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Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World

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Move over Boomers, Xers, and Millennials; there's a new generation--making up more than 25 percent of the US population--that represents a seismic cultural shift. Born approximately between 1993 and 2012, Generation Z is the first truly post-Christian generation, and they are poised to challenge every church to rethink its role in light of a rapidly changing culture. From t Move over Boomers, Xers, and Millennials; there's a new generation--making up more than 25 percent of the US population--that represents a seismic cultural shift. Born approximately between 1993 and 2012, Generation Z is the first truly post-Christian generation, and they are poised to challenge every church to rethink its role in light of a rapidly changing culture. From the award-winning author of The Rise of the Nones comes this enlightening introduction to the youngest generation. James Emery White explains who this generation is, how it came to be, and the impact it is likely to have on the nation and the faith. Then he reintroduces us to the ancient countercultural model of the early church, arguing that this is the model Christian leaders must adopt and adapt if we are to reach members of Generation Z with the gospel. He helps readers rethink evangelistic and apologetic methods, cultivate a culture of invitation, and communicate with this connected generation where they are. Pastors, ministry leaders, youth workers, and parents will find this an essential and hopeful resource.


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Move over Boomers, Xers, and Millennials; there's a new generation--making up more than 25 percent of the US population--that represents a seismic cultural shift. Born approximately between 1993 and 2012, Generation Z is the first truly post-Christian generation, and they are poised to challenge every church to rethink its role in light of a rapidly changing culture. From t Move over Boomers, Xers, and Millennials; there's a new generation--making up more than 25 percent of the US population--that represents a seismic cultural shift. Born approximately between 1993 and 2012, Generation Z is the first truly post-Christian generation, and they are poised to challenge every church to rethink its role in light of a rapidly changing culture. From the award-winning author of The Rise of the Nones comes this enlightening introduction to the youngest generation. James Emery White explains who this generation is, how it came to be, and the impact it is likely to have on the nation and the faith. Then he reintroduces us to the ancient countercultural model of the early church, arguing that this is the model Christian leaders must adopt and adapt if we are to reach members of Generation Z with the gospel. He helps readers rethink evangelistic and apologetic methods, cultivate a culture of invitation, and communicate with this connected generation where they are. Pastors, ministry leaders, youth workers, and parents will find this an essential and hopeful resource.

