AUTHOR: James Emery White
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2017, (224 pages).
- Expansion of Christianity in the Southern hemisphere of Asia, Africa, and Latin America
- Rise of Islam
- Redefinition of family and marriage
- Doctrine of humanity
Thankfully, White does not leave readers stuck in this new reality. He supplies a fresh approach to engaging this generation. He starts with the countercultural church and calls for us to understand before attempting to engage. The author makes a powerful case for the calling for Church to be the organizational force for change. The Church needs to be one, holy, universal, and apostolic. It has a singular vision to point others to Christ. Gen Z people are poised to fast-forward their activism even if it means leaving Church behind. In other words, we cannot jettison the Church on the basis of some historical flaws. This is the very reason why Church is becoming less popular among Gen Z. White gives some historical examples of how civilization can be saved when the Church is empowered. We need to be aware of the three primary voices that could be spoken into culture. The first is prophetic which is a call to turn to God and be right with God. The second is the evangelistic call, which is a call to be reconciled in Jesus Christ. The third is the heretical voice which will always attempt to prevent the first two. The way forward for the Church is not to mirror culture but to counter. When the Church fails to be the Church, it disappears.
Other than finding our voice, we need to rethink evangelism. No longer can we adopt the 'bump' method that is event oriented. We need to move to process oriented methods. This means learning to survey the cultural landscape and the contexts that people live in. One such context is Gen Z having a shorter attention span such as the '8 second filter.' We have 8 seconds before a Gen Z engages or disengages. Apologetics are increasingly essential to tackling the questions of this generation. Even the understanding of apologetics need to move from mere question and answer to building bridges of connection. Engage with people's need for spirituality and meaning. Check out the things that matter to them, what programs they watch, their fascination with science and technology, and their deepest questions that are only asked when scratched appropriately. He ends with six more strategic decisions:
- To be cultural missionaries
- To skew young, that the Church need to make a preference for the young
- Target the men
- Prioritize children's ministry
- Cultivate a culture of invitation
- Disciple the mission
James Emery White is founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He blogs regularly at ChurchAndCulture.org and is a ranked adjunct professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Rating: 5 stars of 5.
This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Books and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.