[Next Generation] Lead-Defend: A Relevant Way to Reach the Next Generation

Psalm 145:4 reminds us, “One generation will declare Your works to the next and will proclaim Your mighty acts.” Each generation shares unique experiences, values, and beliefs. God’s design, from the beginning of time, is for each generation to pass on to the next the knowledge of his activity and ultimately of his greatest act of redemption through Christ. 

In recent years, Pew Research has consistently revealed Gen Z (usually referring to those born between 1997-2012) as the least religious generation, with a third claiming no religious affiliation at all. In addition, this generation is also the most diverse in American history, interacting with friends from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs. Added to our culture’s slide down the slippery slope of relativism (the worldview that there is no truth, and all beliefs are equally valid), Gen Z’s lack of any firm religious conviction is not surprising. 

Even so, the American Bible Society found that 81% of today’s youth say they are curious about the Bible, 64% wish they read the Bible more, and 60% are interested in learning more about Jesus. Barna research has discovered that 82% of Gen Z Christians say it is important for them to share their faith, and incredibly, 80% of those have talked with someone about God within the past year. This is wonderful news! 

All this data reveals an incredible opportunity to engage Gen Z’s curiosity with the truth of the Gospel. Arkansas Baptists have taken the initiative to meet this need and opportunity head-on. The Lead Defend Conference, coming up on March 2 in Little Rock, has become one of the premier apologetic conferences in the country. The goal of Lead Defend is to prepare students to be the leaders of today by engaging others where culture and faith collide. Really two conferences in one, Lead Defend is for high school and college students, and Lead Defend Foundations is for middle school/junior high students.  

Lead Defend will build the faith of Christian students and help break down barriers to belief for those who don’t yet know Christ. Besides powerful times of worship through music, the main speaking sessions will cover topics like the existence of truth, the reliability of the Bible, how to share the Gospel, and what makes a great leader. Practical breakouts will cover evidence for the resurrection, how to handle media/entertainment, how to make decisions, and issues related to gender identity, science, and pain/suffering. 

Registration for Lead Defend, conference schedule, and additional information is available at www.leaddefend.org. Each registration includes lunch. The cost is $35 before February 20, and $45 from February 20 through March 2. The conference will kick off at 10:00 am and conclude around 5:00 pm. One way you can declare God’s mighty acts to the next generation is to help spread the word about Lead Defend and maybe even bring someone with you. Hope to see you there! 

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