30 review for Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World

  1. 4 out of 5

    Thaddeus

    The beginning of this book was quite an interesting analysis of the statistics about Gen Z (or iGen) and the factors that influence and shape this generation. The author does a good job of looking at how factors such as technology, social media, trends in pop-culture and even economics play into how Gen Z thinks and thinks about itself. I thought his points on the effects of a generation that has grown up never knowing a time where smartphones didn't exist and technology wasn't a part of every a The beginning of this book was quite an interesting analysis of the statistics about Gen Z (or iGen) and the factors that influence and shape this generation. The author does a good job of looking at how factors such as technology, social media, trends in pop-culture and even economics play into how Gen Z thinks and thinks about itself. I thought his points on the effects of a generation that has grown up never knowing a time where smartphones didn't exist and technology wasn't a part of every area of life was particularly enlightening into understanding the mindset of this young generation. The author also offers some good insights into how Gen Z thinks, processes and receives information, how they make decisions and assign values to things and what is unique about the way they communicate and share information. These insights could prove very useful to churches and ministries or individuals who would want to increase their Gospel-effectiveness in reaching this generation in a way that would be readily understood and accessible. I think the author does an OK job of trying to keep the Gospel message at the centre, however, the heavy emphasis on being 'relevant' may hinder that significantly at some points. For example, his church's use of an 'emoji video chat' to share the Christmas message was a bit too much for me and probably goes beyond the bounds of mere Gospel-translation to the culture to a significant loss of clarity and content of the Gospel itself. This is always the danger with 'seeker-sensitive' attractional movements and forms of ministry (although, I don't think the author himself would describe himself necessarily as seeker-sensitive or part of the church growth movement). I'd have to strongly disagree with some of the proposed methods that the author puts forward with regards to changing the shape and method of your ministry to reach out to Gen Z. I'd also have to strongly disagree with what I perceived to be the author's anthropology or theology of man and his sinfulness... it seems like the author thinks that all people apart from Christ are actively seeking Him (in contradiction to Romans 3 and to a Reformed understanding of the depravity of man). However, the book is not totally without worth and there are many very insightful nuggets that would prove useful to many. As with all books, I'd say read it discerningly, taking the good and leaving behind the bad. There is much truth to be gleaned - especially in the area of learning more about what makes Gen Z tick and how to effectively communicate the Gospel to them... but there is also a lot to be said of just how far we should go without compromising the essentials of the Gospel and of historic church structures. The old reformed maxims of 'the regulatory principle' in worship may have something to say to this. Ultimately, all our ministry must be done to the glory of God - we don't do that by jettisoning His Word and His instructions on worship and the church. However, there is also much flexibility as to the form that Gospel-ministry may take and yet hold faithful to those things. I'm interested in checking out "Gospel Fluency" by Jeff Vanderstelt and "Giving Up Gimmicks" by Brian H. Cosby which may offer some further insights... some youth ministers may find the information (especially the stats and analysis of Gen Z) useful, if applied in a way that seeks to honour God and His Word above 'attractional' styles and catering to only one demographic. The worry in all of these attractional-based models of church ministry is that you spend so much time and energy trying to make your church 'relevant' that you lose all distinctiveness from the world, and also you find yourself at the end of it - still behind the times and not 'cool' enough to fit in - because the rate of change of society these days is so fast, and the church will never be cool. We weren't made to fit in to this world, but we were made to live missionally in this world. One thing is certain, Gen Z does pose its own unique challenges to Gospel-driven ministry.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    White says we are facing a cultural challenge reflected in a new generation. Those who identify their religious identity as “nothing” has risen to 23 percent in the U.S. Former Christians now are at 19 percent of the U.S. adult population. We may be coming into the reality of a post-Christian world, he says. The Western church has not grasped this reality nor prepared an adequate response. White has written this book to help the church understand this growing culture. He looks into the latest res White says we are facing a cultural challenge reflected in a new generation. Those who identify their religious identity as “nothing” has risen to 23 percent in the U.S. Former Christians now are at 19 percent of the U.S. adult population. We may be coming into the reality of a post-Christian world, he says. The Western church has not grasped this reality nor prepared an adequate response. White has written this book to help the church understand this growing culture. He looks into the latest research, introduces Generation Z, identifies how the family context is changing, and explores a response by the church, including a new approach to evangelism and apologetics. White knows this subject. The church he leads has over 70 percent of their growth from the unchurched. Their demographics have skewed younger every year for the last decade. He suggests that his church is reaching this post-Christian generation. This book is certainly thought provoking. Exploring how Christians have recently related to society, White asks, “So if the fundamentalist approach did not work (becoming cloistered), and neither did that of the Religious Right (becoming combative), what will?” (79) He has many great suggestions for developing evangelism and apologetics for today's culture. I highly recommend this book for pastors and church board members who desire to understand their church and its mission in this post-Christian culture. You will get some very practical ideas on how to be culturally engaged. Discussion questions at the end of each chapter will help groups analyze what White has written and move forward with action. Food for thought: “God should look good on us to others.” (82) “Never before have the habits of the mind mattered more.” (86) I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    Very eye-opening read on the newest generation and the unique aspects about them that require some thoughtful examination of the current ways we seek to reach them. The strengths of this books are the statistics, studies, and personal interviews that allow you to understand from a variety of different levels what defines this generation. Chapter 2, in particular, was the most helpful and informative. I pulled so much out of there that I can directly apply to my context. I also found the chapters Very eye-opening read on the newest generation and the unique aspects about them that require some thoughtful examination of the current ways we seek to reach them. The strengths of this books are the statistics, studies, and personal interviews that allow you to understand from a variety of different levels what defines this generation. Chapter 2, in particular, was the most helpful and informative. I pulled so much out of there that I can directly apply to my context. I also found the chapters on Rethinking Evangelism and Apologetics for a new Generation very needed and helpful. We can't spend our time defending against arguments the Generation Z isn't even thinking about. I thought part 2 was helpful but at times was too specific to his context. North Carolina is very different than other places in the country and I think Meet Generation Z would've been stronger if voices of Christian leaders across the country in a variety of contexts were included. This would provide a wider range of application. For example, in the final chapter, James develops a point that "discipling your mission" is integral to all of this. I was very challenged and intrigued by that point. When it came to application, however, he made the point, "The weekend service must be at least for now the front door of the church for outreach." That may be true in North Carolina but I don't see that where I am at. An application step from a pastor in NYC and one in Rural North Dakota would help broaden his findings to a variety of churches. Overall though I found this book very helpful and would highly recommend it to any pastor, teacher, coach, educator, or youth worker trying to understand the intricacies of Generation Z.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Isaac Sevlie

    By far the most culturally significant spiritual book I have read in the last calendar year besides the Bible. Simple, easy to read, and full of good practical information.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tim Floyd

    I was VERY disappointed in this book. I have read numerous generational studies books, this was not one of them. The first two chapters consisted of actual Gen Z research, mixed with various references to op-ed articles from a variety of sources with which I found to either be dated sources or loosely connected related to younger generations (but very few specific to Gen Z). The remaining six chapters consisted of a very limited brand of Christianity. It reminded me of a "Make Christianity Great I was VERY disappointed in this book. I have read numerous generational studies books, this was not one of them. The first two chapters consisted of actual Gen Z research, mixed with various references to op-ed articles from a variety of sources with which I found to either be dated sources or loosely connected related to younger generations (but very few specific to Gen Z). The remaining six chapters consisted of a very limited brand of Christianity. It reminded me of a "Make Christianity Great Again" mindset, I'm not into that at all. Anyone actually interested in Gen-Z would do better to pick up an actual research book with fewer opinions and political influence and a more data-driven focus.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shane Walters

    I would class this as a must read for anyone doing ministry today!!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Megan Sybrant

