Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Meeting Generation Z

Recently I have been reading a little about the latest generation born between 1999-2001 that have been dubbed Generation Z.  Past classifications such as Baby Boomers, Generation X have prepared us for the next iteration and with hesitation because of the dangers of their massive generalizations we can discern some definite changes and differences. Of course, my grandchildren have already taught me some by their hyper tech savy awareness and immersion into the digital world. Social media is their breath!

This interest was sparked by meeting Jordan Whitmer a couple of days ago when he came to visit us in Cambridge.  He shared how he had passed beyond Generation Z having (just) reached 21 years.  However, as a Gen Z member he demonstrated what he sees as some of the distinctives about this next generation.  When he was 16 he felt God's call to witness to his peers and with 5 friends, using social media, they planned a meeting in their home town of Harrison, Arkansas. They called it How to Life. Expecting a few tens, they gathered 750 teens in a rally where 75 made commitments of faith in Jesus Christ.  Other high schools joined in as news rapidly spread throughout 20 different US states, coast to coast.

A teenager in Wigan read about it which led to How to Life taking off in England with an international conference in 2018 in England and Hamburg.  Jordan was over here because the movement is now spreading to other countries in Europe.  As he puts it: 'Teens listen to other teens more than to any others'!

My day spent with Jordan introducing him to Cambridge and its history was sheer delight.  His interest in Reformation history, his mature self-awareness even as the founder and CEO of this rapidly expanding movement (which could so easily lead to conceit), and his clear vision for winning others made him a memorable visitor.  I learned so much and was encouraged by his perception that among Gen Z there is receptivity to the gospel and when teenagers feel empowered remarkable spiritual things can happen.  I'll mention a couple of things next........

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