Reaching the New Generation

Sometime last year I sat down with five Christian university students from Bangkok to do a focus group discussion on their views on popular culture and the gospel. I had planned to ask them what they thought popular culture was, and how these were related to the gospel. At first, I thought that these students would raise examples of popular culture relating to Korean pop or the latest trending gadget. To my surprise, when I sat down to listen to them, issues that they felt were trending were about politics, social issues and the use of social media. They felt that every issue was related to the gospel but sometimes they found it hard to integrate them to their faith and they needed guidance.

Some insights that I had gained from this experience on reaching the new generation are, firstly, we really need to sit down and listen to what they have to say instead of assuming that we know what they need. When we hear them share, we can understand their worldview and thought processes better. There will be differences for sure because we grew up in different environments. But listening and understanding each other can help bridge the gap. Also, we need to be brave to consider making changes in the way we engage the new generation.

In the area of teaching God’s Word, it would be useful to have less one-way teaching of information and more involvement of learners perhaps by letting them do their own research first before bringing them for discussion with peers and mentors. We also need to be brave to engage in issues that may be sensitive and difficult to broach. If the issues are relevant to them, they have real questions about how to reconcile these things with their faith, and they need to have a spiritual friend or mentor to talk it through.

I was very encouraged by the discussion I had with these young people. Their faith is real and alive, and they hunger to grow and desire for the Christian community to journey alongside.

If you are interested to read my full article, you can find it at:

Cherlyn Oh