    The author has thoroughly studied out this upcoming generation. I found the insights, stats & analysis about Gen Z fascinating & helpful. He goes fairly in depth about that generation. Part 2 was by far the most insightful. He also talks a lot about how we are in a crucial church culture shift & i thought his theories behind that were interesting & made sense. However, the last section was more of “application & next steps” & he referenced what his church does & implements a lot. Which is great, The author has thoroughly studied out this upcoming generation. I found the insights, stats & analysis about Gen Z fascinating & helpful. He goes fairly in depth about that generation. Part 2 was by far the most insightful. He also talks a lot about how we are in a crucial church culture shift & i thought his theories behind that were interesting & made sense. However, the last section was more of “application & next steps” & he referenced what his church does & implements a lot. Which is great, but clearly one mold doesn’t solve it all for Gen Z. And, as he talks about culture being so different & so relevant, he kinda fails to mention that church culture is different on the east coast than the west coast. Some of the suggestions he had for reaching Gen Z were unrealistic for the types of churches I have particularly worked with. Overall though, an excellent read for youth ministry workers & pastors looking at propelling their church forward with Gen Z.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    During my years of ministry with youth, college students, and young adults there have been so many books that attempt to analyze each generation and they ways in which they perceive the world. The most recent book I've read in this genre is by James Emery White entitled "Meet Generation Z." White is a former seminary president (Gordon Conwell) and a pastor in Charlotte, NC. He begins by describing our current cultural context as an age in which a post-Christian mindset is becoming more and more p During my years of ministry with youth, college students, and young adults there have been so many books that attempt to analyze each generation and they ways in which they perceive the world. The most recent book I've read in this genre is by James Emery White entitled "Meet Generation Z." White is a former seminary president (Gordon Conwell) and a pastor in Charlotte, NC. He begins by describing our current cultural context as an age in which a post-Christian mindset is becoming more and more prominent. About 30% of adults under the age of 30 now claim no specific religious affiliation. The have come to be known as the "Nones" because when asked about their religious affiliation they tend to mark the "none" response. The combined factors of secularization, privatization, and pluralism have created an environment in which the church has lost much of its influence and no longer represents the predominant world view of this generation. In Chapter 2 he goes on to list five defining characters of Generation Z. They are Recession Marked, Wifi Enabled, Multiracial, Sexually Fluid, and Post Christian. Being "recession marked" refers to the impact of the Great Recession as their main economic memory. This causes them to be more entrepreneurial while also wanting to make a difference in the world. Although their older counterparts, the Millennials have been referred to as "digital natives," Gen Z is even more immersed in technology living their entire lives with the "internet in their pockets." They are the most racially diverse and inclusive generation so far. And they are sexually fluid, with great acceptance of gay marriage and transgender identities. Finally, post-christian is how White describes their basic understanding of spirituality. All of these characteristics tend to flow from their highest value of individual freedom. For Gen Z more so than any other generation, affirmation equals acceptance. Chapter 3 touches on the issue of how Gen Z has come to be so self-directed and indicts Gen X parents as enablers. Being fearful of over-parenting and over-protecting, many parents have erred on the side of under-protecting...leaving Gen Z literally to their own devices. Although they have endless amounts of information, they have little wisdom and virtually no mentors! The role of the counter-cultural church is discussed in chapters 4 and 5 and White challenges the church to be the "called out ones" (ecclesia is the greek word which is translated as church and means "called out ones.") Unfortunately, the church often postures itself either as cloisterd (disconnected from culture) or combative (culture wars) instead of being engaged with culture. If the church would stay on its mission of helping people simply follow Jesus well, more cultural change would be affected. The church has to reclaim its prophetic voice and translate the Gospel for the current culture without transforming its message. Here he cautions the church to change methods but not change the message. This of course presents a real challenge for a demographic that equates affirmation with acceptance. So care must be taken to communicate well a Christian worldview which is the only worldview which really supports the value and meaning of a human life. According to a secular worldview, the human is really just a product of chance. Rethinking Evangelism is the focus of chapter 6 and involves recapturing the idea of process, orienting heavily towards explanation, and communicating in quick engaging ways. Remember, if Gen Z is post-christian and biblically illiterate, we will need to use an Acts 17 vs. and Acts 2 model of evangelism. In Acts 2, the apostles were speaking to a religiously literate crowd with heavy Jewish influence and background. But in Acts 17, on Mars Hill, the apostle Paul is dealing with a much more secular crowd of people. So we need to be creative (as Paul was in Athens) and visual as we communicate the message of the Gospel and talk about Jesus in effective bridge-building ways. White suggests in chapter 7 that our two most fruitful "bridges" to cross when communicating spiritual truth to Gen Z involve their tendency towards belief in the supernatural (paranormal activity, horoscopes, spirituality, etc) as well as their appreciation for cosmology--a basic awe and wonder when it comes to science and the universe. Gen Z is perhaps more open than recent generations to the idea that science may not be able to fully explain reality. Chapter 8 is all about the "decisions" which White's church (Mecklenburg Community Church) has made in order to effectively reach younger generations and would really be a great chapter for any pastor to read and consider. Some of the philosophical decisions they have made as a church might be considered a bit radical. For example, they have made a commitment to "Skew Young" by hiring young leaders, putting young adults on the platform, and generally acknowledging their younger audience. Those of us with ANY experience in church leadership know how this can potentially alienate some of the older folks in congregations. But White is for prepared for response to that kind of backlash. "Hey, it's not about you." The book is conclude with 3 sermon manuscripts which give you a good idea of how he pastorally engages some difficult topics and again, pastors especially might find these appendices as quite practical and illustrative. So here's my take on "Meet Generation Z:" Keep in mind, that it is written by a pastor There are helpful observations about this currently emerging generation but they aren't purely sociological observations Rethinking Evangelism is something we have always had to do for every generation. White's emphasis on being focused on process, explanation, & communication can lead to some great insights The Five Characteristics are descriptive but not exhaustive (in my opinion) As the parent of 3 Gen Zers, it challenges me to effectively pair truth & grace in my conversations about faith with my own kids...as well as with college students and young adults in my ministry Helping the church engage culture instead of becoming cloistered and combative is crucial. As someone engaged not only in a local outreach to University students (see more on The 86 Coffee Bar at the University of Cincinnati) but also as someone helping catalyze and resource campus ministry initiatives with church (see the Campus Mission website) I gained some very helpful insights from Meet Generation Z. Although this is the first book of Dr/Pastor White that I've read, he is obviously not a one-hit-wonder. He has several other books worth looking into. You can find more of that here.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Johnathan

