Meet Generation Z

by Pastor Billy Chidester
 
Below is a blog that I read recently that should challenge you and I in our

thinking. Check it out…

Meet Generation Z 

I know some are still trying to catch up with Busters, or Generation X, or whatever we called those who followed the Boomers. Or maybe you leapfrogged over all that straight to Generation Y (Millennials), on whom marketers have been focused for at least a decade. I could tell you there are actually six living generations in America, but I don’t want to add to your stress.

Let me save you some time: Drop everything and start paying attention to Generation Z, who now constitute 25.9% of the U.S. population. That’s more than Millennials (24.5%). That’s more than Gen X (15.4%). Yes, that’s even more than Baby Boomers (23.6%). By 2020, they will account for 40% of all consumers. Generation Z will not simply influence American culture, as any generation would, they will constitute its culture. 

So who falls into Generation Z? There’s still some debate on exact dates, but essentially it involves those who were born after Generation Y – so approximately 1995 to 2010. It is the generation that is now collectively under the age of 25. Some would argue that everyone born from, say, 1980 to the early 2000s are one giant cohort known as Millennials. It’s true that such a grouping would be unified under a technology revolution, but as the research of Bruce Tulgan notes, “This time frame is simply too broad to define just one generation because the 1990s and the 2000s are two distinct eras.” To lump them together would be to link a 13-year- old with a 35-year- old. And even technologically, that would be hard to embrace. Much of the 90s was pre-internet except for very, very early adopters. And the smart phone? Non-existent. The ubiquitous nature of those two things alone would decisively divide any generation. “Growing up with a supercomputer in your pocket connected to most of the world’s population and knowledge,” writes David Pakman, “has created an irreversible pattern of behavior unlikely to revert to the ways of previous generations.” Or as an article in the New York Times noted, “A 14-year- old in 2015 really does inhabit a substantially different world than one of 2005.”

Intriguingly, some are calling Generation Z the last generation we will ever speak of. The speed of culture, where change can happen in a day, will make speaking of generations and their markings obsolete. “Tomorrow will be less about what a difference a generation makes, but more about what a difference a day makes.” All the more reason to make sure we know about which is probably the last, and arguably which will prove to be the most influential, generation in Western history.

So who is Generation Z? They grew up in a post 9/11 world during a recession. They’ve experienced radical changes in technology and understandings of family, sexuality and gender. They live in multi-generational households, and the fastest growing demographic within their age group is multi-racial. But there are five defining characteristics that everyone should know.  

For those five and more, I’ll have to steer you toward my just-released book, Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World.

But make no mistake: Understanding and reaching this generation is the heart of understanding and reaching our post-Christian world.

James Emery White

http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/dr-james-emery-white/meet-generation-z.html
 

We live in a much different world than we did 10 years ago. As our church seeks to honor Christ by making disciples, let’s consider together how important it is to reach the younger generations. Fifty percent of our nation was born in 1980 or after and we have the great responsibility of building God’s kingdom by reaching those generations, while not forgetting the other generations. This will be challenging. There is much to overcome. It will require change. But imagine attending and serving in a church that is so selfless that it is filled with people from all generations and ethnicities. Join me as we pray for God’s strength and power and as we go to make disciples of all nations and generations.



Communicating Well

by Pastor Billy Chidester
 
Communication is one of the most important disciplines in life. I call it important because communication is what makes or breaks relationships. I have seen that faulty communication has caused great problems in my marriage, in my relationship with my kids, in relationships at church, work and school. The list goes on and on. Why? Because wherever we go we engage in relationships. The same is true in our relationship with God. Faulty communication and lack of communication will always spell disaster in our relationship with God. In our relationship with God, as well as our relationship with everyone else, communication takes practice. What I would like to do now is give you just a few practical thoughts about your personal communication with God (i.e. pray).

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An Open Letter

by Pastor Billy Chidester
 

I hope that you are doing very well. I know that you, like me, had much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! Having said that, it was a rough Thanksgiving for me. I began feeling bad on Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving and when I woke up Thursday I felt horrible! It seemed like nothing more than a sore throat and I thought it would pass in a couple of days as it often does. Well, not this time. By the time Monday rolled around and I was able to get to the Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist I found that it was a viral infection and antibiotics wouldn’t help. All I could do: wait it out. So, that’s what I’ve been doing. Everyday I feel a little bit better and every night I sleep a little better than the night before (praise the Lord!). But, during this time I have had plenty of time to reflect, pray, study, read and reflect some more. And this has been a blessing from the Lord. Sometimes I find it hard to stop and reflect on what the Lord is doing and ponder where the Lord is leading us. I thought that this would be a good way to let you know what the Lord has been doing in me the last few days.


