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

Baker Books / 2017 / Paperback

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Move over, boomers, Xers, and millennials, there's a new generation taking the stage---and they represent a seismic cultural shift! Born between 1993 and 2012, "Z" is the first truly post-Christian generation to come of age in America. White explores their defining characteristics and explains how the church must adapt in order to reach them. 256 pages, softcover from Baker.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Baker Books
Publication Date: 2017
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0801017017
ISBN-13: 9780801017018

Publisher's Description

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.

Author Bio

James Emery White (PhD, Southern Seminary) is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church, a suburban megachurch in Charlotte, North Carolina, often cited as one of the fastest-growing church starts in the United States. Former president of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, White is the author of several books, including The Rise of the Nones, Rethinking the Church, What They Didn't Teach You in Seminary, and The Church in an Age of Crisis. He lives in North Carolina.

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  1. Terry
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Should be Required Reading for Every Church Leader
    April 2, 2017
    Terry
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Meet Generation Z is so well done, and James Emery While is so well-informed and passionate that anything I say would only be a disservice to this book. However, I must try. Meet Generation Z should be required reading for every church leader, evangelist, apologist, and Christian who wishes to understand how they need to adapt to help the Church survive beyond the year 2020.

    Generation Z is the generation born roughly between 1993 and 2012 and as Emery explains with detailed statistics and easy-to-read charts, will account for 40% of all consumers by the year 2020. They are even bigger than the baby boomers! By 2020, these people will not just influence American culture, they will BE American culture.

    This being said, Emery explains what we need to know about this first truly post-Christian generation, starting with the new realities that this generation brings to the Christian church. He explains the world that Generation Z inhabits and perhaps most importantly, the unique circumstances in which this Generation was raised and parented. Emery talks truth about the results of our under-protective parenting, the disappearance of childhood, and the results of Generation Z being raised by parents who themselves are unaffiliated with a religion or a church. Generation Z's scriptural illiteracy will shock you.

    But Emery does not leave the reader asking, "what now?" Instead, he devotes the majority of this book to a new approach that we all need to take to respond as a church. I appreciate that he also includes a discussion around both evangelism and apologetics.

    Each chapter includes discussion questions, which I thought was a great add and something unexpected in a book like Meet Generation Z. It's clear that Emery wants the reader to continue the discussion outside the book, and his passion for this Generation is evident. Both as a church and as individual Christians, we cannot afford to skip out on this book, and more importantly, we cannot let these opportunities to adapt pass us by. At some point, it will simply be too late.

    I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers Program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.
  2. Joshua Valdez
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Excellent Description of Generation Z, but Flawed Prescription in Reaching Them
    March 13, 2017
    Joshua Valdez
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 3
    Overview of the Book

    Meet Generation Z is divided into two parts, consisting of eight chapters total, with three appendices.

    Part One: The New Reality

    1. A Seventh Age, the Second Fall, and the Rise of the Nones

    2. Meet Generation Z

    3. When Christ and His Saints Slept

    Part Two: A New Approach

    4. The Countercultural Church

    5. Finding Our Voice

    6. Rethinking Evangelism

    7. Apologetics for a New Generation

    8. Decisions

    Appendix A: Gay Marriage

    Appendix B: Mapping the Spiritual World

    Appendix C: Why Believe in God?

    The Good

    In my estimation, the real strength of Meet Generation Z is the first part: The New Reality. Here, White interacts with various statistics and sketches for us the current picture of where our culture is in regards to its social and religious perspectives. Surprisingly, while Generation Z is not religious, it is spiritually curious.

    Generation Z, according to White, is made up of those born from 1995 to 2010. Essentially, Generation Z is made up of everyone presently under the age of 25. Generation Z is characterized by five traits: 1) Recession Marked, 2) Wi-Fi Enabled, 3) Multiracial, 4) Sexually Fluid, 5) Post-Christian.

    Chapters two and three were, for me, the most helpful in the book. Here, White presents Generation Z. Generation Z is losing its childhood and innocence at a younger age than any preceding generation, it is highly influenced by the music industry, and is riddled by pornography. Additionally, Generation Z's parents tend to be under protective and religiously unaffiliated.

    The data presented here is excellent information that should interest anyone working in youth ministry. Every generation has its own quarks, and the information here orients the reader towards understanding where Generation Z is at.

