Youth are becoming more visual learners compared to previous generations. With the rise in video gaming, social media, streaming services for entertainment, and Zoom for education, this has become a reality for GEN Z students as they get most of their cues from some kind of visual presentation. Unfortunately, their screens are discipling them more than the Scriptures because they are spending way more time in front of their devices than anything else. As a youth pastor, I have witnessed this firsthand and can say that our churches need to respond with gospel-centered resources that will help GEN Z students navigate their faith in the digital frontier.
Logically, this analysis created two questions in my heart as I am always looking for solid biblical content to show my students: first, how can we turn this around into a positive and get visual learners interested in scriptures? Second, what content is available to teach youth about gospel-centered truths in an appealing, relevant, and powerful format that answers the pressing questions they are asking today?
The team at Darkroom Faith has answered both questions. In 2022, they released a free video series for student ministries across the country. Led by apologetics professor and author Mary Jo Sharp (Houston Baptist University), their team invested more than $1 million and three years of prayer, research, and interviews to create a 14-episode video series based on real GEN Z students and their stories. Figures like Shane Pruitt (North American Mission Board), Sean McDowell (Biola University), and Jonny Radcliff (National Network of Youth Ministries) have previewed the materials and love the way each episode has an apologetics focus to help answer questions of doubt and faith among GEN Z students. The videos tackle subjects like the afterlife, science, justice, purpose, sin, love, church, and identity. Each topic is very cinematic, engaging, and animated and explores what teenagers are dealing with from their point of view. Although the videos are geared to grades 7-12, the videos are perfect for high school audiences.
The best thing about the videos is the free additional resources. Each video comes with small group handouts, prepared sermon notes, PowerPoint files, articles, podcasts, and study materials for use by youth groups. In fact, you can customize them as I did for my students. I contextualize them to my unique group dynamics. To access these free additional resources, click on “Leader” at the bottom of the Darkroom Faith website and sign up.
Indeed, the method changes, but the “Message” does not! I want my students to love Scripture in the digital frontier. I want my students to see Scripture as relevant in a postmodern world. I want my students to know and share the scriptures with their friends. Darkroom Faith has created a top-notch video series that can accomplish these very things without compromising the truth of God’s Word. I encourage you to check it out and use it as an apologetics, small-group curriculum.
RJ McCauley serves as Student Ministries Pastor at Magnolia Church in Riverside, Ca. He is currently working on his Master of Theological Studies and D.Min. at Gateway. He has earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at California Baptist University. RJ is married to Melissa, and they share a daughter.
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