Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A New Generation Means New Methods of Sharing an Old Message

For quite some time the ‘generation of interest’ for communities in general, and specifically faith communities, has been Gen Y or Millennials. It’s a demographic that differs from the boomers, builders, and busters. And just when the experts think they have it figured out, we move onto a new subset of the population: Gen Z-Centennials.
They’re younger, and they have different goals and priorities. And so, the learning curve has to start over for those who are trying to keep up. And by the way, starting now, and for the next few decades, this subset is going to figure substantially in national conversations. That means that we as community leaders, and church leaders, want to know who it is that we are ‘leading’.  In Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World, (Baker Books, 2017) James White gives us a picture of who is included in this generation, and the distinctive that separate them from previous generations.

White divides the book into 2 parts; one part addressing current realities that are facing the church in our Post-Christian world.  Here he includes some research on what we are facing in the west, and moves on to the distinctives of Gen Z, and how their thought processes are being shaped. Part 2 is what the author suggests as a response, and the author talks about being countercultural as a church.  (that seems to follow the example of Jesus---when sin entered the world things got turned upside down, Jesus was all about turning the upside-down upside-down, thus making it right-side-up)
But being counter-cultural means we have to learn the culture we want to address, so that we know how to address members of that culture, without offending them (except with Biblical Truth). Chapter 8 includes some ideas for new approaches to evangelization in this new culture.
There are also some manuscripts of 3 messages that Dr White has preached, and his sermon on gay marriage (Appendix A, p 161) is quite an eye-opener. That teaching tool in itself would be worth the price of this book for anyone struggling with how to address the issue in a loving manner, while staying true to Scripture.
White also provides “discussion questions” at the end of each chapter. The questions can be used for personal reflection, but small groups wanting to learn how to share the gospel would benefit, as would church leadership teams as they plan for the future of their faith community.

      I received this book from Baker Books in exchange for posting a review. I was not required to post a positive review.


No comments:

Post a Comment