
Most encouraging is that they are willing to take a risk to make a difference.
So as you invite Gen Zers to share the ministry through your local church, here are four reasons to be optimistic.
Gen Zers get the gospel
Every volunteer who works in our church ministry completes a ministry application. Among other things, this application asks for a written testimony as well as answers to questions such as, “What is your understanding of the gospel?” and “What people or experiences have been most significant in your growth as a Jesus follower?”
It’s always encouraging to read these applications, but I’ve noticed a greater clarity about the gospel with this generation than with previous ones.
Generally speaking, Gen Zers who follow Jesus do so against the cultural current rather than with it. Their faith is not a moral deism or even a generic Christianity.
In fact, many of them left behind the nominalism of their parents and grandparents in order to embrace the gospel and all of its implications.
Gen Zers sacrifice to serve
Their parents often chased prosperity and platforms, losing pieces of their souls along the way to success.
Many Gen Zers are wise enough to choose a different path. They’re smart, educated, and industrious, but rather than pursuing big careers, they pursue big causes.
When we ask Gen Zers to serve through our church, we’ve discovered that asking big is better than asking small. Rather than asking young adults to do what is easy, we invite them to sacrifice themselves to accomplish what is important.
Who wants to do something anyone can do? Gen Zers want to be a part of something only God can do, and they are willing to take up their cross to join Him.
Gen Zers follow leaders
Few are impressed with titles and positions. That you’ve built a big business or achieved the C-suite means less to this generation than to previous ones.
If, on the other hand, you prove yourself a “doer of the word, and not just a hearer,” Gen Zers take notice. When we show up and serve faithfully, we earn the trust to shape their view of God, the gospel, and our global mission.
Gen Zers care about substantive biblical and philosophical issues affecting the church and culture. But they listen more closely and will follow more faithfully when they see us acting on our convictions.
As we recruit Gen Zers into ministry roles, we find most of them naturally follow leaders who are serving the marginalized, who are sharing their faith, who are growing their small groups, and who are impacting the world in tangible ways.
This means the leaders who are getting things done are the leaders who experience great success in sharing ministry with Gen Zers.
Gen Zers love to learn
This generation has come of age in an era of complexity we never imagined.
All of us are scrambling for language to answer questions we did not know existed. Issues of sexuality, gender, human dignity, and others were mostly assumed until now.
The Bible is sufficient, so there’s no need to be alarmed. But responding to these issues with simplistic, spiritualized clichés is unconvincing.
Gen Zers care about biblical fidelity, but they also care about their peers who have adopted a modern view of life. The tension between Jesus’ kingdom and the world’s system has created a hunger for biblical truth.
So as we invite young adults to come beside us, we notice they are looking for good answers and are willing to learn.
This generation looks to us for theological roots, but they also value a posture of humility and love.
To avoid being tossed with every wind of doctrine, the apostle Paul encouraged the Ephesian church to “speak the truth in love.” That was important in a pre-Christian culture as it is now in a post-Christian one.
The next generation is not coming soon—the next generation is now. These young adults of Generation Z are eager to see Jesus followers following Jesus, and they ready to join us when we ask.
DARYL CROUCH (@darylcrouch) is lead pastor of Green Hill Church in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. He writes regularly on his blog at Crosstied.org, and hosts For Our City, a podcast connecting compassion to communities.