    I went into this book expecting a fight. Being that I am what Dr. James Emery White would classify as a "none," I do believe this book owns a few perspective misconceptions. However, Dr. White offers enjoyable insight. He has intellectually defined some of Christianities greatest hurdles. His willingness to offer acceptance while maintaining character integrity is irreproachable. Dr. White does not run from, but embraces the growth of science as it leads toward religion.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    This was a very helpful book. I cannot recommend it highly enough for any church leader or pastor who is committed to reach the next generation for Christ.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Robert Booth

    Excellent book. He does go on a few rants that I could have lived without, but he is the author :) If you want to begin to understand gen Z, this is the book to start with.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    3.5 Some fear-mongering. But a good call to arms.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    So we've apparently entered into a new generation now that Millenials are moving towards their 40s. Generation Z is the Generation born after 1994-2000 (depending on who is setting the parameter). As someone who works with both youth and young adults in church, I picked this up in order to better understand this cohort. It's the first book I've come across that deals with this age group specifically, and I found the first half of the book enlightening. The defining characteristic of Gen Z is tha So we've apparently entered into a new generation now that Millenials are moving towards their 40s. Generation Z is the Generation born after 1994-2000 (depending on who is setting the parameter). As someone who works with both youth and young adults in church, I picked this up in order to better understand this cohort. It's the first book I've come across that deals with this age group specifically, and I found the first half of the book enlightening. The defining characteristic of Gen Z is that they have always had access to the smartphone, which has huge implications in many areas of their lives. They are also a generation that is abandoning organized religion in numbers not seen before. They are not leaving the Christian faith for another religion, but rather are those who would check off the box "none" when asked about religion on a census. Those who work with this generation will need to basically start from scratch and assume no religious knowledge or connection of any kind. This blank slate presents both challenges and opportunities. As I said, the first half of the book offers a lot of great information about Generation Z and the implications for youth pastors and pastors in general. The second half casts a broader net looking at society as a whole, and tended to move into more of a "this is what we're doing at our church" type of instruction. Useful, but not as helpful to me as the first part. Still, it is overall a useful primer into a generation that is becoming more and more distant from the church

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    Amazing read. If you are a Christian, no matter the denomination, I would read this book. James appears to have the process and practice down in connecting with people. He especially highlights connecting with the unchurched, which is representative of Gen Z. Yet as the the book concludes, I realize I starved for a Christ centered perspective. At some point things turn from bringing individuals to Christ and becomes a Christian cultural crusade to conquer Gen Z - as stated “So if there is one tr Amazing read. If you are a Christian, no matter the denomination, I would read this book. James appears to have the process and practice down in connecting with people. He especially highlights connecting with the unchurched, which is representative of Gen Z. Yet as the the book concludes, I realize I starved for a Christ centered perspective. At some point things turn from bringing individuals to Christ and becomes a Christian cultural crusade to conquer Gen Z - as stated “So if there is one trait I would wish upon pastors and church leaders around the world, it would be this: I wish they were more aggressive.” Might I argue that the one true desire of us all be that each pastor, church leader, and individual in the world be as Christ is. He lived. It is Him whom we follow. Grateful for James’ perspective, yet it is a reminder on the shortsighted nature of men as he pursues methodology rather than theology in teaching how to reach Gen Z.

  15. 4 out of 5

    John Funnell

    A very helpful and practical book. I work with a number of Generation Z and find them to be remarkable young people, capable of doing the most wonderful of things. But sadly many are lost in our post-Christian world and struggle with identity, loneliness and other social issues. They need our love and our community! If we can get the gospel to them the sky is the limit!!! The essays in the appendix were superb and clear and gave helpful answers to our cultures questions. My only real disappointment A very helpful and practical book. I work with a number of Generation Z and find them to be remarkable young people, capable of doing the most wonderful of things. But sadly many are lost in our post-Christian world and struggle with identity, loneliness and other social issues. They need our love and our community! If we can get the gospel to them the sky is the limit!!! The essays in the appendix were superb and clear and gave helpful answers to our cultures questions. My only real disappointment was the sporadic use of the message bible- there was just no need for it. Carry on with the NLT brother.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Krista Mc

    Overall, I really appreciated Dr. White's observations and thoughts on "Generation Z"; I picked up this book for understanding, and it didn't disappoint in that way. I have much to process and ponder and pray about. The last two or three chapters (not including the sermons) I found there were things I didn't agree with, but they are in a different category and in my opinion don't detract from the message of the book. I am interested in a couple of other books Dr. White has written...and I feel be Overall, I really appreciated Dr. White's observations and thoughts on "Generation Z"; I picked up this book for understanding, and it didn't disappoint in that way. I have much to process and ponder and pray about. The last two or three chapters (not including the sermons) I found there were things I didn't agree with, but they are in a different category and in my opinion don't detract from the message of the book. I am interested in a couple of other books Dr. White has written...and I feel better equipped to read them after having read this one.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stevie Ciske

