Guest post by Sebastian Gonzalez
Have you ever felt like you don’t belong where you are, most of the time? Well that’s how I feel as a Christian in Generation Z, my fellow classmates and friends from high school always gave me an odd look when I told them ‘I’m a Christian.’ I remember one of them saying he was looking into going to the same Christian college as me but declined for other options because he claimed it was “a religious school so it goes against science”. We all studied literature in our Advanced Placement English class which included Biblical allusions, which no one except me got. Heck, even the same friend who I mentioned earlier tried correcting our teacher that “Beowulf” was written first then the Bible when our teacher was talking about David and Goliath being the obvious reference. Despite the fact “Beowulf” was written nearly thousands of years after the New Testament was finished. Point is, I just felt like I was an outsider, I didn’t belong because I believed marriage is between only a man and a woman, abortion is murder, Jesus is God, etc. I always wondered, “why? Why is my generation full of ‘vipers’ instead of saints?” Luckily for me, by the end of my high school career, Yahweh blessed me with answers.
Sean McDowell and J. Warner Wallace are some of the best Christian Apologists I know. They gave me reasons to have confidence in Christ and the Bible, so knowing that the two were making a book together had me excited. However, the more I learned about their upcoming book, I realized that this isn’t the same type of book that we’ve come to know from our favorite cold case detective and christian apologist prodigy.
The book they’ve made, “So The Next Generation Will Know,” in their words is “not a ‘what is true’ book; it’s a ‘how to explain what is true’ book” (page 26). Going into this, I kind of needed to adjust my expectations a bit by reminding myself this is a different book than usual. The book’s main audience is youth pastors and maybe some parents, not a kid who’s in college in about a month. But even still, I wanted to know what they know about my generation. I have to thank my teacher at my old high school firstly however, for buying me a copy of this book (as she’s a Christian herself).
Jumping the gun now, I think that you should buy the book, regardless if you’re a youth pastor or not. This book can help you understand the mindset of my generation. Because we have a horrible attention span to anything that denies us our “fun” or “pleasure”. Yes, I know these sound like cliches but they’re true, friends my age don’t really care about religion as long as it doesn’t harm them and they can do what they want without being judged. In fact I’m reading it to eventually evangelize to my little sisters about Christ and the gospel while first growing a solid relationship.
The part that got me the most was in the chapter “Love Understands” starting with page 52, the duo of apologetics begin stating the things that Generation Z are associated with. The first category being that we’re “Digital Natives,” I don’t really remember a time before computers and smartphones got big. While I prefer writing to typing, I still write many papers using a laptop. The biggest problem brought up in this section is that there’s too much information for us Gen Zers. You can read an article by an atheist on why the Bible’s fiction just to then read one from a Christian on why they’re reliable documents. It’s an overflow and overwhelming to us to the point where we just don’t care and walk away before making a real verdict on what we believe. Don’t forget about impatient, that’s a big hurdle for us (and one I do hate so much that I’ve got to distract myself to forget about waiting in the first place).
The categories that made me understand my brokenness was on page 57 with “They’re Overwhelmed” and “They’re Lonely”. Yeah, I am overwhelmed, with everything that’s going on with life along with my constant fears of the unknown while working hard at school for my future at the same time as avoiding militant atheists and their ridicule that makes me look like a dummy… It’s hard to even last one day. And don’t forget about being lonely as I’ve stated in the first paragraph. Sure I have family, but they’re working. Sure, I have friends but they don’t understand me as a Christian and go away when the school day is done. I seem to be working and only working, with no goal in mind because it feels like I’ll never get out. But Christ helps me know that I go on not for a pointless life, but one of hope and peace in him. No matter how hard life gets, I understand Christ is my saviour. That’s what Generation Z needs. But they’ve been consumed by a Non-Christian culture that makes them believe that pleasure and “fun” is all they have in their realistic worldview. Sean McDowell and J. Warner Wallace’s book taught me that despite being in a generation that doesn’t understand me, Christ does. I’m not alone because I have my brothers and sisters in Christ, my Godly family.
Pick up “So The Next Generation Will Know” in stores or online, take it upon yourself to teach the next generation of the saviour. It might teach you something about yourself or those around you. God bless!