Reaching the Irreligious Generation Z

Generation Z use their smartphones for an average of 3 hours a day to consume media. Charles Platiau / Reuters

Among younger generations, the irreligious population is growing. Among Generation Z college students this presents challenges and opportunities for ministry.

Millennials show a decreasing belief in God and views on the importance of religion according to the Pew Research Center. Now, further research is showing the generation behind them, Gen Z, is continuing this slump with only 39 percent ranking spirituality as important. Read more here.

Reaching Generation Z

Born after 1997, Generation Z is beginning to enter college. On-campus ministries are beginning to encounter a generation that is largely un-reached, sometimes hostile, and often curious.

“We’re dealing with a population that aren’t even Christmas-Easter Christians…They’ve never held a Bible in their hand. They’d never had somebody offer to pray for them,” says York Moore, National Evangelist for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and the Executive Director of Catalytic Partnerships.

Moore is finding students are curious about religious practices and religious communities. He believes Scripture can answer the great questions of this generation and address justice and suffering.

The Challenges

Ideas of conversion or evangelism are negatively received among a section of generation Z. Particularly those concerned with ideology and worldview.

“The idea of seeking to convert somebody to convince them of a different ideology is seen as more than a microaggression. It’s actually seen as an injustice,” Moore says. “…they’re seeing the Judeo Christian narrative as not just a dominant worldview, but a dangerous and unjust worldview.”

With this generation, he believes the community and vulnerable body of Christ is the path to reaching them. Though he recognizes how issues of gender and sexual orientation can create a line in the sand.

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Kali Katerberg