Posted on Thursday, Sep 16, 2021 by Monika Kelly, ed Marya Morgan
(Air1 Closer Look) – Today’s Christian college students exist in a world powered by heightened awareness of social injustice and the racial divide. They are hungry for real solutions – from parents and pastors. Greg Jao of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA routinely meets with college students on campuses as the ministry communications officer.
“What they’re telling me is, ‘I can no longer avoid truths about racial injustice, about environmental destruction -- and I do not know if the Church cares about this.’”
GenZ is the most ethnically diverse generation in history, and as such, many of them suffer racial injustice personally or observe it among their friends. Jao works to help churches understand that for these future spiritual leaders, emphasis on social justice is not political, but pastoral. “If you have 10 African-American families at your church and they all said, ‘we are terrified when our teenage son goes out at night, to go to their job or come back home from work,’ all of a sudden it’s not just political conversation, it’s a pastoral conversation.”
Despite the perceived gap between what churches ‘teach’ and what churches ‘do,’ surveys find GenZ Christians are still open to learning what the Bible says about the issues most important to them: racial reconciliation, climate change/Creation-care, immigration and adoption/foster care. They crave spiritual guidance on profound questions of practical faith:
“What do I do when members of my own body (immigrants, people of color), the Body of Christ, are hurting and in crisis, how should I respond?
“Does Scripture offer me anything I can apply to this situation?”
“Will Christian leaders offer me a model of how to engage?”