Archives For Youth Ministry Training

What can happen when we intentionally go on mission with our youth? Emily shares her Mission Trip Diary from our Summer Moveolution UK.

This summer we had a fantastic time in God’s presence, engaging with youth across our Moveolution England and Moveolution Scotland mission sites. Teams of American and British youth and their youth leaders came to Larbert, Stirlingshire and Witney, Oxfordshire on mission to relationally share Jesus with other young people.

Emily shares her mission diary with us to tell us all that happened in Witney. If you are interested in our Overseas or UK based mission trips, you can find out more here or you can get in touch! You can see what the young people in Scotland got up to by watching this video which one of the mission team made.

Saturday

The US team arrived safely in the early hours of the morning. In the afternoon, the UK team joined the team, in Witney, and got settled down. After many icebreakers and name games (we have a big team!), the group slowed things down as we moved on to quiet time.

Esme led the team by helping us all feel on the same page and gave us tools on how to read and apply the Bible to our lives. Some of the team have never had this chance before, and so it’s great to begin a habit to take back home after this week. We saw God move when we read Mark 4. We were encouraged to be like a lamp on a stand, and how this light attracts others around us, for example loving the young people we meet in the week.

Ben (Youth Leader) taught us a way of initiating conversations with teenagers, called the ABC’s. This will be a way that the team can grow in building relationships, and loving each-other well. The team shared life and laughter over a delicious meal, shortly followed by a British Culture quiz, and talk on youth culture in the community.

We ended the evening with worship and prayer. The team came back to the idea that we are here for God, and are expectant from Him to move in and through us, as we are a light for Him. The word expectant perhaps is a theme for this week. Expectant for God’s joy to overflow, expectant to hear God in quiet time, and through each other. Expecting to be challenged, and see God move!

Sunday

After a refreshing sleep, and filling breakfast, the Moveolution team headed to the local church (Cogges) for their morning service. The rain held back, meaning the team had a picnic in the park, and free time to build relationships!

One highlight was a spontaneous team lesson on how to waltz. Sometimes these things can never be planned! During quiet time, we looked at Acts 8, and how incredible things can happen when we are obedient to Gods voice, and take that step of faith- like Philip. This was encouraging to hear for the team, as we are preparing for mission time in the afternoons.

We all got to know the town centre, with a competitive photo scavenger hunt. This included having to get a photo with someone with a moustache, as a team we nailed it!

Each of us made a shield with pictures and words to describe our Family, faith, fun and future. Another helpful tool to deeper conversations within the group. I believe the whole Moveolution team would agree that the evening game time was a definite highlight of the day.

We saw God move in the way we worked well in 4 different teams, each bringing unique personality and levels of competitiveness to the group! It’s amazing to see a team, collectively growing in friendship and support within 24 hours! This is what we expected, and here God has so beautifully shown up. We celebrate that.

One team member said;

“ I have enjoyed the challenge to be prepared to do anything. Even waltzing around with a group of people I’d just met!”

God showed up today in friendship, obedience, and vulnerability. This is only the beginning of a fantastic week ahead.

Monday

A glorious Monday, with sunshine and blue skies, and answer to prayer! We kicked off the day with quiet time discussion, on Mark 4. Jesus met with unexpected people, in unexpected places. He connected through the current society and culture of that day.

Therefore, we asked ourselves; “how can we be getting alongside young people, and connect with them in a similar way?” To do this, Carina taught us ways to help friends take the next step towards God. We then got to practice this in ministry time. Identifying where teenagers were at, and getting alongside them.

There were 3 sites, and each fed back positive experiences of games, snacks, and meaningful conversations. It was encouraging to hear that the teenagers were looking forward to seeing the team back in the next few days here.

The team found unexpected joy in moments where they were previously afraid but using the tools they’d learned, they were able to build the relationship and show the incredible love of our Father.

It was important to get a taste of American culture; Joy cooked sloppy Joe’s, and what a meal that was! From having separate conversations with the team, I’ve seen how everyone has been surprised by their own ability and confidence within themselves.

The unexpected boldness to take that step, say hi to that person, to pray for that teenager. It’s more than taking a step, it’s radiating the image of God within us, and using the unique gifts of boldness He offers us daily. As a team, we are looking ahead to life back home.

