Youth Ministry’s Impact to the Personal and Spiritual Mindset of a Gen Z’er – California Southern Baptist Convention

Youth Ministry’s Impact to the Personal and Spiritual Mindset of a Gen Z’er

Published May 17, 2022

By RJ McCauley, CSBC Youth

Teenagers are going through a very difficult season in our country. Before the pandemic, Lifeway Research revealed that 66% of the youth were not attending church after graduation, but today’s conditions feel even more drastic in the church due to the effects of pandemic lockdowns and isolation. The last few years haven’t been hopeful for teenagers as they experienced inadequate education, social unrest, political tension, identity issues, and a consistent fear of something happening to them. As their view of the church is constantly changing because of cancel culture, social media, and more scandals making headlines, GEN Z (born in 1999-2015) doesn’t trust others and are left without hope. Consequently, GEN Z needs hope in hopeless times.

Why Does GEN Z Need Hope?

GEN Z needs hope because they are facing multiple challenges at the same time compared to previous generations. There is good news and bad news when it comes to the current state of GEN Z. The bad news has to do with certain statistics that continue to rise. Depression, suicide, loneliness, and anxiety are trending higher than previous years among GEN Z. Denise George from the Baptist Paper shared recent data in an article called GEN Z in Pessimistic Times. She revealed that research and medical organizations have noticed a surge in these categories among the youth which makes 56% of GEN Z expect the worst and not the best in life. With this worldview and lived out negative experience, GEN Z is hungry for something better and desires real community with others that will last.

The good news has to do with the gospel being the answer for GEN Z. Shane Pruitt from NAMB recently preached for the Winter Jam Tour where thousands came to faith in Christ. He noted, “I think I’ve seen more young people get saved in the last two years than I have in 15 years of ministry combined.” Because GEN Z is looking for answers in a broken world, they realize something is missing. With a new mobilization of evangelism and discipleship through NAMB’s NextGen ministries, exciting opportunities are popping up all over the country to give GEN Z hope.

Where Does GEN Z Find Hope?

The church must be a megaphone of hope to GEN Z. The church needs to do a better job at communicating this gospel reality and be the counterculture to GEN Z’s worldview and lived out negative experience. The church is the place for the next generation to find hope because it provides a sacred place for them to gather and belong and supports troubled young lives that will counsel them with biblical direction. The church co-evangelizes and co-disciples alongside parents to educate, inform, and spiritually develop teenagers into future leaders in the church. As our CSBC President Victor Chayasirisobhon always says, “The youth and children’s ministries are the most important part of the church.” GEN Z can fine hope in the church as long as we see them as a vital part of fulfilling the Great Commission.

3 Ways You Can Give GEN Z Hope

At CSBC Youth, we desire to plant a gospel seed in every GEN Z in California. We believe youth ministry is essential in our churches because GEN Z needs hope in hopeless times. Here are three simple ways you can give GEN Z hope:

  1. Pray for GEN Z. We need to pray for the next generation just like in the psalms. God will give you a heart to reach them (Psalm 71:5; 78:1-8; 144:12; 145:4). I set an alarm on my phone for 4:12 PM based off 1 Timothy 4:12 that reminds me to pray for the youth.
  1. Understand GEN Z. I highly recommend signing up for Impact 360 Institute’s GEN Z Lab. It is free and provides training for youth pastors, educators, parents, and volunteers to understand what is happening among the next generation.
  1. Gospelize GEN Z. Contextualize the gospel to reach teenagers! Welcome and invite them to your church. Plan an event to gather the youth in your church and boldly share the truth with them.


RJ McCauley serves as Student Ministries Pastor at Magnolia Church in Riverside, Ca. He is currently studying Theology through The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at California Baptist University. RJ is married to Melissa, and they share a daughter.