    For every youth pastor, associate pastor, lead/campus/executive/worship pastor and every lover of evangelism, this is a book you need to read if you're hoping to understand our current culture and how to minister to them. Of course every church dynamics are different. What works in a urban setting isn't the same that works in a rural setting. But the information on this newest generation is across the board and is pertinent information if we want to meet the needs in order to point them towards For every youth pastor, associate pastor, lead/campus/executive/worship pastor and every lover of evangelism, this is a book you need to read if you're hoping to understand our current culture and how to minister to them. Of course every church dynamics are different. What works in a urban setting isn't the same that works in a rural setting. But the information on this newest generation is across the board and is pertinent information if we want to meet the needs in order to point them towards Christ. It was eye-opening, convicting, and encouraging.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cory Shumate

    Very good The first couple chapters were full of the kind of statistics and generational insight I expected to be the kind of stuff that would make up the whole book. Those chapters were fascinating. The latter 2/3 of the book dealt with theological and practical approaches to the issues presented by gen Z, but they felt less compelling than the first third, probably because many of the issues are shared by other age groups. But still well-handled.

  19. 5 out of 5

    David Steele

    James Emery White, Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2017, 219 pp. $10.11 Most people are familiar with the respective generations which are generally designated as the Silent Generation (born 1928-1945), the Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964), Generation X (born 1965-1980), Older Millennials (born 1981-1989), and the Younger Millennials (born 1990-1996). But a new group of people is emerging: Meet Generation Z. Born after 1996, this James Emery White, Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2017, 219 pp. $10.11 Most people are familiar with the respective generations which are generally designated as the Silent Generation (born 1928-1945), the Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964), Generation X (born 1965-1980), Older Millennials (born 1981-1989), and the Younger Millennials (born 1990-1996). But a new group of people is emerging: Meet Generation Z. Born after 1996, this fascinating people group is the first truly post-Christian tribe. And as the author ofMeet Generation Z says, they “will be the most influential religious force int he West and the heart of the missional challenge facing the Christian church.” James Emery White is the author of Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World. The author alerts readers to the growing secularization of culture. Built within this unique secular culture lies the “squishy center,” which includes people who are shapable but bear little in the area of convictions. These people have a propensity to move in the direction of the prevailing culture winds, which creates a special challenge to Christ-followers who long to make an impact on this generation. James Emery White writes with urgency and passion. But he also writes with a sober-minded concern. His chief concern is that the church is missing an opportunity to reach Generation Z: ”But this is about more than losing an ideological bridge. We are also losing a relational bridge - one we can walk across to reach the largest generation in American history.” The book is divided into two parts. Part One explores the New Realityand captures the pertinent demographic data that concerns Generation Z. The author introduces readers to the nones, that is, people are have little to no religious affiliation. This growing group represents one of of every five Americans. The nones are characterized by their commitment to secularism. They have been influenced by an age pummeled by economic recession. They are linked to computers and Wi-Fi. They tend to be multi-racial and sexually fluid. That is, they offer strong support to social causes such as transgender rights and “gay marriage.” They are, for the most part, biblically illiterate, that is, they fail to understand the redemptive themes in the Bible, let alone the basic stories in the Bible. And the nones, as described above, are radically post-Christian. Part Two explores A New Approach. The author reexamines ways of reaching Generation Z and encourages pastors and Christian workers to think outside the box. He cites Ron Dreher approvingly: “Christians must pioneer new ways to bind ourselves to Scripture, to our traditions, and to each other - not for mere survival, but so that the church can be the authentic light of Christ to a world lost in darkness.” Our task, then is to be truly Christ-centered by modeling the gospel to a lost generation. There is a plea here for “finding our voice,” something that appears to be increasingly difficult for many evangelicals: “There is a thin line between maintaining an earned voice through which to speak to culture and compromising the very message we long to share.” Ultimately, our task is to communicate the gospel in an uncompromising way to a generation that does not understand the Bible. The problem is that many people are compromising. The author notes, “If we harden ourselves against revelation’s voice, then again, like clay, we can only crumble in response to its touch.” Finally, there is a challenge to rethink apologetics and evangelism directed to the Generation X generation. James Emery White offers these wise words: “At the most basic level, the goal is to hold both grace and truth together. Truth without grace is just judgment. Grace without truth is license. Only authentic Christianity brings together both truth and grace … The only kind of voice that will arrest the attention of the world will be convictional in nature, clear in its message, substantive in its content, and bold in its challenge.” Meet Generation X is a much-needed book, especially in light of the challenges we face in the days ahead. For me personally, there are some things in the book that could be discarded. But to throw out the baby with the bathwater would be a huge overstep. Much of the wisdom here is sound and biblical. I commend this book to a new generation of pastors and Christian workers who have a heart for building a bridge to the next generation, namely, Generation X. I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Pippin