To be able to use this boldness to help our friends take the next step, and expect the unexpected. One member said;

“ I saw God move in the conversations that I had in moments where I felt my most weak. God provides you and me, exactly what we need. Always”

Thankyou God!

Tuesday

We faced two challenges this morning. Adapting to 96% chance of downpour and thunder, and sharing our story. In other words, we needed God to move physically and spiritually. As a team, we prayed altogether for God’s will to be done, whether that’s rain or sunshine. More importantly, we’d given it to God, and left the result up to Him.

There is something so powerful about coming together as a community, to our Father who wants to pour out His goodness on us. God showed up in boldness. Within our ministry time, we got to connect with teenagers, and put God in the spotlight of our story. This was a challenge, but in the stepping out, the team felt brave and confident in this. One team member said;

“There’s no way that this confidence has been by chance. I know that God is real, He has moved in me, and I won’t be the same again”.

We saw how by just trusting in God’s Holy Spirit, we can impact teenagers with our testimony. On reflection, Moveolution Witney were blown away by the receptiveness of the young people to our testimonies. One highlight was some of the team being able to pray for God to meet with teenagers whilst they were with them.

Not having outdoor activities ,opened a door for deeper conversation, and that’s where God showed up. The two challenges became opportunities to make God more famous. We knew He was in control, despite the weather, and trusted Him to meet us through our stories. This is something we can all take back home.

When facing challenging situations, we can choose to ask God to move, and leave the result up to Him. Our team have been overflowing with joy about building relationships with teenagers, hearing from God in quiet time, and sharing the stories God written on their hearts. Because the biggest platform we have is the very life we live.

Wednesday

Today God showed up in new ways. Most of the team felt at times challenged with tiredness, and less excited being together. It’s mid-week, and that’s absolutely okay. This showed us the importance of rest.

The mission team were given reflection questions to remind ourselves what God’s been teaching us this week, and our personal goals. It’s okay to stop, and remember we are human beings, not doings. We were also given a chance to have ‘introvert time’. This was 40 minutes of just being whether that was playing football, journaling, reading, or walking. One team member said;

“Having introvert time was so good for me. I can see how it helps me with processing thoughts, and recharging.”

We saw God move in how we rest, and this is so key for life back home, when we need to draw close to God at times like this. This linked to Psalm 17 which we read in quiet time. Hiding in the shadow of His wings, and being okay with rest. At the same time, David thanks God for what he will do, and has already done.

We saw God move in how we can also thank God for the past few days of Moveolution! The team saw God move, once again in the afternoon ministry time. The teenagers really connected with the team, and helped them ask good questions about God. Overall it was successful, and each member of the team worked so well together, to bring God all the glory. So we thanks God for the rest we had today.

Thursday

Today the team was open, genuine, and obedient. Being open in the simple gospel message. We learnt a tool called ‘The Bridge’, which explains the gospel message through an illustration. For some, this really clicked; they were able to teach it to the teenagers that were open to hearing how Jesus’ death on the cross, impacts their lives today.

God showed up in many open conversations with teenagers, some sharing testimony, some sharing the gospel message; ultimately giving God all the glory in ways he’s shaped us. At various points in the day, I looked around and saw a team that was genuine. In listening well to each other at meals, to encouraging and caring when we’ve been brave. Being genuine is in the small moments, choosing to check in with someone, and doing small things with great love.

Obedience. Success is being obedient in the small things. It’s doing our part, and leaving the rest to Him. As a team, we were challenged to see prayer as the driving force of ministry time. We read in Matthew 14 that after feeding the 5’000, Jesus immediately goes up a mountain, to pray to his Father. Immediately. Jesus, fully human, and fully God, knew the divine power of relationship. Obedience, is what Jesus so beautifully displayed.

Likewise, in our ministry time, we chose to hold back, spend time with the Father, praying for the ones who were having good conversations in ministry time. How beautiful. Being made for relationship, to solely rely on that to drive openness in the team. What an honour it was to join see where God was moving, and join in.

