Episode 161: Unleashing Gen Z: Training the Church FOR the Next Generation

In this episode featuring Chris Sasser, we get practical about the importance of building relationships, empowering young leaders, and understanding the changing dynamics of generations.


  • The upcoming generation is inundated with pressure to perform: school, sport, socially, online, etc. This pressure is a contributing factor to the increase in anxiety.
  • They are looking for belonging, truth, and purpose in their life! “Who am I? Who are my people?”
  • Years ago, the primary voices coming into a student’s life were parents, school, and church. But now, those influences are diminished and there are tons of other influences through the internet. That can lead to confusion.
  • Millennials are a little more passive than Gen Z. They are interested in social issues and activism, but Gen Z is more proactive in taking steps and engaging things. They want to be solvers of the problems: quicker to get a job and have financial independence, take a little more control, have more agency over their decisions.
  • It could be that the same technology that increases the demands and pressure on Gen Z also increases their desire to take action and their feeling that they can step up and influence things and make a difference in the world.
    • Gen X had a diary and if anyone read it, they got mad. Millennials had a diary and it was online and if no one read it, they got mad. Gen Z don’t really have a diary, they just want to get busy because they see the opportunity to make change.
  • It’s vital to be in relationship with different age groups as you are learning and hearing about generations.
  • It’s vital to help Gen Z gain ownership and put them in leadership (real leadership, not token leadership). Let them help shape things. Put them in positions where they can make mistakes and it’s OK. Let them take things in a different direction if they want to.
  • “We have to train the next generation for the church and the church for the next generation.”
  • For this generation, we can’t just paint a picture and cast vision and just expect them to show up. Instead, we have to build relationships with them and show them that we value them.
  • Be authentic when you are trying to connect with other generations. That matters more than using new language.
  • “Younger people will connect with the oldest person in the room that takes them seriously.”
  • You have to be consistently proximate with a generation you want to influence. Go where they are! Don’t expect them to come to you. When you get comfortable where they are, and they’re comfortable with you there, bring some other people with you.
  • “Care is the new attractional.” People want and need to be cared for.
  • Generation Alpha is the younger generation about to come into youth group. It’s early to make many observations, but one thought is that they might end up being still just as engaged with technology, but more intentional about the healthier aspects of managing in their life and how it impacts them and their mental health.
  • Contact Chris: http://www.equipandencourage.com/chris.sasser@ministryarchitects.com
  • Connect with Renee: renee.wilson@ministryarchitects.com
  • Connect with Brandon: brandoncollins.orgbrandon.collins@ministryarchitects.com