NASHVILLE (BP) – Now more than ever, churches have the opportunity to step into the brokenness of Generation Z with the hope of the gospel, said Shane Pruitt, National Next Generation Director of the North American Mission Board (NAMB).
In a video interview with Baptist Press, Pruitt said the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t creating new problems for Gen Z, it’s “adding fuel” to problems that already exist.
He encouraged churches to point to Jesus as the solution.
“I think an entire generation has realized through the pandemic that the world is broken,” Pruitt said.
“They’re looking for hope and answers, and this is a great opportunity for the church to step in and say, ‘We know you’re looking for hope.’ We know you’re looking for answers. We know you’re looking for truth, and hope has a name. The answer has a name. , Truth has a name, and that name is Jesus.”
The interview with Pruitt is part of Baptist Press’ new weekly magazine, “Baptist Press of the Week.” Episodes are available on the Baptist Press website and on the Baptist Press YouTube channel.
One important way Pruitt mentioned to connect with Gen Z is through social media.
Not only does social media keep this generation informed of all the good and bad things that are happening in the world, he explained, it also creates a strange social dynamic that allows them to be “connected but super lonely at the same time”.
Pruitt said he challenges this age group to prioritize time in God’s Word on social media.
“I often say to teens, ‘If you read one Bible verse for every social media post you read every day, how fast can you get through the Bible?'”
While time is of the utmost importance in God’s Word, Pruitt went on to say that social media can be used for good, even encouraging churches to ask the teens they teach about using other teens’ tips for using social media.
“More than half of the world’s population uses social media, so saying to them ‘Use this for God’s Kingdom’ is part of discipleship,” Pruitt said. “I say that the person who can most effectively evangelize a teenager is another teenager who has a heart beating with passion for Jesus, but the same heart is broken by the spiritual disorientation of their generation.
“I would say sit them down, learn from them, listen to them, and even make them part of the online strategy decision-making process.”
Pruitt encouraged older believers to be “truthful and authentic” about who they are and to preach the same gospel that guides their faith.
“I’ll tell you that in my two years of ministry, I’ve seen more college students, young people and teens saved, probably more than my previous 15 years of ministry combined,” Pruitt said . “It’s because they’re looking for the truth, and we can lead them to Jesus and preach the Word. The gospel that’s been in effect for 2,000 years is still in effect today, and the Bible is always relevant.