    The Bad

    White has a commendable and desirable passion to reach Generation Z. Unfortunately the means he prescribes to reach them are seriously deficient. He advocates that the Sunday gathering of believers be fundamentally changed towards reaching the unbeliever. White writes, "Yes, I know, many churches feel that both weekend services and small groups should be discipleship oriented. We disagree. The weekend service should be, a least for now, the front door of the church for outreach. As a result, it should crafted optimally for that outreach. That often means it is not crafted optimally for discipleship" (p. 152). Everything in the service from the music played, the media used, the messages, and the dress should be oriented towards reaching the lost.

    This understanding of nature of church is fundamentally flawed. The church is the gathering of believers. The word for church, ekklsia, means the called out gathering or assembly. The church is comprised of those who have been called out this world of sin (1 Pet. 2:9), called to live holy lives (1 Pet. 1:15-16) that are worthy of this great calling (Eph. 4:1). The church is the gathering of believers building each other up (1 Cor. 14:26; 1 Thess. 5:11) and pastors are those who are to equip God's people to do the work of ministry (Eph. 4:11-12). The church is the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:17; Eph. 4:12; 5:30; Col. 1:24). This is not to say that unbelievers aren't welcome to attend the gathering of Christ's body, the church. But to orient the service for the unbeliever and not for the believer is ministerial malpractice. The Sunday gathering is for the building up of God's people. It is the responsibility of every believer to go out from the church and do the work of evangelism and discipleship (Matt. 28:18-20).

    White's suggested correctives flow from an errant view of the church. He advocates that we should rethink evangelism, be cultural missionaries, skew young, target men, prioritize children's ministry, cultivate a culture of invitation, disciple your mission. While some of these methods can be helpful (targeting men and having an excellent children's ministry) some of them are pragmatic and seeker sensitive in nature . White actually suggests hiring young people and going to great lengths to have young people in prominent positions on the platform or as greeters--simply because they are young. If you want to attract young people, White argues, then feature young people. The biblical model is not the rejection of young people, but young people being examples of godliness (2 Tim. 4:12-13). The Bible certainly not exalt young people just because they are young. Instead, young believers are to be discipled by older believers (Titus 2:1-8). Intentionally portraying the church as young to reach the young is pragmatic in nature and wrong.

    Conclusion

    My one complaint--substantial complaint--with White's book is his minimization of the ordinary, God-prescribed ways of church ministry in favor of over-contextualization and pragmatism. We can and should expend much energy in reaching the lost, but it is God (John 6:44) through the power of his Gospel (Rom. 1:16-17) that will grow his church (Matt. 16:18). Generation Z like every other generation preceding it, will be reached not by man's innovation or creativity but by ordinary churches using the ordinary, God-ordained means of growth (Matt. 28:18-20; Rom. 10:14-20; 1 Cor. 1:18-25). Christ will build his church and nothing, including the gates of Hell, will prevail against it.

    Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.
  3. theChristianReviewer
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: Male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Reach the younger generation for Christ! Great book!
    March 11, 2017
    theChristianReviewer
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: Male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    "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.
  4. Chris
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    A helpful resource
    February 17, 2017
    Chris
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    In his newest book, Dr. White explains to the reader the cultural climate and religious attitude of Generation Z, which features a large (and growing) population of nones, people who have no interest in religion and, thus, have no religious affiliation whatsoever. As White writes, quoting Cathy Lynn Grossman, co-researcher for the American Religious Identification Survey in 2008, [The nones] arent [merely] secularized. Theyre not thinking about religion and rejecting it; theyre not thinking about it at all (21). Additionally, White discusses the spiritual and social climate many of these Gen Z are being raised in, such as being marked by the recession, multiracial, hyper-connected to technology, and sexual fluidity.

    In the second half of the book, White instructs us on what a new model might look like for engaging with Generation Z. In his view, the church must be counter-cultural and find her unique, prophetic voice amidst her cultural environment, while also rethinking strategically how to do evangelism and apologetics.

    This book is a helpful reminder of some of the challenges the church is facing and will be facing more and more in the years ahead. While one might quibble over statistical data, it is nonetheless helpful to careful think through the issues discussed in this book.
  5. bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    How the church can engage a post-Christian culture
    February 9, 2017
    bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    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.
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