You’ve probably seen the statistics and heard the concerns. Young people are leaving the church in greater numbers than ever. While the youth of every generation share many common characteristics, this generation – dubbed Generation Z – faces new and unique challenges thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones and easy access to the Internet. Young Christians are constantly bombarded with differing ideas and worldviews, all that are competing with the faith of their parents. It’s easy to give up and lose hope. But if you love this next generation, you can’t and you won’t. That’s why Sean McDowell and J. Warner Wallace have written So the Next Generation Will Know: Preparing Young Christians for a Challenging World. This book aims to help parents, teachers, and anyone else with a passion for young people to prepare the next generation for the unique challenges they will face.
Next Gen consists of eight chapters divided into two sections. The first section provides a greater understanding of Gen Z and their specific needs. Chapter 1 gives general statistics about Gen Z and why they abandon Christianity. It also explains the critical ingredients to keeping young people connected to the church. Chapter 2 explores the unique characteristics of today’s youth – both positive and negative – and how to leverage them to form meaningful relationships with the young people in our lives.
Chapter 3 focuses on a recurring theme of the book, how imparting truth requires a genuine relationship. It examines obstacles that hinder Gen Z from connecting with others, like consumerism and social media, as well as how to counter them. The chapter ends with ten strategies for connecting with Gen Z, such as engaging in their world and setting appropriate boundaries. Chapter 4 provides ways to equip the next generation with a fully-formed Christian worldview, which includes strengthening your own theological and apologetic foundation first.
The second section of Next Gen offers practical steps to prepare Gen Z for their unique challenges. Young people are not content with simply being given information, but they want to know why it is true and why it is important. This is the main idea of chapter 5 and the principle “two ‘whys’ for every ‘what’.” Chapter 6 explains the difference between teaching and training young people, how training requires a purpose or a goal. And if we give them a challenge, they will rise to it.
Chapter 7 explores specific ways to challenge young people, like taking them on worldview missions trips and teaming with ministries such as Maven Truth (read Tim Stratton’s experience with Maven here). Once you have established a challenge, Chapter 8 outlines how to prepare your young people for it, using things they already encounter in their lives, like pop culture and current events. Finally, the Appendix contains lots of additional resources to help you to train young people.
So the Next Generation Will Know is not just another apologetics answer book. Neither is it merely theoretical. Instead, it offers direct instructions to help you equip young people to internalize their Christian faith. While it is a short book – just under 200 pages – it contains plenty of research, statistics, and personal experiences from McDowell and Wallace, both having spent many years working with youth. If you are a parent, teacher, youth worker, or simply someone who has a passion to equip the next generation to stand strong in the Christian faith, So the Next Generation Will Know is the perfect resource for you.
So the Next Generation Will Know releases May 1, 2019. For more information about the book and exclusive pre-order offers, click here.