Reaching This Generation

Ideas to help you engage with people in a new way

By Philip Long   |  12.June.2013
Postmoderns
Photo courtesy Cru Boston

In Preaching in a Post-Literate Age, author Michael Frost writes that the current generation in the United States learns by discussion, distrusts authority, values experiences rather than formal knowledge and tolerates many different points of view.

Although young people are wary of speeches and textbooks, they pay attention to what their friends say on Facebook and YouTube.

Here are some resources that will equip you to connect with post-moderns. These tools help you learn the Bible story, answer questions, engage culture/media and start spiritual conversations.

Learn the Bible Story:

The ESV Study Bible  and The New Living Translation. I recommend using these two translations side by side. This practice will enable you to see familiar passages in a different light. It also helps you understand the essentials of your passage.

The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Loyd Jones. Reading the whole Bible may be a little intimidating. This children’s book is not just for children, as it ties the whole story of Scripture together. Beautifully illustrated, this makes a good gift for parents as well as a conversation piece.

The Bible Story Handbook by John and Kim Walton. Written to help adults teach Bible stories to children, this book examines 174 Bible stories. It looks at the focus, application, context, interpretation issues, background information and mistakes to avoid in each story. If you wed this to the tools and methods you learn from Story Runners, it will help you honor God’s word and better communicate stories to your friends.

Answering Questions:

The Reason for God by Tim Keller. Some have called Keller the C.S. Lewis of our generation. He certainly knows how to engage the most difficult questions today with the story of the gospel. In The Reason for God, Keller addresses the seven biggest questions people ask about Christianity and then offers his reasons for faith. Well written, this book serves both as a great gift for the average postmodern, and it’s also a resource that you may turn to as you encounter questions and doubts of your own.

Encounters With Jesus by Tim Keller. Following up The Reason for God, Keller is writing an e-book series. It is drawn from a lecture series he gave at Oxford University on Jesus’ conversations recorded in the Gospel of John. In these lectures Keller is speaking to a very postmodern, intelligent and skeptical audience.

Engage through Culture/Media:

Falling Plates is an artistic 4-minute expression of the gospel story geared towards today’s audience. Using poignant scenery from contemporary culture this video portrays scriptural themes. You can share on Facebook, “like” on YouTube or even watch on a cellphone.

I Am Secondis a website that is dedicated to unique individuals to tell their faith stories. This can be used in much the same way as Falling Plates, and offers a lot of extra resources for reaching out to the post-moderns, his/her felt needs such as death, loss, depression, anger and more…

The Sacrificial Poet Project & On Every Word  Spoken word, ever heard of it? I hadn’t until recently. But this unique style of poetry can bring Scriptural themes to life. Find your favorite spoken word video and share it with your friends. These get people thinking and open up spiritual conversations.

My Last Day Many people today are big fans of Japanese anime. Produced by The JESUS Film Project ®, this nine-minute movie was made in Japan and offers a unique angle on the story of the cross. Share it on Facebook, like on YouTube or watch it on a cellphone.

Start Spiritual Conversations:

Sometime  This strategy is a way to engage people in spiritual conversations. Learn the power of asking someone, “Would you like to talk about your spiritual background ‘sometime’?”

Soularium Use this packet of 50 evocative photos printed on cards in wide variety of ways to initiate spiritual conversations. There are directions on how to use them, but often just laying them out on the table with someone begins meaningful dialogue.

Perspectives This is a religion and worldviews course printed on a playful deck of cards. Use 54 cards to examine your own worldview and explore the worldviews of your friends. It’s a way to begin exploring your core beliefs about the world.