the shape of leadership

Helping Gen Z Find Purpose

Five ways to reach this generation

Kent Ingle on January 29, 2020

Every generation craves purpose. For Generation Z, this desire is undeniable. A 2017 study by the Lovell Corporation revealed that purpose, passion, and impact are this generation’s motivating forces.

Unfortunately, Gen Z also faces significant challenges. In 2019, 54% of employees under 23 years of age reported feeling anxious or nervous due to stress, compared to 34% of all workers, according to the American Psychological Association.

I see the hope and ambition of these young people. Yet I believe our cultural fixation on Instagram perfection is fueling angst and confusion.

In addition, many members of Gen Z are navigating life without God. In fact, they identify as atheists at twice the rate of older generations, leading Barna Group to call Generation Z the first truly post-Christian generation. No doubt, trying to work through stress without faith or a faith community only adds to their difficulties.

So when it comes to discovering a clear sense of purpose, understanding the divine design God has instilled in them, and overcoming emotional struggles, many young people feel stuck.

Today’s young adults are more willing than older generations to seek professional help for mental illnesses, which is encouraging. Even still, as ministers and leaders who believe in the mighty and powerful work of God, we have a responsibility to show them both where their help comes from and where their purpose lies.

Many members of Gen Z are navigating life without God.

Here are five essential ways we can begin to help Generation Z members discover their purpose:

1. Offer them meaningful discipleship opportunities. The young Christ followers living out their faith among post-Christian peers need encouragement and spiritual training. If they are to thrive and grow in Christ, their first purpose must be following Him in obedience.

2. Inspire them to live confidently without comparing. Living in faith means living a life of joy. If anything can steal that joy, it is believing that the grass is always greener on the other side. Our culture is so wrapped up in this mindset that we rarely even acknowledge it as unhealthy. Nevertheless, comparison can rob us of the joy of discovering God’s purpose for our individual lives.

3. Help them become engaged in community. As digital natives, Gen Z navigates social media with ease. But that doesn’t mean they are truly connected. They need genuine community, friendships, mentors, and places to serve.

4. Teach them reliance on God. Today’s young people feel immense pressure to do it all and be it all — all on their own. But Scripture teaches us to pray in all circumstances and trust God in all things. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

5. Remind them of the Bible’s promises. Many young people are anxious about the future. Like the generations before them, they need to hear that Jesus will be with them always, never leaving them nor forsaking them.

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