Understanding your Students Part 1
I have been wondering for some time about the students that come into our youth room every week. I wonder what battles they are facing, or what they bring to the building weekly. I began to look into some books on Generation Z because I wanted to understand better the generation that sits in our buildings regularly.
I wanted to write a three-week blog on understanding the students in your ministry because I think that we take for granted the chances we have to study the teenagers and people walking into our ministries. For example, how many of us as Student Pastor’s enjoy writing out a full conversation with a student in emoji’s? Generation Z, the students born after 1995-2010, love having the conversation in emoji’s. If we do not include emojis into our text, messages, social media posts, and twitter posts, we may miss or disconnect with these students. I wrote out a full sermon on an Emoji Christmas about a year ago. I took the Christmas story and wrote it in emoji’s so teenagers could understand the Christmas Story, but if I am, to be honest, I wrote it because I wanted them to share the Gospel and the Christmas message to their friends.
One of the things I have learned about this generation is that they have grown up living in a post 9/11 world and a place where the recession has almost always existed. I think about how they live in a different world than we did when we grew up as Millennials, Generation X, or Baby Boomers. The students are coming into our ministries with a mindset of being hard workers, trying to prove themselves, and carrying a lot of weight on their shoulders and minds.
Our job as Student Ministers could not be more critical than right now. Students are not looking for a ministry which has everything figured out and always perfect. The teenagers we are talking about are messy, and they bring in questions that possibly no one else is wanting to ask. Generation Z students are looking for a person and a ministry to walk beside them as they are working through the battles in their life.
Reading through five books throughout 2018 on Generation Z, I have learned that the church has begun to lose a footing with these students. We are now seeing a rise of the nones, the religiously unaffiliated, occur before us. I would encourage the local Student Ministries to keep preaching the Gospel message and to think outside of the box to reach these students. I would tell you to meet students at their schools, coffee shops, or my favorite Chick Fil A. I have seen students open up, ask tough questions, and work through different topics because of meeting them outside of the church.
Generation Z has entered into our ministries. It is time for us to reach this new generation with the Gospel message now. We will look over the next two weeks over ways we can adapt or adopt ways to reach Generation Z. I wanted to give a quick overview and thoughts on this generation before we dived into ways we can reach a population that is 25% of the USA population. Let us begin to pray for this generation and that God would raise this generation up to bring a revival to America.