It was 1971 when I was a young teen like my grandson. Back then, we wrote our assignments in cursive, went home to houses that cost about $25,000 to build. Our parents paid 35 cents for a gallon of gas, while they earned about $10 thousand per year. No kid imagined having an iPhone.
There's another change since then. More Americans have no religious identity—many have no need for God.
This is especially true in my grandson's generation—the so-called Generation Z. The Barna Group recently published their findings about those born between 1999-2015. While you couldn't pick a better time to live in a technologically advanced society, it looks grim for the American faith community. Only 4 in 100 teens in this group have a Biblical worldview. Generation Z is the least Christian generation in American history.
Does this matter?
I'm not a sociologist, but without a guiding principle of right and wrong—by a standard greater than ourselves, what motivates these kids to respect authority and treat fellow students with kindness?
I may have been a strong-willed teen but I still had some accountability—not just to my parents and teachers, but from knowing that what I did mattered to God.
Faith in God is an inside job. It makes a difference in who we are, how we make our choices, and what drives our motives.
But if only 4 in 100 of today's teens care about God, then eventually, America will be less about God and more about something else.
I just don't know what that something else will be. But my Baby Boomer generation shouldn't give up just because God isn't important to Generation Z.
We need to help this young generation with their struggles—life isn't easy, especially with the distractions of technology.
Maybe if Boomers and Z's spend more time together they can get to know the God we know.