For Generation Z, those born between 1999 and 2015, atheism is no longer a dirty word, according to a new study from Barna research. This is truly the first "post-Christian" generation, the survey finds, and more than any other generation before it, Gen Z does not assert a religious identity.
This is exactly the generation religion and culture expert, national radio host and author Dr. Alex McFarland is hoping to reach through the Truth for a New Generation (TNG) conference on March 23-24 at Life Community Church in the greater Greensboro area of North Carolina.
To illustrate, the Barna study found that the percentage of teens who identify as such is double that of the general population (13 percent vs. 6 percent of all adults).
"It's heart-breaking when we see young people choosing to turn away from God, especially at a time when they need Him most," said McFarland, who is also director for Christian worldview and apologetics at the Christian Worldview Center of North Greenville University in Greenville, South Carolina. "Secularism is pervading the culture, and especially the younger generations, promising a carefree, flashy life if they emulate the celebrity set. But more and more teens and young adults are turning to drugs and committing suicide. And some of those sad cases are due to the fact that many young people don't have the hope of Jesus. As Christians, and to fulfill our mission at Alex McFarland Ministries and Truth for a New Generation, we must reach them. It is quickly becoming a matter of life and death."
The Barna survey, conducted in partnership with the Impact 360 Institute, also found that members of Generation Z "might be drawn to things spiritual, but with a vastly different starting point from previous generations, many of whom received a basic education on the Bible and Christianity." This fact is evidenced through the study that examines the culture, beliefs and motivations shaping this next generation, and specifically Generation Z's views on faith, truth and the church in a time of growing religious apathy.
The study also discovered that the proportion that identifies as Christian likewise drops from generation to generation. Three out of four Boomers are Protestant or Catholic Christians (75 percent), while just three in five 13- to 18-year-olds say they are some kind of Christian (59 percent).
Joining McFarland at the March 23-24 Truth for a New Generation event, with the theme of "Save a Nation," will be the following speakers:
- Todd Starnes: The popular Fox News commentator and columnist is heard daily on hundreds of radio stations around the nation. Starnes also makes regular appearances on Fox News Channel, including on Fox & Friends, and on Fox Business Network. He is the author of several books, including The Deplorables' Guide to Making America Great Again and God Less America, and is a frequent speaker. He recently debuted the three-hour, daily "Todd Starnes Show" on Fox News Radio and has covers a number of high-profile stories, taking him from Wall Street to the White House.
- Lauren Green—Currently serving as chief religion correspondent for the Fox News Channel, Green is famous for her straightforward approach to journalism and faith stories. Prior to joining FNC in 1996, she served as a weekend news anchor and correspondent in Chicago and assignment reporter in St. Paul. She has interviewed some of the most prominent faith leaders across the globe, as well as the most well-known people in the classical music world. Outside her career at FNC, Green is also a well-known concert pianist.
- Tina Marie Griffin—Known as the "Counter Culture Mom," Griffin is a former actress who reveals how pop culture is eroding the foundational development of today's youth. She is a leading media expert and has traveled the world to show how pop culture and the media glamorizes harmful behaviors without showing the consequences. She has shared her eye-opening message, "Hollywood Exposed," at school assemblies, parent meetings, colleges, leadership conferences, music festivals, camps, cruise ships, church services and other venues. Griffin has worked on multiple television shows and movies, as well as for L'Oreal Cosmetics and Limited Too. She was also a contestant in the preliminary Miss America pageant.
- Josh McDowell—A trailblazer for truth and relationships, McDowell has been at the forefront of cultural trends and ground-breaking ministry for over five decades. He shares the essentials of the Christian faith in everyday language so that youth, families, churches, leaders and individuals of all ages are prepared for the life of faith and the work of the ministry. Since 1961, McDowell has delivered more than 27,000 talks to over 25 million people in 125 countries. He has written or co-authored 148 books, including More Than a Carpenter and New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, recognized by World magazine as one of the top 40 books of the 20th century.
- J. Warner Wallace—As a cold-case homicide detective, popular national speaker and best-selling author, Wallace continues to consult on cold-case investigations while serving as a senior fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He is also a faculty member at Biola University and Summit Ministries. A former atheist, Wallace took an expansive look at the evidence for the Christian worldview and determined that Christianity was demonstrably true. Throughout his career, he has served as a youth pastor and church planter, then built the cold-case Christianity website, blog and podcast as a place to post and talk about what he discovered related to the evidence supporting Christianity.
- Kamal Saleem—Having come from among them, Saleem is uniquely equipped with tremendous insight and a wealth of knowledge concerning the true culture and agenda of radical Islam. He is well-versed in the Holy Bible, Koran, Hadith and Sira (Shariah Law). He believes radical Islam is the most broadly disguised present danger to Christians, Jews and all non-Muslim people of the world. Saleem carries a message from God to awaken the church through the truth, education and relationship.
- Abraham Hamilton III—A husband, father of five, lawyer, homeschool dad and Bible teacher, Hamilton serves American Family Association as its general counsel and public policy analyst. He hosts "The Hamilton Corner" American Family Radio and has an undergraduate degree in New Testament Biblical Literature from Oral Roberts University and a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. In the legal profession, Abe served as a criminal prosecutor, handling major felony prosecutions at the trial level. Additionally, Hamilton's ministerial focuses include marriage, family, apologetics, biblical worldview training, discipleship and preaching.
- Juan Valdes—With a love for the Lord and a passion to reach both English- and Spanish-speaking people with God's message, Valdes is the senior pastor of a Spanish-speaking congregation in Florida and has worked at a Christian school as both a chaplain and a teacher for more than 20 years. As an educated and experienced teacher of apologetics, Valdes has taught Bible and philosophy at the high school level, and theology, Bible and apologetics at the seminary level. He speaks regularly in the Miami area, across the country and internationally, at conferences, church services and events.
This year's conference will also feature a screening of the American Family Association feature-length film, The God Who Speaks, for which McFarland was a contributor, as well as a VIP Gold Circle seating, which will allow participants to interact with the speakers.
Previous TNG conferences drew overflow crowds, and early registration is encouraged. For more information, a schedule and registration and lunch details, visit www.
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