    Ok, let me first make a disclaimer: If this book would have omitted "Reaching" as part of the title I would have nodded my head in agreement with probably 70 percent of it. As a primer descriptive of the Gen-Z it did fairly well. However, the methodologies offered to "reach" Gen-Z is my point of departure. So, I will spend some time addressing that, mainly the items discussed in Chapter 8, titled "Decisions." In many ways, this book embodies the thought processes that are shaping much of modern Ok, let me first make a disclaimer: If this book would have omitted "Reaching" as part of the title I would have nodded my head in agreement with probably 70 percent of it. As a primer descriptive of the Gen-Z it did fairly well. However, the methodologies offered to "reach" Gen-Z is my point of departure. So, I will spend some time addressing that, mainly the items discussed in Chapter 8, titled "Decisions." In many ways, this book embodies the thought processes that are shaping much of modern evangelicalism, when it comes to reaching the next generation. It is laden with pragmatism. The question that kept surfacing in my mind over and over as I read was, "Is Scripture enough?" I believe the author would give a hearty "Yes and amen" but the methods discussed would show otherwise. For example, these are the headings (strategic decisions) in Chapter 8, with a pragmatic summary (my own summary): Be Cultural Missionaries - Act like you've been dropped in the Amazon jungle and pretend Gen-Z are untainted tribes. Meet them where they are. The worship, the music, and the dress should be catered to them, period. Skew Young - If you don't change things (like those mentioned above) the church will age. So, 1) To attract young folks, hire young people. Young staff, need more freshness than a Cosmo front cover. 2) Who you platform is who you attract. Again, a brand depends on product placement. 3) Acknowledge them (young folks). Actual quote: "Sometimes bridging a cultural divide is as simple as who you hire, who you out on stage, and who you acknowledge." Target Men - You get the man, you get the family (in a nutshell). In essence, make the church into a mancave...? Customer testimonial: "My husband loves this church. I could never get him to church before. But now he comes even when I don't!" At this point, I feel it should have been followed with, "And for three easy payments of $19.99 it could be yours!" Anyways, moving on. Prioritize Children's Ministry - This one triggered me. He shares a story that made me cringe about visiting a church that was horrible, sorry, "programmed challenged," but they continued because the kid's ministry was "really, really good." So bait the hook with men stuff and children's stuff. But this statement was most troubling: "Children are the heart of your growth engine." Really? Firstly, that is a fundamental misunderstanding and misapplication of the concept of church growth. That is pragmatic growth, not Spirit-lead, Spirit-wrought growth. A gross misunderstanding. This treats children like pawns to be used to grow a donor base. And of course, it is all centered around the "experience." Cultivate a Culture of Invitation - Empty pizza boxes, a voucher for free pizza, and invite cards. Nuff said. Disciple your Mission - The author makes it clear in this section that the "weekend service" or as I like to call it, the Lord's Day, is the mechanism for evangelistic outreach. Not go and tell, but rather, come and see. This section was helpful in understanding the rest of the pragmatic methodology. That was a small taste. There is one glaring issue among many. The author refers to Gen-Z as "unchurched" over and over again. Unchurched? Not spiritually dead. Not unregenerate. Not lost. Unchurched. That is dangerous thinking and a departure from historical Christianity in regard to the nature of man outside of Christ. Unchurched is the semantic equivalent of hunting with Nerf Guns. Sure, it will fire off a round but you ain't putting nothing on the dinner table with it. Furthermore, everyone who isn't seemingly onboard with the strategic decisions is basically accused of spiritual narcissism, coined with the phrase - "It's not about you!" Translation: Shut up and don't get in the way. It is an escape hatch and nothing more. In closing, this author operates with the presupposition that says the lost are actively seeking Christ (contrary to Romans 3) and if you put out enough light the moths will come. So, it is a misunderstanding of the nature of the church. Entertain the goats, starve the sheep. I do not believe the Holy Spirit's work in regeneration is ever mentioned at all. At the end of the day, this book belongs in the Business or Marketing section of the bookstore, not Christian Living or anywhere close to the Theology section. It is oozing with pragmatic and carnal means to "reach" depraved man. Numerical growth is the name of the game here. Sadly, the mindset found in this book is all too common. This book is an example of a void filler. When the sufficiency of Scripture is lost, something else always rushes to fill the void. Behold.

  21. 4 out of 5

    David Batten

    Honestly I liked this book more than I expected. His Indus and research are interesting and thoughtful. I do not agree with all, or perhaps even most of his conclusions on good the church should respond to the changes in culture he identifies, but they are only a small list of the book, mostly in the last chapter. My disagreement is mainly about the extent of the cultural change, and the certainty his suggestions will work long term. But I think what he observes about Gen Z is accurate and helpf Honestly I liked this book more than I expected. His Indus and research are interesting and thoughtful. I do not agree with all, or perhaps even most of his conclusions on good the church should respond to the changes in culture he identifies, but they are only a small list of the book, mostly in the last chapter. My disagreement is mainly about the extent of the cultural change, and the certainty his suggestions will work long term. But I think what he observes about Gen Z is accurate and helpful to anyone who wants to care for people well.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Full of insight to reach this generation.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dennis Goshorn

