Recently I have been reading a book full of wisdom about the nature of the current rising generation of kids (Gen Z) and effective strategies for reaching them. A very timely subject given the ever-increasing rise in the number of children who are walking away from the faith of their youth. Polls show that as many as 80% of young believers in this generation are not darkening the doorways of churches once they leave home. This is pretty humbling stuff for a parent of children in this age group. While I very much enjoy reading books of the kind I have in hand, I have found this particular one disappointing. Certainly, it seems to be spot on in understanding the nature of this group of young people and quite insightful in its assessment of effective ways to communicate God’s truth to them. But it lacks in one critical idea: scripture calls us to be in the world and not of it. Our homes, churches, and schools should be distinctly counter cultural. Because of our commitment to living out Godly lives and teaching our children scripture, it is reasonable to expect that our children would be conformed to Christ and not the popular culture around them. We should not be living like the world, expecting our children to be consumed by it, and then reading clever books that will show us how best to approach them once they have departed. Proverbs 22:6 is a huge promise to us (“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”). Our assumption here at ACA is that our families are training up counter-cultural children and that our mission is to be a place that affirms a Christ-centered culture. We all have our ways of steering our kids away from a culture that denies Christ and threatens to consume them. We limit screen time, and some shoot their TV’s all together. We read to our kids and create opportunities to teach them scripture. We celebrate their, and our, counter-culturalness rather than apologizing for it.
If we have done our job well, our kids will not fit in so well to the Gen Z crowd. Lord willing, they will be broken hearted by their peers and be fully equipped to share the Gospel with them, not wounded and staggering along with them.