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Great Opportunity (Part 1)

Great Opportunity (Part 1)


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Episode Overview

Generation Z represents a great opportunity for potentially the largest missions movement in history, according to the Pinetops Foundation. In this episode, we talk about the rate at which Generation Z is leaving the church, how that can be turned around, and the role other generations can play in that movement. John and Beth Muehleisen join us to pray over this great opportunity and Generation Z.


John and Beth Muehleisen serve at WGM headquarters in Marion, IN. They served in Kenya for twenty years, where they were involved in urban church ministries, urban church planting, discipleship ministries, coaching church planters, and leadership development with Africa Gospel Church Kenya area leaders. They also served in Uganda for eleven years, where they worked in rural ministries such as Community Health Empowerment. They have two grown daughters and two grandchildren.

Show Notes
Read the Script

Connor Owen:Welcome to The Approach, where we help you walk with the next generation as they seek to use their gifts and their talents and experiences to journey with Jesus and participate in the great commission. On this microcast, we want to give you a snapshot of the next generation, and we want to provide you with some tools to disciple, empower, and pray for the next generation, whether you're a parent, a teacher, a coach, mentor, or friend. My name's Connor Owen, and I'm joined by John Rinehimer, and we both serve on staff at WGM. John's currently working on his PhD, and he's going to provide us with some insights and some observations about Gen Z that are going to help us as we walk with this next generation. And, well, I know what you're asking because I've asked it before too—John, why Gen Z? Why are we so focused on this upcoming generation that we're going to make a podcast about how to walk with them better? John, as you've been studying this topic and this generation, why do you think this is so important?

John Rinehimer: Yeah, thanks, Connor. It's a really good question. We've talked about it a bunch. And let me answer it with this question. Do you remember that phrase, “Be kind, rewind?”

Connor: Uh-huh (affirmative).

John R.: Yeah, it's from Blockbuster. Do you even remember Blockbuster?

Connor: Oh yeah, oh yeah.

John R.: Well, I'm glad you do. That makes me feel a little bit better. But you know, Gen Z’ers, they only know that phrase and what a Blockbuster is mostly because they watched it on Netflix when they saw the documentary. You see, Gen Z, they were born right around the turn of the century. And they started graduating from college in the last couple of years or so. And so things like Google, Alexa, Siri, smartphones, that's just something that they've never lived without. That's been part of their world. Dr. Tim Elmore, who's written extensively on generational leadership, he says this about Gen Z. He says that they are exposed to the world's challenges earlier than previous generations ever before. And so it's this interesting paradox that while Gen Z has access to more information than ever before, they still need relationship. They still need people to walk with them and help them process and digest all of the information they're taking in, to help them engage in deep relationships. And then, of course, we want to see them develop a robust Christ-centered faith.

Connor: That's interesting. So I guess what I'm hearing is they're facing some things that might not have been faced by previous generations. As you've been studying all of this, have you seen any trends with younger generations throughout history?

John R.: The short answer, yes. And it's so interesting to me, at least, many times, the beginning of movements of God throughout history have started in the emerging generation. In the Old Testament, you see Joshua and Caleb, David and Josiah, and Jeremiah, the prophet. In the New Testament, we see Jesus and his disciples. And a lot of people believe those disciples were late teenagers, mid-twenties. And then we see this pattern continue historically in guys like Martin Luther and John Calvin, John and Charles Wesley, George Whitfield. All these folks were in their twenties, and there's many, many more. And so what happened, it seems like, so many times, just God would start in the emerging generation, but then it would stir up just all the generations to come together, the body of Christ, to see a big move of God.

Connor: I love that thought of the way God has just done this throughout history and He's just stirred in the hearts of the younger generations and how that's not really something new. But I guess, for me, what could be new for Gen Z is the fact that they're in this really increasing post-Christian society. So that's different from previous generations like the ones we just listed off. Where do you think that's going to leave Gen Z in their walk with God?

