the shape of leadership

Gen Z’s Growth Era

How to encourage development in three areas

Kent Ingle on March 4, 2024

When it comes to an organization’s growth, opportunity creation is critical. One of the biggest mistakes a leader can make is being content with where they are. Reaching the next level of success is determined by setting new goals for development.

And it’s this example that we can apply to every aspect of our lives — from our walks with Christ to our leadership roles. To avoid reaching a plateau, we must keep growing.

Personal growth is contingent on our ability to manage ourselves. In other words, it requires self-management. It starts with being aware of who we are and using those findings to develop our spiritual, emotional and relational health.

According to a survey by Instagram, members of Generation Z are seeking personal growth in 2024. The new year is being termed Gen Z’s growth era.

The 2024 Instagram Trend Talk reveals key findings from social media to fashion, finances and wellness trends, everything at the forefront of the next generation’s thinking. And this year, self-improvement is at the peak of Gen Z’s lifestyle goals.

As young adults focus on personal development this year, there are three areas we can encourage Christian Gen Z to employ self-management.



“What kind of life am I inviting others to imitate?” It’s a question I constantly ask myself. Following Christ in our day has become more of a cliche. Sometimes we introduce the idea as a set of beliefs. We often talk about what we believe rather than how our faith translates into how we live our lives.

When I disciple young adults, I ask them to think of their faith as a personal mission statement. From there, we build a framework for how they cultivate that statement into their lives — ways for them to discover, learn and grow closer to Christ.

A young adult’s spiritual health is critical in their personal development. Why? Because it impacts every aspect of their life. When they truly seek to live as Christ, they embody the gifts and the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23). How they manage their life should reflect Christ and who He is.

Encourage young adults to develop a framework for their spiritual health. Ask them to share practical ways their lives emulate Christ and what areas they can improve. Have them evaluate how they spend their time and how that impacts their spiritual lives. Develop benchmarks to work toward in continually nurturing their spiritual health. And just as important, show them how to do it by your personal example.



If the next generation wants this year to be their growth era, they must create real change in their lives by employing self-management spiritually, emotionally and relationally.

There are moments when we think about something we shouldn’t have said or done. The incident replays dozens of times in our heads. We think how we should have responded and how the outcome could have been different.

This type of reflection is imperative to one’s emotional health. By understanding how we respond to certain situations and what sets us off, we can learn the best ways to respond to any situation.

Emotionally healthy individuals have control of their responses, verbally and nonverbally. They navigate “What if?” situations before they happen. “What unexpected circumstance could trigger my emotions? How will I handle my emotions?” They recognize the short- and long-term consequences of their responses.

Encourage young adults to apply Galatians 5:22–23 to their lives. Ask them what it looks like to embody peace, patience, gentleness, love and self-control in every circumstance. Remind them to implement times of reflection so they recognize and process how they respond in certain situations. Ask them if their actions reflected Christ. Talk to them about what steps they can take to improve emotionally.



One of the most important decisions to make in our self-development is the people we surround ourselves with. The individuals in our close circles can either propel us toward our goals or detract from them. It’s the same way in our faith. They can help us draw closer to Christ or lead us to question our faith.

Relationships are two-fold. When we look at relational health and development, we should analyze how others influence our lives and how we do the same.

Romans 12:10 reminds us to “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Are we encouraging, empowering and coming alongside those around us?

Encourage Gen Z members to recognize the people they surround themselves with. Ask them how they manage time in their relationships and if the people they are closest to further their relationship with Christ. Remind them of the importance of being disciplined about who they spend time with and surrounding themselves with positive influencers who keep them growing.

Take it a step further and discuss how they can help someone else grow. Discuss with Gen Zers how they can demonstrate attributes of Christ in all their relationships. Is there someone close to them they can disciple? Encourage them to build a mentoring relationship that will challenge and encourage them, and vice versa.

If the next generation wants this year to be their growth era, they must create real change in their lives by employing self-management spiritually, emotionally and relationally.

Encourage young people to focus on outcome-based thinking and work backward to define a clear path to success. As they do, remind them that to grow in their personal lives, everything must center on and start through their relationship with Christ.

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