    I just finished reading "Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching The New Post-Christian World" by James Emery White. White introduces us to our newest generation. Some have called this generation Snowflakes; born from 1993-2012. I feel it is quite appropriate. White gives supporting evidence that they have been raised by underproductive parents who have allowed so much digital influence that their childhoods (innocence) has been lost. They have 24/7 access to violence, pornography and any I just finished reading "Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching The New Post-Christian World" by James Emery White. White introduces us to our newest generation. Some have called this generation Snowflakes; born from 1993-2012. I feel it is quite appropriate. White gives supporting evidence that they have been raised by underproductive parents who have allowed so much digital influence that their childhoods (innocence) has been lost. They have 24/7 access to violence, pornography and any other information they wish to have. They have been raised by parents who don't reject God, just reject any specific religion. In Part 2 the author goes into America's history to explain how generation Z came about. For instance, after WWII there was an influx of immigrants who arrived with their world views which gave way to the Bible being challenged. He says fundamentalists retreated which paved the way for great evangelists like Billy Graham. White pastors a church where their main goal is to reach the unchurched. He gives great reasons for this. Churches will disappear if all you do is cloister yourself and as your congregants age, you eventually lose your numbers. To entice Generation Z to church, ministers have to change how they approach evangelism. He believes every generation has to translate the gospel into its unique cultural context—not transform—translate. He gives several ways to do this like adding digital media into the worship service. Generation Z are the ultimate consumers of "stackable media"—evangelism requires visuals. It will also require not only new fresh approaches to content but also new methods of communication. Entice them with "what's up?" questions. White states that Generation Zers are into the occult. If you question this, just turn on the television. Especially to the CW network. He says it is the blending of the supernatural and science that provides the apologetic opening to Generation Z. White believes that to reach this new generation we need to think like over-seas missionaries. These missionaries go to the new country. Learn the language and their culture.  This is the attitude to reach Generation Zers now; especially in light of their views on sexuality. White upholds the biblical mandate for marriage, but presents his beliefs without hitting them over their collective heads with the Bible that means nothing to them. I truly enjoyed reading this book and believe every minister and seminary student needs to understand our newest generation and how to reach them.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mary Lou

    Generation Z is the new cohort of people, born between 1995-2010, that is the first [truly] post-Christian generation. So says James Emery White in his new book Generation Z, “Generation Z has been called the Final Generation” ( Meet Generation Z, Understanding and Reaching the Post-Christian World by James Emery White, Baker Books, 2017, p.11) because “the speed of culture, in which change can happen in a day, will make speaking of generations and their marking obsolete” (pp. 38-39). Most of th Generation Z is the new cohort of people, born between 1995-2010, that is the first [truly] post-Christian generation. So says James Emery White in his new book Generation Z, “Generation Z has been called the Final Generation” ( Meet Generation Z, Understanding and Reaching the Post-Christian World by James Emery White, Baker Books, 2017, p.11) because “the speed of culture, in which change can happen in a day, will make speaking of generations and their marking obsolete” (pp. 38-39). Most of these young people are under 25 and living in terms of “functional atheism – rather than rejecting the idea of God…people today ‘aren’t [merely] secularized. They’re not thinking about religion and rejecting it; they’re not thinking about it at all” (pp. 20, 21). White cites various research findings that substantiate the descriptives of Generation Z, but two-thirds of the book is his plea for “A New Approach” (p.7) so Christians can understand and reach this internet-based generation. His chapters on Rethinking Evangelism and Apologetics are both insightful, challenging and practical. He says, “[Generation Zers] are accustomed to rapid fire banter and commentary. Give it to them. Engage their questions, their viewpoints, and their perspectives. Enter into their chat rooms, respond to their pictures” (p. 126). He notes: “Biblically, it is as if we have moved from an Acts 2 cultural context to an Acts 17 cultural context (The Apostle Paul’s message to the philosophers/critics in Athens]. He emphasizes the need for communication that is in “bite sizes, visually oriented, and heavy on explanations as it answers the “what’s up with” questions, defends the character of God and deals with “the great indictments the world lays at the feet of the church” (p.130). Throughout each chapter he also describes how his church, which focuses on the unchurched, is effectively reaching this cohort. This book is a must read for Christians who want to engage with these post-Christian young people. 4 stars.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Moran

    Generation Z is the first fully post Christian generation in America. It's also the most technologically advanced and dependent generation. It's also a generation that the church is having a hard time reaching. White wants to change all of this. And he believes they are at his church, which he affectionately calls Meck. As a college missionary in America, a lot of the analysis White compiles I immediately resonated with because I have seen it play out in space and time in my mission field. Howev Generation Z is the first fully post Christian generation in America. It's also the most technologically advanced and dependent generation. It's also a generation that the church is having a hard time reaching. White wants to change all of this. And he believes they are at his church, which he affectionately calls Meck. As a college missionary in America, a lot of the analysis White compiles I immediately resonated with because I have seen it play out in space and time in my mission field. However, the book was still quite helpful to confirm some of the things I had just thought previously or maybe only knew anecdotally. Still, some of the founding (particularly on how unchurched the unchurched are) were still quite astounding. The book reminded me of some things we do intuitively sometimes but should do on purpose all the time (explain where the book of the Bible is, avoid Christian jargon without defining it, understanding our curse of knowledge). White's knowledge can sometimes come across as hubris, but I chose to read it all in the light that he truly wants to change the way the church sees the younger generation and the unchurched. I do wish there would have been more times highlighting all the positive things about generation Z instead of all the negatives... Honestly, I haven't had a lot of dealings with the occult, but he does devote a lot of time to talking about it in the book. We definitely need to rethink our evangelism tactics with this new generation and I'm thankful that White is helping us to think about to do this on purpose. White has some great questions at the end of each chapter that can be useful over and over again in multiple settings, they are probably worth the price of the book themselves. I would definitely recommend reading this book if you want to reach Generation Z (born after 1997).

