I just finished reading “Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching The New Post-Christian World” by James Emery White. White introduces us to our newest generation. Some have called this generation Snowflakes; born from 1993-2012. I feel it is quite appropriate. White gives supporting evidence that they have been raised by underproductive parents who have allowed so much digital influence that their childhoods (innocence) has been lost. They have 24/7 access to violence, pornography and any other information they wish to have. They have been raised by parents who don’t reject God, just reject any specific religion.
In Part 2 the author goes into America’s history to explain how generation Z came about. For instance, after WWII there was an influx of immigrants who arrived with their world views which gave way to the Bible being challenged. He says fundamentalists retreated which paved the way for great evangelists like Billy Graham.
White pastors a church where their main goal is to reach the unchurched. He gives great reasons for this. Churches will disappear if all you do is cloister yourself and as your congregants age, you eventually lose your numbers.
To entice Generation Z to church, ministers have to change how they approach evangelism. He believes every generation has to translate the gospel into its unique cultural context—not transform—translate.
He gives several ways to do this like adding digital media into the worship service. Generation Z are the ultimate consumers of “stackable media”—evangelism requires visuals. It will also require not only new fresh approaches to content but also new methods of communication. Entice them with “what’s up?” questions. White states that Generation Zers are into the occult. If you question this, just turn on the television. Especially to the CW network. He says it is the blending of the supernatural and science that provides the apologetic opening to Generation Z.
White believes that to reach this new generation we need to think like over-seas missionaries. These missionaries go to the new country. Learn the language and their culture. This is the attitude to reach Generation Zers now; especially in light of their views on sexuality. White upholds the biblical mandate for marriage, but presents his beliefs without hitting them over their collective heads with the Bible that means nothing to them.
I truly enjoyed reading this book and believe every minister and seminary student needs to understand our newest generation and how to reach them.
–reviewed by Jan Goshorn