Countering the Zombie Apocalypse II: Zombie Response Strategy

In my last post, I menTitletion the importance of “seeing” Millennials like the Good Samaritan saw the man left beaten on the side of the road. Describing the actions of the Samaritan, Jesus stated, “But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.”(Luke 10:33-34 ESV) So, once we “see” the Millennials, what can we do to reach them?

I believe that Ed Stetzer’s research in his book entitled Lost and Found sheds light on how we can build a strategy to reach Millennials. He states that Millennials value community, depth, responsibility, and connection.[1] They want to live life on life in community with one another. They want to deal with issues in depth and do not respond well to a shallow treatment or avoidance of hard topics. This generation of the walking dead understands that they must make hard choices about crucial issues and are concerned about making the right choices. Finally, they want mentors who have walked the road of life ahead of them.

With the knowledge of these values in mind and an understanding of the characteristics of Millennials mentioned in my previous post, I propose a ten-step strategy for countering the Zombie apocalypse and reaching Millennials:

  1. Preach the Word.(2 Tim 4:1-2) Millennials don’t need to know what we “think” about a subject. They desperately need us to preach and teach the Word of God—the full counsel of God.
  1. Hold out the Truth in love.(Eph 4:15) Millennials criticize, rightly sometimes, the church for exhibiting a lack of Christ-like love when sharing hard truths about sin. Christ followers need to share the truth of Scripture salted with the grace and love of Jesus Christ.
  1. Be sincere.(Rom 12:9) We must be genuine in our love towards Millennials. One complaint that young adults have regarding the church is that they are made to feel like targets to be conquered rather than people to be led to Christ. Remember that the compassion of the Samaritan led him to come to the rescue of the stricken man.
  1. Make disciples.(Matt 28:19-20) We must focus on making disciples of every ethnic group and generation within the United States and around the world. In so doing, we need to lead Millennials to become disciple makers as well.
  1. Be ready to answer hard questions.(1 Pet 3:15) We should use biblical study and research to engage hard subjects that face Millennials today. These subjects include questions regarding science and worldview related questions.
  1. Establish community.(Acts 2:42) Churches should work hard at establishing biblical fellowship that focuses on living life-on-life throughout the week and not just a “holy huddle” on Sundays.
  1. Use intergenerational mentoring.(Titus 2:1-8) Millennials long to gain wisdom from members of older generations. We need to provide ways they can connect intergenerationally with other believers in our churches.
  1. Encourage service.(Rom 12:3-8) We need to help young adults discover and use their spiritual gifts in ministry in our churches. We need to encourage spiritual gift implementation while they are still students in our youth groups.
  1. Establish a safe place to doubt.(Matt 28:16-17; John 20:26-29) Even Jesus’ disciples doubted. We need to engage doubts with patience, unconditional love, and confidence in the ability of Scripture to address them.
  1. Emphasize family-focused ministry.(Deut 6:4-15) Childrens’ and Youth ministries should help parents disciple their children and students to establish a firm spiritual foundation prior to entering young adulthood.   We must acknowledge that pastors and adult volunteers only see these students for 100-200 hours per year. Parents see them hourly and daily and are responsible for discipling their children.

The above suggestions are just a few ways churches can counter the Zombie apocalypse of the Millennials. I believe when we take such efforts, we will see this generation of young adults flourish with gospel activity and reach their peers and other generations with the gospel. Remember every major revival in this nation began with young adults.   The potential for revival among this generation is exciting!

Do you see them?

[1] Ed Stetzer, Richie Stanley, and Jason Hayes, Lost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and the Churches That Reach Them (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2009), 67-68.

Tim McKnight has 21 years of experience in ministry. He served in youth ministry for 12 years and in the pastorate for 9 years. In addition, Dr. McKnight served as an infantry chaplain in the U.S. Army, deploying on Operations Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom in 2001. He earned his Ph.D. in Evangelism, with additional studies in missions and church history, from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He co-founded Carolina Family Planning Centers and founded Twin Vision Consultants, a church consultation team that helps congregations become healthy and growing churches. He has also served as a disaster relief chaplain in multiple settings in recent years, including in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake and Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina. He now serves at Anderson University as Assistant Professor of Youth Ministry and Missions.

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