Back in the day when Jesus walked the earth, people were considered to be adults from the age of 12. Boys would do their Bar Mitzvah and become men. Many other cultures have rites of passage around that age, signifying a clear change from childhood to adulthood. From then on, they are expected to carry responsibility. However, in this age, growing up seems to be postponed as long as possible. The messages teens hear are “Enjoy life: no commitment, keep your choices open and choose comfort”. Is this the consequence of their own choices or of the generation that raised them? Probably both. 

The current, upcoming generation is Generation Z that follows the famous Millennials. Born between 1993–2012 (give or take), most of Generation Z are teenagers now, and we meet them at TeenStreets in six countries across the globe: Australia, Middle East, Germany, Philippines, Malaysia and Montenegro. In Germany, teens were recently confronted with the problem of billions of people having no chance to hear about Jesus. We were surprised by the immediate response of more than 100 teenagers who were ready to sign up for outreach in Europe. 

It turns out that the top two skills of Generations Z are communication and problem solving1. Have you ever heard of a hackathon? It’s a group of people who gather (virtually or face-to-face) to crack a problem. Gen Z loves doing that—and they are good at it. The teenagers of Generation Z want to be involved. They are entrepreneurial, ready to crack problems…if we supply them. They are great communicators…if we give them a platform to communicate. 

You too were once a teen

Our world—secular and Christian —underestimates teenagers. The only ones who are really good at valuing them are businesses that make money from them. A company like Nike spends billions annually to understand teens!

As we look at the signs of the times, we see the greatest number of people in history that have no chance to hear about Jesus. And we see a generation that loves a challenge and has skills to make a difference. 

Watching those 100 teens sign up to make a difference, we immediately knew that we had a problem: OM does not have many options for teens to go out—yet. We need to solve that problem by creating ways to get this generation involved while they are willing. Even small steps can cause major ripple effects in the future, as these teens’ world grows. As their responsibilities grow, they will already have a worldview that includes being a Jesus follower reflecting Him amongst the least reached. 

I believe in a global movement of young Jesus followers that will do exactly that. The question for us older generations is whether we are willing to pour 60 years of global missions experience into them while being willing to learn from them. TeenStreet has proven to be one effective tool for this, but we need to think of many other ways to engage with this generation, trusting them with responsibilities that fit that their capabilities. Let us take these teens seriously enough in their role of fulfilling the Great Commission. That sounds to me like something Jesus would do!

1. Koulopoulos, T. M., Keldsen, D., & Hoopla digital. (2015). The Gen Z effect: The six forces shaping the future of business. United States: Gildan Audio.

Ewout met his wife, Ali, in OM 10 years ago, and they now are the parents of Jonathan (7), Toby (5) and Charlie (3). They live in the Netherlands, as part of a small vibrant community of Jesus followers amongst secular Westerners. Ewout is part of the international resourcing team and his main role is directing TeenStreet internationally and looking into starting many more TeenStreets around the world. 

Share this Resource

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Leave a Reply

You might also like:

Other Resources by

Short-Term Project Manager – Inspiro Arts Alliance International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleCan you imagine managing creative projects around the world? Are you a problem solver, who pays attention to detail and has good people skills? Are you familiar with ethnodoxology? This role manages short-term projects in a variety of artforms and formats – from performance tours to customized training workshops. Some involve international visits with artists. Other projects engage and empower local artists. But all projects seek to honour local art forms in moving people to better love Jesus.
Full Details
Event Manager (Run 4 the World – R4TW) International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleWe’re looking for an Events Manager to organize one (or a few) Run for the World (R4TW) events within the serving country/area. If you have skills in event planning, networking and organization, this could be your dream job. Run for the World (R4TW) is an open-source global sports event - running and making a positive impact on the world around you. It is a God-given opportunity to use sport to transform the lives of young people locally and globally.
Full Details
International Personnel Manager International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleThe Personnel Manager coordinates and supports people management processes and systems for the international staff team (approx. 180 people worldwide)
Full Details
Sportslink International Team Communication Facilitator International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleWe see God at work through our sports ministries, but we need someone to help us to tell our stories better. We need someone who is dedicated, dynamic, creative, team minded and has great communication skills. Are you the person who can effectively tell the story of what God is doing through Sportslink?  Join us and use your gifts and skills to share God’s stories across the globe.
Full Details
IT support person (OM EAST – Literature and Media, Austria) International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleOM EAST is looking for an on-site IT support person to ensure the smooth running of their literature and media ministry’s infrastructure. As you support a creative team of graphic designers, app developers and eBook programmers, you are making it possible to produce Christian media in the heart-languages of people groups around the world.
Full Details
Personnel Officer – Inspiro Arts Alliance International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleIf you would love the challenge of bringing clarity to a growing, global movement of artists – then step this way.

The Inspiro Arts Alliance cultivates and empowers artists globally to love through beauty in worship and witness.

Your part in this will be to ensure this alliance of artists is provided with a clear, consistent structure in which to thrive.

Full Details
HR Manager for International Relief and Development Partner International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDo you believe in transforming lives practically and through the Gospel, but your skills are more in management and caring for people? We need someone to help our leadership ensure the health and well-being of their teams, who work in some of the hardest countries in the world, through community development and relief, serving hurting Muslim people. They need someone who has their back! If this is what you are passionate about, join us and put your gifts to use for the Kingdom of God.
Full Details
Director of Media & Communications – Inspiro Arts Alliance International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDo you love to communicate creatively? Experience leading a team?

Inspiro Arts Alliance is looking for a leader for our Media & Communications Team to develop and deploy a variety of media to help mobilize artists globally to love like Jesus.

As director of media & communications you will be key to inspiring and equipping this global movement of artists!

Full Details
Personal Assistant for SportsLink Director International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDo you have a passion for administration, organisation and practical logistics? Are you detail oriented and efficient in your work? If this sounds like you, you are just the person we’re looking for to help our SportsLink International Director manage his responsibilities as he leads sports ministries which build and strengthen communities of Jesus followers.
Full Details
eBook Programmer (OM EAST – Literature and Media, Austria) International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleUse your skills to convert powerful Christian publications into downloadable eBooks that can travel to hard-to-reach places. Share the hope of Christ by making resources available in areas where there is little or no Christian literature in the local language!
Full Details
Financial Development Director International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDo you have a heart for fundraising for God’s Kingdom?  Fundraising is critical to ensure that our ministries are well resourced and our personnel fulfil their roles to their best capacity. We are a catalyst for seeing vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least reached and we need someone to oversee our financial development strategy, manage staff and coordinate with our partners.  Join us and use your gifting in financial development as a ministry in our context of integral mission.
Full Details
Incarnate Manager – Inspiro Arts Alliance International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDo you love to organize complex events? Can you imagine touching every corner of the globe with beauty by helping equip artists to serve cross-culturally?

Inspiro Arts Alliance cultivates and empowers artists globally to awaken the world to God's beauty. Incarnate is our flag-ship training. Completely redesigned and improved, the next Incarnate will be held in January 2022 over 4 months in multiple locations.

We’ve got the program and connections. We just need a manager. Could that be you?

Full Details