We got to partner with God, and later celebrate with each other on how God moved today. moments where we, like Peter, responded to Jesus’ calling out the boat, our comfort zone. Some of the team got to pray with a teenager, and some simply radiated Jesus’ love by playing games and speaking life into them. Obedience in praying when no one is watching, and stepping outside our comfort zone.

Moveolution England Team 2019
Moveolution Scotland Team 2019

Josh and Gareth share how their teams have developed a vision for their youth ministry. How are they starting to see it come to life with the help of Learning Community?

Learning Community is our residential volunteer training programme which runs across training weekends throughout the year. Each cycle is three years long. As the end of our latest cycle comes to a close, Gareth and Josh reflect on their time with learning community and what they have gained as a team.

Gareth is a Pioneer Minister, vicar, in Aylesbury with Berryfields church. After planting a church on a new housing estate and setting up a youth ministry in the area, they wanted to receive more training to help give their youth ministry a solid foundation.

Three years later, they have developed a mentoring pipeline where they are training leaders to mentor young leaders to mentor the young people in their youth ministry. They are seeing relational youth work happen in their church.

Josh, a youth leader in Redditch, was encouraged by one of the other youth leaders in his team. Danielle has been on the Gap Year and Degree programme with Reign Ministries and wanted to share discipleship training with her team.

At the same time, Josh wanted to invest in training. As a result, they have not only seen the benefits in their youth ministry, but have started investing in the churches around them. They would love to see all the churches in their area flourishing in their youth ministry.

Watch their stories here. If you are interested in training your youth team and church leaders, you can find out more about Volunteer Training here. Or you can Get in Touch!

The highlight of each season of our Greenhouse Gap Year is seeing the journeys each of our students embark on. What stories have our Gap Year students got to share with you this year?

Are you interested in coming on our Greenhouse Gap Year? Or do you know a college-leaver in your youth group who is thinking of embarking on a gap year journey?

Find out more information here, or you can get in touch if you would like to speak to us. We love hearing your story! Funding options are available for our 2019-2020 intake.

How do I help those I am discipling to understand and identify the emotions they feel?

This year, we’ve been investing in a series on mental health to support our students, staff and young people. As part of this, in Bicester and Witney we’ve put some time into understanding Emotional Intelligence.

The GreenHouse Gap Year students have been very fortunate to have had different mental health practitioners come in and run workshops with us.  We learned a lot and we grew a lot.

We’d love to share some of their insights with you – in the hope that they can be useful for yourself and be resources for other those you might be journeying with.

Perceiving Emotions

Perceiving emotions is a crucial step in handling emotions with maturity.  We are used to just feeling what we feel without reflecting on the why’s behind our emotions.  To overcome that lack of awareness, we set out to track out our emotions.

For a week, all of the GreenHouse Gap Year students and leaders documented our emotions with the help of ‘Mood Trackers’. By tracking our moods daily we began to see the patterns, scope, and range of emotions which we have throughout the week.

Both Gap Year students and staff have begun to share their new insights and revelations found in tracking their moods. Ready to embark on their next step in Understanding emotions. 

We found many downloadable mood trackers online like this one. You can download one, or make your own simple form.

Understanding Emotions

How do we help those we are discipling to learn to perceive their emotions? And, at the same time, how do we learn that emotions do not have to drive our behaviours? Jon Bloom shares that;

“God designed your emotions to be gauges, not guides. They’re meant to report to you, not dictate you. The pattern of your emotions (not every caffeine-induced or sleep-deprived one!) will give you a reading on where your hope is because they are wired into what you believe and value — and how much.

“That’s why emotions like delight (Psalm 37:4), affection (Romans 12:10), fear (Luke 12:5), anger (Psalm 37:8), joy (Psalm 5:11), etc., are so important in the Bible. They reveal what your heart loves, trusts, and fears.”

Jon Bloom – Your Emotions Are a Gauge Not a Guide

You can find Jon Bloom’s article in its entirety here. It is well worth the read!

Tools to Reflect on Emotions

Helping people reflect on their emotions is so important to guide them into emotional maturity. Here are two resources you can use. These help us to see we have a choice in how we respond to our emotions. And, how we choose to not be ruled by emotions.

