2. Create a Safe Space
In this climate of post-Columbine and post-911, Generation Z needs to be heard and to feel emotionally, physically, and digitally safe. Bullying and suicide are in their online and offline vocabulary. Your small group and ultimately their view of the church at-large loses credibility when these spaces are compromised. Welcome their doubts, anxieties, frustrations, and even their anger with God and the church. Embrace their tough questions and learn together. Share biblical examples of unbelief. Talk about how current Christians and missionaries of various people groups are working in tandem with each other to further the Gospel despite hardships and religious persecution; this puts a real face on human suffering. Keep in mind that social justice activism and protests are the fabric of this generation.
3. Stretch and Personalize Their Understanding of Faith
Introducing Generation Z to historians like Josephus while focusing on apologetics will further solidify the proof of the historical and personal Jesus. Moreover, discussions on how science and faith complement each other are valuable; help them understand that God and science are not enemies of each other.
4. Lovingly Challenge Them to Go Deeper in Their Quiet Time With God
As the small-group leader, you are the facilitator of learning who is pointing them to Jesus in more of a dialogue rather than a monologue of “churchy” anecdotes. You have the precious honor of helping them explore the spiritual markers of what it means to be a disciple of Christ.
5. Generation Z Is Compassion and Cause Driven
Allow them to choose a charity or mission to support. Perhaps a study on the book of Micah can invoke their need to see justice in the world; the organizing of civil rights protests from the lens of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. may also pique their interests. Also, a study of our stewardship of God’s earth with regard to Adam’s role in the Garden of Eden is worthy of discussion. You could encourage them to start a new ministry at your church based on their passions. Generation Z is very entrepreneurial in their thinking; many are wondering how to “brand” themselves just like famous social media personalities. This creates an opportunity to direct them to Christian vocations; guest speakers who are unapologetically Christian can share how young adults might sync their faith with their livelihood or what college majors to pursue with Christ being their “influencer.” Have them consider, “What do I want to do for God?” This is also a great time for Generation Z to serve together in missions with older members of your small group; intergenerational camaraderie is vital to their spiritual growth, too. Linking Generation Z with more seasoned prayer partners is a way to foster this.
6. Technology is Their Lifeline
It has been said that the cellphone charger is the umbilical cord for Generation Z. In your approach, allow them to use the Bible on their phones. Digital, easy-to- read, quick-reference guides can be helpful, too. Assign a social media manager for your group to tweet a quote or Scripture from your time together. Let them lead a session using technology that is user-friendly for the older adults in the group. Some may want to create an app as well, or share photos on a group Facebook or Instagram page. Additionally, you can FaceTime or use Zoom calls and Google Hangouts to stay connected with those who miss a session.