John R.: Yeah, that's a great question. And maybe our listeners don't know this, but yeah, Gen Z, they are growing up, many, many times, in this post-Christian world. Probably different than what many other folks have grown up in. And there's a lot of research around this very topic. The Pinetops Foundation, for example, they suggest that Gen Z represents the largest Gospel opportunity in American history. And it's a vital moment in history, they say, because nearly a million young people are walking away from Christ each year.

And now, Connor, I know that sounds like bleak and depressing, but the research, it actually turns a positive corner. And it goes on to say that if the American church can return to its evangelist roots of Gen X, 22 million Gen Z'ers, they believe, will come to know Jesus. 22 million. Can you wrap your mind around that? I mean that's more than every major revival in American history combined. And so Gen Z represents a great opportunity for so many things, but we really believe and we're praying for potentially the largest missions movement in history.

Connor: That number's really helpful, John, as we think about why Gen Z, why this is such a great opportunity. And it really, I think, lays down a challenge for all of us as we prepare our hearts and minds to really just journey with Gen Z. So we want to change gears here. We want to pray with you as we pray for the next generation and leaning into this great opportunity. And to do just that, we have asked long-time WGM missionaries in Africa, who now serve at WGM headquarters in Marion, to do that. John and Beth Muehleisen are going to join us. And they're going to help us pray over the next generation as we seek to lean into this great opportunity.

John Muehleisen: In the 78th Psalm, it says this: "We will not hide these truths from our children. We will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders, so that each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands."

Beth Muehleisen: Lord Jesus, as we draw near to your throne today, we want to lift up Gen Z to you, asking that you would do a great and mighty work in their lives. We pray that you would stop the drifting away and turning their backs on Jesus Christ. Lord, in your Word, you have promised that we can ask you for the ends of the earth as our inheritance and that you will give it to us. And so, Lord, we know that that also includes Gen Z. We ask, Father, today, that you will help our generation to be faithful, to share the truths of Jesus Christ with them, open up our hearts and to be transparent with them, showing them how you have been at work in our lives day by day over the years. You have walked with us through difficulties. We have seen your faithfulness. We have seen how you have worked in our lives, answering prayers that we have prayed, Lord, as we've waited faithfully for you to answer.

And Lord Jesus, I just ask today, give us the lives of our grandchildren. Give us the lives of our children, our great grandchildren, for the kingdom of God. Father, I pray that you would burden our generation, that we would fall on our knees before the throne of God. May they see your light in our lives, may they see authenticity, may they see the love of Christ shining through us, may they see your power at work in our lives. And oh, God, may we not be slow to share with them your amazing love, to share with them the amazing things that you have done for us.

And Lord Jesus, I pray that they will see that you are a redeeming God. You are a God who cares for them. You are a God who loves them. You are a God who longs to walk with them. And I pray, Father, as they seek for those ways, that you would show them the ancient paths that they should walk on, and they will draw close to you and they will learn from you that the enemy will not be able to keep them in darkness. He will not be able to blind them from the truth of God. Lord Jesus, use us to touch Gen Z today.

John M.: And help us, oh Lord, that we can be faithful to do as your Word says, to not hide the truth from them, to share with them what you had done, about your power and the things that you want to do. We pray, Father, that they would set their hope on you. They wouldn't forget all that you have done, all that you want to do. They would so order and structure their lives in obedience to you that they may be, Father, a force for your kingdom that you want them to be. Help us, help us, oh Lord, to be faithful in our prayers, in our encouragement, in giving guidance, in helping, Lord, to model for them what it means to live for you, and to have an authentic, genuine faith. Bring glory to yourself in every generation. This we pray in your strong name, Amen.

Connor:Well, I hope that you're as challenged for this opportunity for Gen Z as I am. And as you and I prepare to go about our weeks, why don't you ask God to place the name of a Gen Z'er on your heart, somebody you can pray for and pour into over the coming weeks?

Well, thank you for joining us on The Approach, where we help you walk with the next generation as they seek to use their gifts, talents, and experiences to journey with Jesus and participate in the Great Commission. Next time, we're going to be talking with Billy and Joanna Coppedge, who are missionaries in Uganda. We're going to be talking about abiding. Be sure to like and subscribe to us. And if you have any questions for us, email us at

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