Reflection tool 1

You are driving by and notice an emotion. You slow down and let it hop inside.

  • can you identify the emotion?
  • What are you going to do now you have let it come inside the car?
  • Are you going to move over and put it in the driver’s seat?
  • Is it going in the Passenger seat? Back Seat?

You have the choice of whether you let the emotion drive you. Or be next to you, giving you directions. Or, be a back seat passenger, not in control but still present. Even thrown in the boot and not given a chance to affect the journey! 

Reflection Tool 2

A train (emotion) goes by every minute. Am I going to get on it or do I just let the train pass me by? Where is the train going to take me? Do I want to go there? Does it match with the destination I am trying to get to?

Like the list of stations telling us the drop off points on a train line, our emotions can do similar things. If you can be aware of what track a certain emotion will take you on, you can begin to manage your emotions. Manage your emotions in a more healthy way by choosing whether to ‘board that train’ or board another that leads to the place of your choosing. 

This has been a very quick snapshot of some of the things we have been discussing around emotional maturity. We hope you can glean some useful pieces to take away and use these to support others in their journeys.

If you’d like any more information on any subjects mentioned in this article or source materials, then please do get in touch. We’ve found these examples and talking points extremely useful and we hope you do too.

featured image – https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/emoji-faced-young-friends_4246727.htm

Our ‘Born to Reproduce’ huddle has always been a highlight of the year! A huddle we’ve continued to use to inspire and equip all GH’ers on the topic of discipleship.

The curse of today is that we are too busy. I don’t mean being busy earning money to buy food. We are busy doing Christian things. We have spiritual activity with little productivity. Productivity comes as a result of what we call “Follow-up”’

D Trotman

Busy Doing Christian Things…

Huddling three times per week, our Greenhouse Gap Year Students come together to grow and develop in their spiritual and ministry journeys.

The trusty little pamphlet we use for this session was written by Billy Graham’s ministry partner Dawson Trotman. It compiles their years of experience of one-on-one discipleship into 24 small pages packed with tips and hope!

The curse of today is that we are too busy. I don’t mean being busy earning money to buy food. We are busy doing Christian things. We have spiritual activity with little productivity. Productivity comes as a result of what we call “Follow-up”’

Born to Reproduce – D Trotman

The quote above has often been so true for me in the past. Year after year our students go out into the world and get involved with businesses, charity’s, churches and further education. Often calendars begin to fill up with commitments, church activities hobbies and more. 

The activity is there but is productivity?

Productivity is described as having an eternal effect. Discipling another to disciple another is a priority that Trotman inspires us to act on rather than just being ‘busy’ to feel that we are accomplishing kingdom goals.  

We must prioritise time and relationship with those we are discipling.  Making time for that fortnightly coffee & catch-up with those you can invest in and journey alongside with, for example. This is such a vital part in helping a young Christian into spiritual maturity. 

Creating Time to Be Relational

So, if you’re like me, often struggling with being too busy doing ‘Christian things’ we want to encourage you to pause and consider your diary.  Where can you re-organise your schedule? How can you prioritise time to closely journey with those hungry for more of Jesus?

If you would like to re-read Born to Reproduce, or discover it for your youth ministry team, then attached is a link to the book (PDF). It is well worth the 15 minutes it takes to soak in its message!

Happy Reading…

Born to Reproduce – Discipleship Reading

Carina is in her first year of the degree programme working towards a BA in Theology and Mission. Her placement is split between the GreenHouse Gap Year programme and St. Mary’s Cogges church in Witney. How is God equipping her to have gospel conversations?

“Marie (name changed) and I went to school together in Austria and have been friends for a long time. Marie is a very openminded and curious person and I have intentionally taken opportunities to share my faith with her. A couple of months ago I was reading one of my favourite Christian books, and as I was reading it, I kept thinking about Marie. I felt God nudge me to send her the book. So I did.

“A few weeks later she sent me a message. She had read the book, and it inspired her to pick up her Bible and read it. Her message said: “I have questions. Can we talk about it?”.

“I was really excited but also nervous before our talk. I knew this could be a turning point in Marie’s faith journey. Marie told me that she had started reading the Bible from the beginning and as she made her way through Genesis there was one big thing she did not understand: Why is a loving God judging and punishing people?