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jackie Long

    In his book, James White discusses who Generation Z is, characteristics of their culture, and how decisions and events from earlier generations have sculpted them into who they are today. I enjoyed the amount of research, charts, and graphs that went into the creation of this book. It was such an interesting read, with emphasis on the psychology and sociology of the Gen Z that so heavily influences our western culture. The author provided insight into how to better reach this generation with the In his book, James White discusses who Generation Z is, characteristics of their culture, and how decisions and events from earlier generations have sculpted them into who they are today. I enjoyed the amount of research, charts, and graphs that went into the creation of this book. It was such an interesting read, with emphasis on the psychology and sociology of the Gen Z that so heavily influences our western culture. The author provided insight into how to better reach this generation with the Gospel by gaining a deeper understanding of sociological trends that are seen within it. How do we share the Gospel with them? How do we reach them with the Gospel? How do we engage in cultural hot topics such as evolution, the Big Bang theory, and gay marriage? How do we love them well and still show them grace AND truth? Although I enjoyed all of the content in this book, I think it is important to realize (and I wish the author would have mentioned!) that an entire generation cannot be completely generalized, correlation does not necessarily equal causation, and no matter how many strategies, tactics and programs we try (although they can be beneficial and help the Gospel to spread!), God is the one who ultimately makes people receptive to the gift Jesus gave us by dying on the cross. This is a fun, fairly easy read. I learned a lot about Generation Z and found what the author had to say so interesting! However, he generalized quite a bit and I wish he would have included more of (or at least mentioned) Jesus' role and influence in sharing the Gospel. It is not by our own power that people will accept Christ into their hearts! I received this book for free from Bakers Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kingsley Layton

    This book is well written and engaging. However, as pointed out by other reviewers, his analysis of what to do about Generation Z is based on one church in one state in one country and does not touch at all on other denominations who have already employed the approach but have resulted in gaining 'rice Christians' (this is 'Christians' who either come for what is being given out, such as food, or 'Christians' whose sole interest is to assuage their consciousness with good works). The Salvation A This book is well written and engaging. However, as pointed out by other reviewers, his analysis of what to do about Generation Z is based on one church in one state in one country and does not touch at all on other denominations who have already employed the approach but have resulted in gaining 'rice Christians' (this is 'Christians' who either come for what is being given out, such as food, or 'Christians' whose sole interest is to assuage their consciousness with good works). The Salvation Army in the Western world is a classic example of church who has put cause first in the hope to bring people to Christ. It has been in serious decline ever since. Only in the East, where The Salvation Army is growing furiously, do we see growth. How? A return to Jesus and discipleship; not some justice cause and good works. Counter-culturally for sure, but not cause lead. This is but one example, and if the author had looked a little further than his own back yard he might have avoided some of his sweeping generalities. That said, his depiction of Generation Z was good and helpful in identifying what comes after Generation X.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michael Harshman

    "Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World" by James Emery White is a fascinating study in the younger generation and how they relate to either the church, the Lord or to generic spirituality. This book is written very well bringing forth the statistics and how they have changed from one generation to the next. The author shows the dramatic culture shift that comes with this younger generation and how the church in general needs to be open to changes in order to "Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World" by James Emery White is a fascinating study in the younger generation and how they relate to either the church, the Lord or to generic spirituality. This book is written very well bringing forth the statistics and how they have changed from one generation to the next. The author shows the dramatic culture shift that comes with this younger generation and how the church in general needs to be open to changes in order to reach this new generation. Think of this book as a guidebook on ideas on what needs to be done to reach Generation Z. The author skillfully provides practical advice that could change the future of how the church evangelizes. I would highly recommend this book for anyone in church leadership that is interested in long-term survival of the church and reaching this new generation (which both tie together very much). I received a copy of this book in exchange for this review from Baker Books and all opinions are my own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Paul Kelly

    I picked up this book to see what is being said about the new generation now approaching young adulthood being called Generation Z (though I think I prefer the term proposed by another author--Screeners, given the fact that they have been raised with an iPhone screen). White uses mostly ancillary data to describe their world and project guesses as to what this generation will be like. The most profound characteristic is that they are decidedly post-Christian, lacking even a collective memory of I picked up this book to see what is being said about the new generation now approaching young adulthood being called Generation Z (though I think I prefer the term proposed by another author--Screeners, given the fact that they have been raised with an iPhone screen). White uses mostly ancillary data to describe their world and project guesses as to what this generation will be like. The most profound characteristic is that they are decidedly post-Christian, lacking even a collective memory of ever hearing the Christian Gospel. The generational focus is mostly confined to one chapter. The larger message of the book has to do with the call of the Church to make Christ known to this generation---not just Z's, but Millennials, Xer's, in fact a majority of Americas---that now call themselves "nones" meaning no church affiliation. I found the book helpful, though it did feel like a bit of a bait-and-switch.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    Building on thoughts first expressed in The Rise of the Nones, James Emery White's Meet Generation Z is a thoughtful and inherently hope-filled look at the Western world's largest and potentially most influential group of people, Generation Z. With a blend of statistics, personal experiences, and a pastor's care for people that jumps off of each page, White introduces Christians of any age or theological perspective to open and honest ways to engage Generation Z and present Christian faith claim Building on thoughts first expressed in The Rise of the Nones, James Emery White's Meet Generation Z is a thoughtful and inherently hope-filled look at the Western world's largest and potentially most influential group of people, Generation Z. With a blend of statistics, personal experiences, and a pastor's care for people that jumps off of each page, White introduces Christians of any age or theological perspective to open and honest ways to engage Generation Z and present Christian faith claims in respectful ways. Church workers and volunteers, pastors, parachurch and business leaders, social justice pioneers, anyone invested in the future of the Christian faith should read Generation Z closely (and likely more than once).

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