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How Do We Avoid Taking Scripture Out of Context?

by Pastor Billy Chidester
 
Another way of asking this question is, how do we avoid wrongly interpreting passages of scripture in the Bible? This is important because whole theologies (beliefs about God) can be based on one person’s interpretation. New denominations have been started and even false religions have been started because
of faulty interpretation.

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Fast and Faithful

by Pastor Billy Chidester
 
The Lord has called His followers to fast. That’s simple enough, right? Actually, in theory fasting is simple, but it’s not natural. And, it’s very much a counter-cultural discipline for Christians. The Lord has called His people to be counter-cultural. We are called to be holy and to be separate from the rest of the world. If we want to be different from the rest of the world, then we need to do things differently from the rest of the world. Or, we need to not do things that the rest of the world is doing. We are called to be faithful to the Lord and fasting is part of that. Let’s talk about fasting for a moment.

What is fasting? According to Donald Whitney it is “the voluntary abstinence from food for spiritual purposes”. I would add that there are many things that we can voluntarily abstain from for spiritual purposes, but fasting in its purest form is abstinence from food. Fasting is not required for our salvation. We are saved by grace through faith in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Having made that point clear, it is also important to note that a Christian who is following Christ will fast on a somewhat regular basis. 1 John 2:6 says, “Whoever says he abides in Him (Jesus) will walk as Jesus walked.” That is to say that we will rearrange our lives around the practices of Jesus. In Matthew 4 we see that Jesus Himself fasted. In Matthew 6:16-18 Jesus said, “When you fast.” Again in Matthew 9:15-17, He said that His disciples will fast. So, it becomes clear that the Lord wants His people to fast.


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Don’t Give Up!

by Pastor Billy Chidester

Following Christ takes courage and commitment. It’s not for sissies. It requires sacrifice. That’s why Jesus challenged His prospective disciples to count the cost. Luke records some of Jesus’ words in Luke 14:28-30: 

28 “For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, after he has laid the foundation and cannot finish it, all the onlookers will begin to make fun of him, 30 saying, ‘This man started to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

So, Jesus wants to make it clear that before deciding to follow Him, one should first decide whether he or she is ready to do whatever it takes to remain faithful to their commitment to His agenda and plan.


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Why Does God Seem So Hidden?

by Pastor Billy Chidester
 
Have you ever asked that question? Maybe you asked the question in a different way, but surely you have struggled with the question at some point in your life. If you have not ever struggled with the question, then brace yourself, because it is likely that one day you will indeed ask yourself: Where is God at? In the meantime, you will likely run into someone who is struggling with a question like that.

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A Better Plan

by Pastor Billy Chidester
 
“But some of them said, ‘Couldn’t He who opened the blind man’s eyes also have kept this man from dying?’” (John 11:37) 
 

A question that has bothered people for thousands of years is the question of evil and God. It goes something like this: If God is all-powerful, He should be able to remove evil and suffering. If He is good, then He should want to get rid of evil and suffering. But the reality is, evil and suffering exist. Therefore, either God is not all-powerful or He is not good. So, how do we make sense of evil and suffering in this world? I can’t adequately answer that question in a short blog, but I would like to offer some thoughts.


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Imitators

by Pastor Billy Chidester

Recently I preached on forgiveness inside the body of Christ. One of the things I really wanted to talk about, but didn’t have enough time, was one of the reasons why we forgive others. “Why” is an important question. It’s how we learn. If you have kids you remember the “why” stage. Why this, why that. Why, why, why. One reason we forgive is because God requires it of us (see my sermon from May 15, 2016). But that isn’t the only reason we forgive. We also forgive because we are imitators of God.


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Speed Zone

by Pastor Billy Chidester
 
Recently, I planned to wear a particular t-shirt to church. Saturday night I laid out my clothes like I always do for Sunday and it never occurred to me to lay the t-shirt out. It was late Sunday afternoon before I remembered my plan to wear the t-shirt. What was my excuse? Simply, “I forgot.” Some things it doesn’t hurt to forget. In some things though, forgetting is detrimental. 

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