“I was so glad she asked, because this question gave me the chance to explain the good news of Jesus to her, how he died on the cross for us to take this punishment for our sin on himself. After my explanation there were a few seconds of silence, then Marie said: “That makes so much sense!”. What an amazing moment!”

“One of the things we help our students in the GreenHouse Gap Year programme with is how to talk about Spiritual things and ultimately, have gospel conversations with our friends. On that same day that I spoke with Marie, I was preparing to teach the students about a resource we call the Pie Shape (no points for creativity, there).

“The Pie Shape is a tool which helps to illustrate what holds people back from deciding that they want to follow Jesus. Basically, there are three areas that might stop people from asking Jesus to be their leader and forgiver: knowledge, will and experience.

“One important question we must ask if we are going to grow in having gospel conversations with our friends is ‘What is holding you back from making a commitment to follow Jesus?’

The Pie-Shape

“If a person feels like they need more experiences with God, you can pray with them for specific things and help them to engage with prayer for themselves. Another good thing to do is to show them how to connect with God in different ways and help them to see how God is actively involved in their lives.

“If they think they need more knowledge ask them what they don’t understand and help them to discover the answers to their questions. You could go through the Stir Pack, an Alpha course with them or start reading the Bible together.

“If they are not making a commitment because it is a question of their will, then you can challenge them why they are sitting on the fence. There also might be some misconception about what it means to be a Christian that you need to correct.

“Back to my conversation with Marie…I asked her what she thinks she needs before she can make a commitment herself, and she said she feels like she needs more knowledge about God.

“Since that conversation, we are now Skyping nearly every week and reading through the Gospel of Luke together. Marie asks very deep questions about what we read and I am really challenged to think about these things and try to answer them as clearly as possible.

“It is exciting to see how God has worked in her life over the last few years and how she is now exploring what faith means for her own life.”

Applications are still open for our Degree and Gap Year Programmes. We would love to hear your story, so get in touch by following the above links.

We also have a new cycle of our volunteer training starting in January 2020. This community of like-minded learners is a place where you can train your volunteer team about discipleship and set a vision for your youth ministry.

Isaac and some people from his church in Thailand

Matt recently visited Isaac to see first-hand how he is building a disciple-making ministry in Bangkok. What is it like to see discipleship happen in Thailand?

Meeting on the Degree programme, Matt Bodinham and Isaac Lasky became fast friends. Upon graduating in 2014, both Matt and Isaac began building disciple-making ministries, spread out across the globe.

Matt went back to his hometown to begin building a youth discipleship charity and Isaac moved to Thailand and began to serve with New Anglican Missionary Society. Here is Matt’s story of his visit.

“This past spring my wife, Amy, and I had the opportunity to go and stay with Isaac and his wife Pat. One of the things that I enjoyed the most about getting to see them, was the opportunities to see what life and ministry look like for them.

Isaac Lasky and Pat Lasky

“Isaac and Pat live in a Christian Student Centre, and run the local church that focuses on that group. As well as living amongst the students, Pat works at the coffee shop in the centre. So, within hours of landing in Bangkok, we were sat in a cafe being introduced to numerous Thai people that Pat and Isaac work with, and are discipling.

“We learnt that culturally, Thai people don’t really introduce each other, so Isaac filled us in on their names, where they’re from, what they’re studying, other things he knew about them, and most importantly, what they brought to the church. It was clear just from this that Isaac was very intentional at getting every member of the church to invest and help with the running; something that I believe is a key tenant of discipleship and faith.

Matt and Isaac on Palm Sunday

“On Palm Sunday, Isaac had asked if I would lead the sermon, and I was happy to do it (if not a little nervous at having to speak through a translator). When we got to Sunday morning, I was looking forward to standing up in front of people and sharing the message that I felt that God had given me. The reality was that I was in for a surprise, because by the time we got to the sermon, I was the last one to do something for the service.

“Isaac had invited a twelve-year-old (on the spot) to the welcome and connective parts of the service, and that was just the beginning. Whether it was leading the worship, preparing a meal for everyone afterward, doing
a dramatic re-telling of the Palm Sunday Story, every single person in the room led a part of the service- even Amy, who was asked to do the English half of the reading (again, on the spot)!

