Gen Z is coming of age, and with that, they are changing the way we see the truth. The truth has been passed down from authority figures like doctors, lawyers, and professors for the longest time. But Gen Z is a social generation; they see it as something that comes from how many people believe it and how many shares and/or likes it gets. They see truth as something to be discovered in the context of community, not to be dictated to them by authority figures.
Institutions have had their closets emptied of skeletons, revealing various abuses of power or worse. Gen Z doesn’t trust that those places have their best interests at heart. That also means they don’t believe in a lot of what those institutions have to say.
We have to do the hard work of entering into their world and giving guidance on discovering the truth in a way that makes sense to them.
We eat the meat and spit out the bones, but our worldview revolves more around concepts and ideas than people.
For them, their worldview revolves around people. A crooked person means crooked truth.
The good news is that truth can be found in both institutions and people. We have to guide students to the truth in a way they can trust.
Here are three ways we use to guide this generation in their quest for truth effectively:
Give them content from good sources through mediums they understand.
Students love YouTube, Tik Tok, and Instagram, to name a few. Fortunately for us, many great communicators of Gospel truth are putting out content in those spaces. Encourage them to engage that material by sharing channels and specific pieces of content with them. That could even be a weekly thing you do for your youth community.
Also, always leave the door open for discussion about that content; in fact, we suggest that you encourage it. That will help you know what content they are engaging in based on how they respond to it, which means you can send them more of what is working.
Be open to exchanging content with them.
Being willing to watch and listen to whatever is influencing them shows that you are genuinely interested in them and their journey. It also models for Gen Z that it’s okay to have different opinions as long as they are willing to listen and respectfully engage with the other side.
This makes them more open to looking at the content you send and more willing to engage with you in conversation. Also, even if they don’t believe in Jesus yet, you’ve shown them it’s okay to be in relationship with people who do believe, and this gives them the freedom to hang around and build a deeper relationship with you.
Make it clear that they get to choose what they believe is the truth.
Students feel like they have a lot of things imposed on them by the world around them. That makes it vital that we communicate that following Jesus is their decision. It allows them to feel the weight of giving their lives to Jesus, and because it’s different from what they usually experience, they will take it seriously. It is also vital that we don’t treat them differently while thinking through what they believe is true. That communicates to them that they are loved regardless of their decision and gives them room to think more deeply about Jesus instead of being rejected by us.
Jordan Francis is part of the Reframe Youth team in Phoenix, Arizona.