Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post called Evangelism From a GenZ Perspective in preparation for our Exponential Global Conference. With evangelism as the central theme, it was on the forefront of our hearts and minds as we entered the week-long equipping session that was Exponential 2023.
At the conference, I had the pleasure of speaking to several influential Christian leaders about evangelism and how GenZ can overcome some of the current obstacles that we face when it comes to sharing the good news of Jesus. My conversation with John Mark Comer was nothing short of insightful. Here’s a recap of some of the most important points that I took away from our conversation as an evangelistic GenZer:
What do you see as the biggest hurdle for evangelism and GenZ? How would you encourage us to overcome it?
“There’s some new research saying that in previous eras, people set their worldview by about age 23, which is why so many people lost their faith when they went away to college and were exposed to new ideas and views…but now they’re saying that GenZ is setting their worldview by age 13. The problem is that their prefrontal cortex is a decade away from being developed, and it’s mostly based on social media tribalism. The fact that social media hasn’t been regulated yet by government or by parents and is therefore exposing them at too young of an age to too many ideas with too many tribalistic powers is a major challenge.”
The statistics that John Mark shared are scary, but not shocking. These truths have become even more evident over the past few years, making evangelism feel like a lost cause for many GenZers. We have gotten caught in the thick of social media and tribalism, but that does not mean that we are stuck here. Because social media has consumed society, we as Christians must use our platforms for the gospel. The light of Christ shines the brightest in the darkest places.
What is your evangelism strategy and how would you translate it to GenZ?
“Hospitality. Welcoming people to the table, cooking meals for them, asking them questions…”
“The table” was one of the central ideas of Exponential 2023. Many of the speakers emphasized the need for hospitality in terms of evangelism. There’s nothing like being welcomed in someone’s home. An invitation makes someone feel important and cared for, and that’s exactly what Jesus does for us as his adopted family. If there’s a seat at Jesus’ table for you, then there’s a seat for everyone. We must not forget that people are God’s mission, so they should be our mission, too.
What do you think that it looks like to be bold in evangelism?
“I think it means to not compromise your ethical convictions and theological convictions in the name of niceness.”
John Mark’s straightforward answer highlights a message then GenZ needs to hear: compromising is not the key. In fact, it will cause more problems than it will solve. We must love others enough to tell them the truth because that is the most loving thing that we could ever do.
Why is evangelism not a lost cause?
“[Evangelism is not a lost cause] because of church history.”
“A lot of times they said that Christianity would die in this generation, and every time it’s made it through lots of things through evangelism.”
“That gives me hope for the future.”
The first word that came to mind when I heard John Mark’s astute response was “perseverance.” Christians have persevered for centuries to get to the point where we are now. More importantly, God has remained faithful through it all. He has carried us through this far, so he will carry us through until it’s time for Jesus to come and make all things new again.
Christianity will not die because the Spirit has empowered us to evangelize. We have hope for the future in the Word of God, and that’s enough.
Madison Burnette is a current senior Bible and Theology major at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, TN. She is a Nashville native who aspires to write blogs, Bible studies, devotionals, and curriculum as a form of ministry. Madison is also a Content Team intern with Exponential. Her current favorite Scripture is 2 Corinthians 5:14-21. Check her out on her blog.