“It really made me think of my own church, and what our expectations of the congregation are: do we just ask the same people do jobs, or do we make it the role of the whole church to lead? This, I think, is a really key piece to discipleship that I see Isaac really model well, and it was such a blessing to be able to get to see and be a part of it.”

Isaac & Pat Lasky in the Village

Ever wondered what life is like on the Degree programme. How are Jon and Ellie being equipped on The Degree to change the trend of Youth Ministry?

If you are interested in The Degree programme and want to learn more, follow the link or check out when our next Open Day is. We would love to hear your story!

We are kicking off our blog series ‘Understanding Gen Z’. You may be wondering where we got our info from? Or, you may be interested in learning more? Here is a list of our sources and recommended research to learn all things Gen Z.

This is our recommended reading on this topic. We always love to hear from you, so if this series sparks any questions, we would love to hear from you.

You can email me by visiting our Contact Us page.

If you would like to find out more about how we are equipping leaders you can visit The Degree, Learning Community and Gap Year pages. We are still taking applications too!

Our Fave Gen Z Reports and Podcasts

Youth For Christ: Rethinking Culture

You can read their Research Here

Youth For Christ: Digital Generation

You can read this Research Here

The Gen Z Podcast

This Cultural Moment

Books

Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World by James Emery White

You can buy it on Amazon here.

Everyday Church; Mission by Being Good Neighbours – by Tim Chester

You can buy it on Amazon here.

Missional Discipleship after Christendom – by Andy Hardy and Dan Yarnell

You can buy their book on Amazon here.

Generation Z: Their Voices, Their Lives – by Chloe Combi

You can buy it on Amazon here.

Journals

Doyle and Treacy

Doyle, L. and Treacy, M.P. and Sheridan, A. (2015). ‘Self-harm in young people: Prevalence,
associated factors, and help-seeking in school-going adolescents’, International Journal of
Mental Health Nursing, 24 (6), pp. 485-495.

You can view this journal via this link.

The Internet

Barna: Perceptions of Jesus, Christians and Evangelism in the UK

The Telegraph: Britain is no Longer a Christian Country

The Telegraph: Young People Head to Church

Christianity Today: Why is Gen Z More Open to Faith?

Comparably: Comparing Compensation and Culture of Millenials & Gen Z

Gizelle Abramovich: 15 Mind Blowing Stats about Generation Z

Premier Christianity: How Can Churches Attract Millenials and Gen Z?

Sharon Florentine: Everything You Need to Know about Gen Z

Staying true to their core values of diversity and tolerance, rather than question the cause and effect of practicing multiple sexualities and genders, Gen Z adopts a stance of complete acceptance.

Want to know where we got our sources or want to learn more about Gen Z? Read our Gen Z: Recommended Reading post

” In 3 or 4 years, there are going to be a whole lot more people who don’t think it’s necessary to figure out if you’re gay or straight. It’s like, just do your thing.”

Kristen Steward

Before turning to the topic of sexual fluidity, it’s worth looking at the impact that online pornography has had on Generation Z’s sexuality in general. According to James Emery White in his book ‘Meet Generation Z’, 70% of 18-34 year-olds regularly view porn online. Moreover, he mentions that the average age teens first watch porn is 11 years-old.

Statistics show that teens are starting to view porn at a younger age, but they also show that they are becoming increasingly addicted. Pornography seems to be taking over the lives of many young people; it has negative effects on how they relate to friends and family…. not to mention the opposite sex.

Jared’s Story

“I remember the first time I saw porn, I was probably about six. I went to a primary school which was attached to a high school. There were always older kids…

“I’d say about nine, a lot of the boys at school were either interested in seeing porn, had seen some or were watching it a bit. You’d have to be pretty clueless not to be aware of it…

“The first thing I did when I got my laptop for the first time – I got it about 3 months before my phone – was go up to my room and look for porn.”

“It was exciting, like a bit sort of dirty, but mostly exciting, secret.

