Gen Z Wants Community

Your goal with your website – beyond who you are and how to contact you – is to connect with real people. 

But how do you do that effectively? 

Question your Assumptions

It’s easy to assume we know what makes people “tick;” to believe all of our assumptions are the way things really are. (This, despite that old quip about what assuming does to you and me!)

But if – as Einstein said – most of our assumptions tend to be wrong, why don’t we question them more? 

While each person has their own, unique story (we should never assume we know), research into the shaping influences of a generation can also be revealing.

Take Generation (or Gen) Z, for example.

Understanding Gen Z

Born between 1997 and 2012, a large segment of Gen Z are now college and graduate students — many of whom will help shape culture and society in the coming decades.

They’ve grown up with the internet, and like everyone else, have now endured a pandemic, online classes, and tumultuous polarizations in what some are calling a post-Christian society.

In her recent article, 6 Things Christians Should Know About Gen Z, Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra suggests the following, general characteristics (the full article is well worth the read):

1. Gen Z Is (Kind of) Atheist (but willing to talk)

2. Gen Z Is Looking for (Better) Community

3. Gen Z Is (Anxiously) Digital

4. Gen Z Is (Fervently) Principled

5. Gen Z Isn’t Great with Communication or Commitment

6. Gen Z Is Missional

One thing that especially stood out to me in the article is that Gen Z is often marked by loneliness; they look for real community and relationships that transcend the virtual world of online existence.

Ironically, however, they are often looking online for the answers.

What does this mean for your site? Your ministry?

Gen Z will be attracted to a community, therefore, that does more than just “talk the talk” about loving your neighbors and the larger world (the missional aspect -#6). 

This means that mere pictures or verbiage on your website won’t be enough; they’ll want to see if you actually embody a vibrant community in practice (a better community – #2).

How are you incarnating the love of Jesus? Do you strive for real hospitality that’s attractive, and for broken people (like all of us), and not a club for the moralistic or Pharisaical who love to look down on others? 

Note: Gen Z’s atheism or agnosticism about God won’t likely be impacted by arguments (as Paul Miller of points out) – though we should be willing to engage humbly with their questions.

What they really ask about religion – even more than “is it true?” – is “is it good?” 

A loving community that is caring for the world around it demonstrates that, indeed, we follow a good God – one who stoops to wash our feet (Jn. 13:1-9;35).

(Of course, these are things we should be aiming for anyway – part of Jesus’ call to be salt and light to our world!)  

Connecting with Gen Z then – or anyone, for that matter – always comes back to humility and love, and asking questions. 

Isn’t this how Jesus engaged people – seeing them, moving toward them, asking them a question, then eating and drinking with them? 



True Identity Management

How important is identity management to protecting your online presence?  

For example, do you know who has access to your website(s)? 

Especially if your site receives financial or personal information, you want to limit access to only those who really need it. (This is known as the principle of least privilege). More people with access means more possibilities of inadvertent disclosure of important credentials. 

Be sure too that any service or app you use for giving/donations will protect identities and account information.

That said, there’s an important parallel to identity management with our hearts as well.

Just as hackers utilize false identities to infiltrate our sites (especially through phishing schemes and social engineering), there’s a constant pull inside each of us to find an identity in something other than Jesus.

Author Justin Holcomb captures this in a great way when he writes:

“If you’ve seen Fight Club, you’ll remember Tyler Durden’s powerful diatribe against the false identities we assume: “You’re not how much money you’ve got in the bank. You’re not your job. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your family. You’re not your problems. You’re not your age. You are not your hopes. You’re not your khakis.” 

In the spirit of Durden (and Luther), you are not your real or perceived set of identifiers. You are not your divorce. You’re not your parents’ divorce. You are not your addiction or disorder or STD. You aren’t your pattern of dealing with relationships, your adultery, your anger. You are not your wallet or your wit. 

Isaiah tells us that our righteousness is as filthy rags, but it is Jesus’ robe of righteousness draped over us that God sees. We need a God before whom we can put aside the disguise—trusting that when He sees us He won’t turn away or smite us in anger. With this possible, for just a moment, the vicious habits of identity maintenance can stop, and we can step down onto the firm ground of acceptance.”

This is true identity management, and it changes everything. 

Just as we would seek to root out the intruders from our online presence, how much more should we seek this for our hearts!

May God grant us grace to daily recognize and name, as Durden and Holcomb do, the false identities (many that are good things in themselves) that we look to for meaning and purpose.

This is possible, for in Jesus, we are already accepted and dearly loved. In him, money, jobs, wallets, and even sufferings and failures, can be transformed.

To the extent that we live out of this true, gospel-shaped identity, a watching world will see Jesus in his church!

Truepath’s vision is to empower Christian organizations and businesses to take full advantage of their online presence by providing affordable and best-in-class applications and dedicated, live customer support. You can reach us at: (760) 480-8791.