An Update From Kat
Who are we and why are we here?
These are questions we've wrestled with for quite some time now. As our worship numbers started to decrease, we had to face what other churches are facing every week. According to my Georgia Tech chaplain friends, we were also facing what every other ministry on campus is experiencing.
[I would like for you to meet Generation Z.]
When you and I were in college, we went to the Lutheran Center or CCF or (let's be honest) wherever there was free food, good music, and beautiful people. We went to campus ministry because that's just what we were supposed to do. I have news for you: Just showing up at a campus ministry is anathema to this new generation. Gen. Z is very different from their Millennial or Generation X parents, and, as one would expect, they have very different needs. Born after 1995, this generation graduated its first members from college a few years ago, and they are now our students. They are projected to be the biggest generation, so it's time we took them seriously and adjusted our ministry to their needs. Here are a few statistics about this generation from Jean Twenge (2017):
Members of Generation Z are more likely to be raised by unaffiliated parents than any other generation before them
More Generation Z teens, starting in the 8th grade, are choosing not to attend religious services
Generation Y & Z are less religious both publicly and privately than previous generation
79% of Generation Z members surveyed felt that all Christian denominations were anti-gay
Generation Z needs a church that supports their unique identities as well as their faith, wherever they are in their journey
Generation Z needs choices - they are accustomed to a culture of individualism
Generation Z needs a respectful, helpful forum where they can ask hard life questions
Generation Z desires authentic community
Generation Z wants a church that is for loving God and everyone, not against
Here are a few more statistics from the National Collegiate Counseling Survey that are of great concern to me:
Of the college students surveyed in 2016,
85.1 % felt overwhelmed by what all they had to do
59.3 % felt very lonely
65.0 % felt very sad
58.4 % felt overwhelming anxiety
36.7 % felt so depressed that it was difficult to function
9.8 % seriously considered suicide
1.5 % attempted suicide
So in light of this information here are our answers to God's profound question to Elijah:
[Grace House in 2019]
Grace House is a space of refuge on campus where the community can gather to experience God's love, grace, mercy, and acceptance through service to others, conversation, local engagement, and a cup of coffee. It is easy for a college student to be overwhelmed by expectations from professors, parents, future employers, and more. Grace House aims to be a place where one's worth is not determined by how they meet those expectations. Rather, Grace House is a place where one's worth is seen through God's eyes, and God calls each of us beloved. It is our hope that Grace House is an oasis on campus for the weary student to just be.
[Answering a Dire Need]
Grace House is needed because students have few, if any, places on campus that provides sanctuary from endless expectations place on them. In our day-to-day engagement with students, we have identified
three additional needs amongst college students besides sanctuary: Mental Health Resources, Vocational Discernment, and Discipleship. Grace House provides a space where all can: Explore how they are made in God's own image; discover their calling in the world; and be empowered to make a difference. Hope can be hard to come by in the world and Grace House aims to be a place where hope is in abundance.
[Join us on this new Journey]
We are embarking on a new journey with a focus on hospitality, coffee, and showing God's love. We will be doing some very different and non-traditional things in order to reach this new generation. If this sounds interesting to you or you would like to talk more about the needs of this generation, please don't hesitate to contact me. I would love to take you to coffee!