“The thing I couldn’t believe was how much there was of it. It’s like the more you look the more you find, and you can literally find anything…

“At first, I’d only watch a bit and then I’d slam the laptop shut and feel all scared. But then it was obvious – nobody cared and there wasn’t going to be the porn police showing up to arrest you and tell your parents.

“So, I kept watching more and more…”

“Instead of hanging around my mates at lunch, I’ll go home and watch porn. I watch porn every night. Sometimes straight from school. I just lock the door and put headphones on.

“We went to Greece last summer and I was panicking I wouldn’t be able to access porn. But, luckily the hotel had WiFi and I could. I had to be a bit more careful as we were sharing this apartment… “

“Do I think this has changed the way I see girls? Yeah. Sort of. I haven’t had a girlfriend and it seems weird to think about the girls I know doing the stuff I watch.

“Like, I do think about them in those… like, the porn scenes sometimes, you can’t help it. But it’s really hard to imagine doing it in real life. I don’t know if real life will be as good as porn films.

“Why? Because some people say that girls are never as dirty in real life as they are in porn. And like, when you watch porn films you can sort of put yourself in the position of the man, and he’s always the boss.

“I don’t feel like that around girls in real life so I don’t think real-life sex can be as good. Also, no girls in school look like the girls in porn films which is okay. But, I love how girls look in porn.”

Jared, 16 Southampton. Estimated 60 hours per week on devices. (Combi, 2015, pp. 186-189)

The impact of pornography on teenagers is being explored in more depth through emerging research. Want more insight into the impact of porn on teens? Channel 4’s documentary, ‘Porn on the Brain’ is a great watch for more info.

Sexting and Pornographic Images

Unfortunately, viewing pornography is not the greatest danger facing Gen Z. Young people are increasingly becoming – willingly and unwillingly – the objects of pornographic images and videos. La Trobe University’s Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society found;

  • Nearly 3/4 of 15-18 year-olds have sexted.
  • Half of 15-18 year-olds have sent naked or semi-naked photos and videos of themselves
  • 84% have received sexually explicit messages by phone or email.

Sending these message and images has actually become a new form of courtship, says James Emery White. However, the physical damage and emotional damage from being an object of pornographic images/videos cannot be overstated. Especially when they are capable of being shared around friendship groups, entire schools and the virtual world!

Gen Z: Equality, Fluidity and Acceptance

Equality and Acceptance

Staying true to their core values of diversity and tolerance, rather than question the cause and effect of practicing multiple sexualities and genders, Gen Z adopts a stance of complete acceptance.

Gen Z are connected to many different people, cultures and value systems. This has contributed to Gen Z’s value of diversity, acceptance, tolerance and equality.

Among these cultures and subcultures, Gen Z have met people and have access to a variety of sexual practices and lifestyle choices. Potentially leading Gen Z to becoming more sexually fluid than other teenagers in the past.

Sexual and Gender Fluidity

James Emery White highlights a YouGov survey, carried out in the UK, which shows that;

“49% of young people, between the ages of 18-24, identified as something other than 100% heterosexual.”

James Emery White and YouGov Survey

These realities are not confined to sexual fluidity. Gen Z seems more than able to cope with a fluid sense of gender too. One of the major stories of Gen Z’s adolescence was watching Olympian, Bruce Jenner, transition to Caitlyn Jenner.

Today, most will have friends, or at least acquaintances, who are living out as a gender different from their birth. There is a real sense amongst this generation that;

“Sexuality should be set free from any and all restrictions and people should be allowed to follow their desires, moment by moment.”

Helena Horton, 2015

It is beyond the scope of this post to offer a depth of responses or applications. The purpose of this post is to help educate us on the perspective of Generation Z. One important conclusion is that it is very difficult for Generation Z to imagine that they can live a full and meaningful life without being sexually active.

Any discussion of a Biblical response must start with the questions of identity. If it is true that we are created by God, the reality is we are primarily spiritual – not sexual! We must help young people see that the Bible, and in particular the life of Christ, shows us that our primary satisfaction will come from our relationship with God and His people, not from our sexual expression.

In my post titled, Gen Z: What kind of Leader Will They Follow?, we discuss the type of leaders the Generation Z will respond to as we navigate these complex issues like sexuality.