What—and How—Is Gen Z Learning?
Dr. Alex McFarland Speaks with Tens of Thousands of Young People Each Year and Says This Generation Yearns for Truth in All Aspects
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—While millennials drive many headlines, those who make up Generation Z are the next up-and-comers. The Pew Research Center defines Gen Z as young Americans born after 1997, making the “eldest” of the generation 22 years old, graduating college and entering the workforce.
But this generation also spans several phases in American education, says youth and culture expert, author and nationally syndicated host Dr. Alex McFarland, who speaks with tens of thousands of young people each year.
So, he asks, what—and how—are they learning?
“The students who make up Generation Z are learning in varied ways—about varied cultural matters,” said McFarland, who worked closely with nearly 100 members of Gen Z at this summer’s Truth for a New Generation (TNG) Ministries’ Youth Apologetics Camp. “For instance, they like learning via video, and employers are already adjusting their training to accommodate these new workers. But, as young as elementary school, they are also being taught what a secular society wants them to know about gender, marriage, finances, government, history and even overall worldview.”
This is being accomplished, McFarland added, in both conventional and non-conventional ways. For example, liberal teachers and professors are skewing lessons to their own agenda—or leaving out or discounting conservative viewpoints altogether.
“And more than in the classroom, Gen Z has been pummeled with subversive messages to normalize what is not normal,” McFarland said. “This takes the form of messaging pushing gender dysphoria and non-biblical marriage, and attacks on Christian values and conservative values being slipped into youth-driven television programs and blockbuster movies—and even animated cartoons geared toward preschoolers! But parents and pastors can say, ‘enough is enough,’ and ensure Generation Z gets a fair and balanced view of the world—one that includes the truth of Christ, which permeates all aspects of our lives.”
At the Truth for a New Generation Youth Apologetics Camp earlier this month, McFarland and other leaders and guest speakers helped these members of Gen Z strengthen their faith, learn to stand “Unashamed” for Christ and invest a week to “Go Deeper with God.”
He said after spending time with the high-schoolers, McFarland discovered that they long to be mentored, want to be presented with the truth, are savvy to agenda-driven messaging if educated in the correct way, and will push back if they feel they are being used as a cultural pawn. This is the same for the message of Christianity.
“Some things I have clearly learned in speaking to hundreds of thousands of teens over the past 25 years are this: Teens are very spiritually hungry, and they do not want a message that is sanitized and sugar-coated,” McFarland said. “For the well-packaged, ‘tame’ Christianity that is marketed and given ‘spin’ by media and religious publishing houses, teens ask, ‘Why bother?’”
ThroughTruth for a New Generation, made possible in part by Liberty University, McFarland also hosts national and regional conferences that aim to help students, parents, youth pastors and community members lift up this young generation, pray for them and empower them to stand strong in their faith. Two events in Richmond, Virginia, and Cincinnati, Ohio, are planned for this fall. Learn more here.
View the media page for Alex McFarland here. For more information on Dr. Alex McFarland, visit www.AlexMcFarland.com or follow him on Facebook or on Twitter @AlexMcFarland. For more on the Truth for a New Generation conferences, visit www.TruthforaNewGeneration.com, or follow TNG on Twitter @TruthforaNewGen or Facebook.