How do we best navigate the rapidly changing culture all around us while maintaining a biblical perspective, winning others for Christ, and raising up the next generation of leaders? Here at Momentum, we strive to guide a practical conversation about what the church needs to do to actually reach Generation Z, with observations on ministry strategies that seem to be working and those that are not. To understand how to reach our youth, we must understand, or begin to understand, who they are.

Born between 1999 and 2015 (9-25 year olds), Gen Z is the largest and most ethnically diverse American generation yet with almost 70 million children and teens. This generation is twice as likely, compared to adults, to proclaim atheism as their ideal, while 3 out of 5 of the population identify as Christian. 

What are Gen Z’s life goals? Half would report that happiness is their ultimate goal, mainly through financial success. While they have a drive for financial gain, more than half of teens use screen media four or more hours per day, with a quarter of the population using it for over eight hours a day. Within this screentime, usage could include a multitude of activities – including bullying. One-third of Gen Z reported being bullied online. 

Gen Zers also see their devices as a way to their preferred career: becoming a social media influencer. A 2023 report from the Morning Consult confirms that 57% of Gen Zers would like to become an influencer. The emerging career path appears easy: You become popular or “famous,” and you can create your own schedule. It also seems to pay well given the luxuries many influencers flaunt.


  • Overwhelmed, due to information overload, economic uncertainty, and social pressures
  • Tech-natives, due to an environment in early life that welcomed new tech
  • YouTube, due to their versatile, accessible, and interactive nature
  • Distracted, due to their heavy reliance on technology and social media 
  • Diverse, due to their higher acceptance of differences
  • Sexually-fluid, due to numerous factors, one being a desire to reject standards
  • Justice, due to tendencies to be vocal advocates for social and environmental issues
  • Post-Christian, due to a time characterized by increasing secularization and diversification of religious beliefs
  • Entrepreneur, due to the prevalence of side hustle culture in today’s society


When connecting with Gen Z, authenticity is key. Trying too hard to appeal to them can backfire. Gen Z is highly attuned to inauthenticity and can quickly sense when a brand or individual is trying too hard to be “cool” or relatable. Instead of forcing a connection, it’s essential to be genuine and transparent in your communication. Authenticity builds trust and credibility, which are crucial for establishing meaningful connections with Gen Z.

Overreacting to Gen Z’s preferences or feedback can also be counterproductive. While it’s essential to listen to their opinions and adapt accordingly, overreacting can come across as insincere or pandering. Gen Z values honesty and authenticity in their interactions, so it’s important to respond thoughtfully and respectfully to their input without exaggerating or overemphasizing any particular aspect.

Gen Z is known for asking tough questions and challenging the status quo. Instead of shying away from difficult topics or trying to avoid uncomfortable conversations, it’s important to encourage open dialogue and welcome their inquiries. Preventing Gen Z from asking hard questions can signal a lack of transparency or a reluctance to address important issues, which can undermine trust and credibility.

Assuming that Gen Z possesses spiritual knowledge or shares the same beliefs as previous generations is a common mistake. Gen Z is diverse and inclusive, with a wide range of cultural backgrounds, beliefs, and values. It’s essential to approach conversations about spirituality or religion with sensitivity and respect for their individual perspectives. Making assumptions about their spiritual knowledge or preferences can alienate Gen Z and hinder meaningful connections.

Lastly, excluding Gen Z from the conversation is a missed opportunity. Gen Z is highly engaged and eager to participate in discussions about topics that matter to them. Excluding them from important conversations or decision-making processes can make them feel undervalued and marginalized. Instead, it’s important to actively involve Gen Z in discussions, listen to their perspectives, and empower them to contribute their ideas and insights. By including Gen Z in the conversation, you can foster a sense of belonging and create more inclusive and meaningful connections.


To effectively connect with Gen Z, it’s crucial to help them understand their identity. This generation is navigating a rapidly changing world with diverse cultural influences and social dynamics. Providing opportunities for self-reflection and exploration can help Gen Z better understand who they are and what they stand for. Encouraging them to embrace their God-given individuality and develop their unique gifts lays the foundation for meaningful connections.

In addition to understanding their individual identity, Gen Z seeks a sense of belonging and community. Facilitating spaces where they can connect with like-minded peers, share experiences, and build relationships is essential. Whether through online communities, youth organizations, or inclusive events, creating environments where Gen Z feels seen and valued strengthens their sense of belonging and cultivates deeper connections with others who share their interests and values.

Helping Gen Z understand their purpose is another critical aspect of connecting with this generation. Gen Z is passionate about making a positive impact on the world and values authenticity, social responsibility, and meaningful contributions. Providing opportunities for them to engage in purpose-driven activities, such as volunteer work and church ministry, empowers Gen Z to align their actions with their values. By helping Gen Z discover their purpose and channel their energy towards meaningful endeavors, you can inspire them to become servant-leaders who step into their own communities with grace.

For more resources on connecting with today’s Gen Z youth, check out the comprehensive list below. You can also download it here as PDF.


  1. Meet Generation Z by James Emery White
  2. Generation Z Unfiltered by Tim Elmore
  3. Engaging Generation Z by Tim McKnight
  4. Faith for Exiles by David Kinsman & Mark Matlock
  5. iGen by Jean Twenge
  6. So the Next Generation Will Know by Sean McDowell & J. Warner Wallace
  7. The Legacy Path by Brian Haynes
  8. Gen Z, Volumes 1 & 2 by the Barna Group
  9. Eight Strategies to Build Mentally Tough Kids by Tim Elmore
  10. Beyond the Spiral by Will Hutcherson & Chinwe Williams
  11. Seen: Healing Despair & Anxiety in Kids & Teens Through the Power of Connection by Will Hutcherson & Chine Williams
  12. Navigating Our Digital World by Kara Powell
  13. Growing With by Kara Powell
  14. 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager by Kara Powell and Brad Griffin
  15. Embodied by Preston Sprinkle
  16. Rethinking Sexuality by Juli Slattery
  17. Chasing Love by Sean McDowell
  18. Nothing Less: Engaging Kids in a Lifetime of Faith by Jana Magruder, Ben Trueblood
  19. Master of One by Jordan Raynor
  20. The Life Giving Leader by Tyler Reagin