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Crosswalk Headlinesposted a blog, Thu, 25 Apr, 2024

Gen Z Is ‘Hungry’ for God, Asbury President Says 1 Year after Revival: ‘They Want Something More’

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The president of the Christian university that launched a revival movement last year says he is optimistic about Generation Z's future and believes young people are hungry for something the world cannot give them. The revival, or "outpouring," started during a regularly scheduled chapel service at Asbury University in Wilmore, KY., in February 2023 and continued 24 hours a day for the next 16 days. During a panel discussion this week, Asbury University President Kevin Brown acknowledged that many in Gen Z are "leaving the church and they comprise a significant proportion of the nones" -- but that he remains hopeful.  

"They're depressed and anxious and have been discipled, so to speak, by social media and phones and all that," he said Tuesday during the panel discussion about the Asbury outpouring at the Evangelical Press Association's convention in Lexington, KY. "But that doesn't mean they are not hungry for something that's good and right and true and real."  

Brown said the student-led outpouring impacted his view about the next generation.  

"I actually was in the balcony during a period of time when students were sharing some of their confessions and things they were struggling with. And I knew it was real because they weren't self-editing what they were saying -- even though there were administrators and faculty members in the room."  

He said it was common for students to surround other students who were struggling in life and pray for them.  

"Look at the last few years -- look at all the difficult things that they've had to deal with. Look at the church and look at just some of the moral failures and the hypocrisy that a lot of young adults witnessed in the church -- they want something more," Brown said.  

Brown quoted a student as telling him, "We don't want the accouterments that come along with faith, Christianity, evangelicalism -- just give me something real to anchor into amidst the dynamism of this moment."  

Members of Gen Z may get criticized a lot in the U.S., but Brown remains hopeful for their future.  

"My hope for this generation has been kindled in just a profoundly optimistic way," Brown said. "Because I think they are going to not only emerge out of this but also to be a corrective of some of these things that have challenged the church in evangelicalism over the last 25 years -- and not just at Asbury, we're seeing it throughout the United States, we're seeing that throughout the world."  

Alexandra Presta, editor of The Asbury Collegian and a student at the university, agreed with Brown.  

"We do want something just real and genuine -- that's not fake," Presta said. "And Jesus is just the one who truly sees them and knows them and loves them and loves me.… I think a lot of people in my generation are just waking up to the fact that we don't want any more quick fixes. He's the eternal solution."

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