Sad to hear that we have lost a great hero of the faith in Eugene Peterson. We will miss him for now, but will still look to the words he left behind. As the next generation attempts to navigate a loud, chaotic, and increasingly post-truth world, where culture is both pervasive and persuasive, we’d do well to point them in the direction of timeless truth for wise counsel from a respected sage.
Here are some of the most prominent Gen Z traits and the truths they need to hear.
Gen Z traits
Truth of God’s Word
|Driven: willing to work hard to achieve success.||Work from the heart for your real Master, for God. Colossians 3:23 (MSG)|
|Relational: love to build tribes and be a part of multiple communities.||The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. Romans 12:5-6 (MSG)|
|Pluralistic: afraid to drive a stake in the ground lest someone be offended.||And I keep praying that this faith we hold in common keeps showing up in the good things we do, and that people recognize Christ in all of it. Philemon 1:6 (MSG)|
So don’t hesitate to go public now. Matthew 10:27 (MSG)
|Compassionate: their hearts are easily moved to concern for others.||The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit – God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion. I Corinthians 2:14 (MSG)|
|Anxious: high levels of stress around achievement, success, and financial stability.|
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG)
|Digital natives: tech-savvy and always connected.||Practically everything that goes on in the world – wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important – has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. 1 John 2:16 (MSG)|
|Egotistical: consumed by building their identity.||Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body. I Corinthians 6:19-20 (MSG)|
|Diverse: crave and seek out variety in their lives.||He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love. The Old Way Has to Go. Ephesians 4:16 (MSG)|
|Post-Christian: anemic faith and biblically illiterate.||God gave these four young men knowledge and skill in both books and life. In addition, Daniel was gifted in understanding all sorts of visions and dreams. Daniel 1:17 (MSG)|
|Motivated: trying to figure out the fastest (and easiest) route to financial security.||Jesus went on to make these comments: If you’re honest in small things, you’ll be honest in big things; If you’re a crook in small things, you’ll be a crook in big things. Luke 16:10-11 (MSG)|
One of the strongest driving forces behind Gen Z is that they desire to make a difference in the world. However, that can only happen if they live a life that’s different than the world. One that leaves a joyful mark–much like the fruit-filled life of Eugene Peterson.