Attempting to engage young adults has churches, ministry groups and even parents busy researching, swapping ideas and trying to keep up with cultural trends.
About the time they think they’ve found what might resonate with the next generation, something — or everything — changes.
Daniel Blackaby, the son and grandson of the authors of “Experiencing God,” launched the Collision in 2019, with a ministry goal of equipping and challenging Christians to collide with their culture for Christ.
In a TAB Media Special Report, Blackaby joined host Jennifer Davis Rash to discuss his work in this area.
By using articles, video, social media, podcasts, livestreams, public speaking and published resources, the Collision strives to help Christians see where God is working in the culture and join Him — themes from “Experiencing God.”
Guiding and equipping
“[We focus] on the difficult issues in culture, observe what’s going on and … how can we guide and equip people,” Blackaby explained, “not necessarily just to give them a bunch of answers, but equip them to be able to … see where God is at work even in the craziness that’s going on in our culture.”
Blackaby said the foundational biblical passage for the Collision is Acts 17:16–34.
“Paul entered Athens — essentially the Hollywood of the day — the cultural arts and culture center and where the theater was and the poetry was and the philosophers were,” Blackaby noted. “You might expect [Paul] to sort of go in guns blazing — he has all the answers.”
But “he demonstrates a posture of just listening. He doesn’t go in [thinking], ‘I have the answers, they need the truth, I’m going to give it to them.’ But you get a sense that he actually takes his time to observe, to see what’s going on.”
Blackaby said some of the questions he and the Collision are asking include:
- What are the popular movies right now?
- What are the issues with which young adults wrestle, such as identity, stigma, hurt from authority and dealing with broken families?
The ministry is learning from the stories being told and by asking young adults about their struggles.
One of the Collision’s goals is sparking cultural conversations.
“Part of a conversation is talking, but a big part is listening and asking good questions and being attentive,” Blackaby asserted.
He thinks one misconception about younger generations is that they’re antisocial or technology has isolated them.
“I think because of technology, we assume that they’re not relational, but they’re very relational,” Blackaby declared. “They want, especially with older generations, people to listen to their story and get to know them.”
He noted younger generations like Gen Z are “more involved in activism and helping in the communities than any generation before.”
“There is this passion to serve, relate and make a difference,” Blackaby explained. “Millennials and Gen Z are just not driven by finances and monetary success as much as, ‘I just want my life to matter. I want to change people and change the world.’”
Young adults are valuable assets, Blackaby said, but the church tends to keep giving them baby food when they want more and want to serve.
“The younger generations can handle a lot more than we give them credit for,” he asserted, noting the next generation also is the “current” generation.
“They’re not waiting. Gen Z have their own challenges. God doesn’t wait until they become older.”
Blackaby added it’s important to make resources accessible to young adults through the channels with which they’re familiar, including podcasts and YouTube videos.
“Focus on what they want to talk about and focus on equipping them,” Blackaby encouraged.
For more information, visit thecollision.org