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Introducing Generation Z

There is a new generation rising. It is the generation after Generation Y, aptly called Generation Z. . Gen Zers were born around the mid 1990’s to the present. They have some defining characteristics. For example:

  • They have higher IQ scores than previous generations.
  • They are very accepting of others, despite differences.
  • They are entrepreneurial and are not afraid to launch initiatives or businesses that will change the world.
  • They are responsible with money.
  • They are socially aware and responsible.
  • They have short attention spans.
  • They are visual learners.
  • They shop more online than offline.

Sparks and Honey have created the following Infographic based on the characteristics of Generation Z.


What other observations can you make about Generation Z?


You can read more about Generation Z from Sparks and Honey.

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The Importance of Children in Church Planting

Jacob Crawford, Pastor at Life Point Church in Cottonport, Louisiana, has learned a valuable lesson about church planting: God uses children to launch churches. Children are the lifeblood of any church. For new churches, children are vital to healthy life.


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The Widening Racial Gap Between Christian Whites and Blacks

There is a growing gap in how black and white Christians view race, according to the Portraits of American Life Study, which surveyed 1300 people in 2006 and 2012.


The chief findings were as follows:

1. More white than black Christians believe that an effective way to improve race relations is to stop talking about it. In 2012, 69% of whites and 34% of blacks agreed with this solution. The percentage for both races increased between 2006 and 2012, but the percentage of whites increased more. Further, the majority of whites said that not talking about race was effective, but only a minority of black Christians thought so.

2. More white than black Christians believe that it is okay for races to be separate but have equal opportunity. The percentage of whites that agreed with this view rose from 20% to 34% between 2006 and 2012. In contrast, the percentage of black Christians that agreed with this statement fell from 19% to 16% during the same time frame.

3. More black Christians than white Christians think about their race daily. Blacks that thought about their race daily rose from 36% in 2006 to 41% in 2012, while the percentage of white Christians that thought about their race during the same time frame only rose from 11% to 13%.

4. More black Christians than white Christians think they have been treated unfairly because of their race. In 2012, the difference was 43% versus 16%, respectively. The percentage of black Christians that thought this way rose 13 percentage points from 2006 and 2012. White Christians increased by 5 percent during the same time period.

What can we infer from these data?

  • There is a widening gap between the way white and black Christians view their race. Black Christians seemed to hold an increasingly negative view of their race with regard to how often they think about being black and how they are unfairly treated. White Christians that thought these ways increased too, but not as much as blacks.
  • Blacks and whites have different ideas to resolve racial issues. Besides the already mentioned disparities between races, there is also a difference in opinion on how much the government should be involved in raising people’s standard of living. Fewer white Christians in 2012 thought the government should do more to increase people’s standard of living than in 2006 (42% to 21%); but the percentage rose for black Christians during the same time frame (68% to 84%).

Jesus modeled acceptance of all races. For example, in John 4, Jesus freely had a conversation with a Samaritan woman, which greatly surprised his disciples. This is the example we should follow in our lives and in our churches. Followers of Jesus can and should lead the way in equal treatment of all people.

What else can you infer from this study?


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Secrets To Being a Happy, Successful Man


What men experience at a young age has a causal influence on their success and happiness later in life, according to the Grant Study, a longitudinal project that began studying men in 1938. Researchers wanted to know what factors led to an “optimum life”, by asking the same men questions every year about everything from their habits to their health.

What are the predictors of a man having a successful, happy life? Some of the findings:

  1. Warm relationships. Men who were successful and happy had a supportive childhood and warm adult relationships. Men who had a good relationship with at least one sibling made $51,000 more per year than those that had poor relationships with their siblings or no siblings.
  1. Loving Fathers. Men who had loving fathers had a greater capacity to play, had less anxiety and stress in young adulthood, and adjusted easier to retirement.
  1. Positive virtues. Men with an optimum life had warm, social personalities during their college years. Practicality and organization were the strongest predictors of mental health in middle-age.
  1. Strong marriages. Men who were the happiest and most successful stayed married for most of their lives. However, most of the men who were divorced and remarried were still married for an average of 30 years. By the age of 85, 76% of men said they had happy marriages.

What if some of these predictors were absent in a man’s life? George Vaillant, who has directed the study for the past several decades, noted that it was not what happened in childhood itself as much as what men “did with a loving or bleak childhood.” Further, the study revealed that men, regardless of their childhood and young adult lives, could continue to grow and mature throughout their years—especially if they sought and exercised virtuous traits. The message to young men is clear: what you do now impacts the rest of your life.


The full study has been compiled into a book, Triumphs of Experience: The Men of the Harvard Grant Study.


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Stories of Homeless People

Everyone has a story. Even people that are homeless. In fact, sometimes, their stories are the most gripping, realistic stories we hear. Many of these people did not choose to be homeless. Life has dealt them some pretty horrible cards. And, instead of giving up, they are struggling to stay alive and have good attitudes. Nothing about their lives is easy.

God cares for all people, including those that are homeless. Helping the homeless is an expression of our Christian mission. Consider the following:

Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless” (Isaiah 1:17).

“Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully” (1 Peter 4:9).

“Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight” (James 1:27).

What are some ways you can share the love of Jesus with a homeless person?

1. Speak to them. Many times, homeless people are ignored, making them feel invisible and judged. Making eye contact with them and and saying “hi” gives them dignity.

2. Listen to them. Homeless people are often lonely people. Many of them are hard on themselves and have self-esteem issues. But they all have a story. And they love to share it! Our church has breakfast with homeless people every week. But we do not simply serve the food; we sit down with them and talk with them. We intentionally form relationships with them. Listening is an act of love.

3. Give to them. Giving does not necessarily have to be about money. I cannot tell you the number of times I have given food or leftovers to someone on the street and watch him gobble it up like he was starving to death. Yes, some people are charlatans, but we never know if someone is truly in need. So why not err on the side of grace? We need to find out their needs and serve them.

For more information about homelessness and how to help, go to 10 Online Resources About Homelessness.


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