Well, we’re running out of letters to identify generations, but that doesn’t mean we should stop learning about the human up-and-comers. Author James Emery White’s new book, Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World, attempts to explain who these people are and how the Church can reach them.
This book (published by BakerBooks), is written from a Christian point of view, and White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in North Carolina. He also wrote another generation-themed book called Rise of the Nones (which I like to imagine as Rise of the Nuns because it creates a far sillier image) about the increasing number of people who have no religious affiliation.
Meet Generation Z is well-written and insightful, and is an important read for clergy and church members who notice their church populations hemorrhaging young members. While much of White’s beliefs are not in line with mine, he provides valuable insight about the way churches are thinking about people born in the last twenty years.
White uses Pew Research Center data and other reputable sources to demonstrate the shift in the religious landscape, and discusses his concern about the way young people are not only becoming less religious, but also less spiritual (despite their claims to contrary).
Despite wanting to help the Church grow, he does not want to do so at the expense of theological sovereignty. For example, he is critical of Oprah favorite, Rob Bell, who has a more universal approach to religion (and salvation). Instead he lays out several suggestions for the ways people and churches can make their faith and organizations more appealing based upon the preferences of Generation Z and all their selfie-loving-small-attention-span glory.
From a secular standpoint, I still found this book to be helpful and informative, and raises points I hadn’t considered about the way young people see the world. I recommend the book if you wish to understand young people and their habits–especially if your aim is to grow the Church.
Thank you to BakerBooks for the desk copy.