At Liquid Church, we believe that God has called Gen Z to be the next generation of World Changers for Christ: And so does Youth Pastor Jonathan Wilson! We had the opportunity to listen to Pastor Jonathan share about his personal story of finding his God-given calling and how he helps guide current students to discover theirs. Check out our interview with Jonathan below.
HOW HAS YOUR PAST IMPACTED HOW YOU POUR INTO STUDENTS' LIVES TODAY?
For me, music was a way to connect with God. When I was a teen, my parents went through a tumultuous divorce, and I had no way to articulate that. I was on the fringes. My older brother saw me to myself, not really engaging in anything. He pulled me aside and sat with me, held my hand, metaphorically speaking, and taught me how to play the bass guitar. It was the fact that somebody took the time to see that there was some worth in me. That itself was powerful. Not only that — he saw that I actually started having some passion for music. He thought it would be good for me to use that passion, which would allow me to have a voice where otherwise I didn’t have any voice.
By my brother giving me an instrument, walking me through how to play it and giving me opportunities to play in church — I was changed me forever. Not only did I have a way to express myself, but my passion for music was intertwining with my faith in God. On top of that, I started to believe that I had significance. Today, it’s been a beautiful experience being able to teach students and walk with them on their own journeys, unlocking their potential as leaders in the church. Again, it started with music for me and my brother taking the time to see that there was something significant about me, and that’s what I strive to do with each and every student.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF WORKING WITH STUDENTS?
My favorite part is being surprised. When I engage or interact with students, I’m always surprised at their level of insight and potential. With everything that’s going on in our world, adults have an instinct to protect and shield students. But I love to be surprised when I see a student who knows who they are in God, who is confident, who is aware of what is happening in their world and because of it, knows that they need to lean into God’s strength. I think as adults, we can have this perception of Gen Z just being totally demolished by the world they live in, but I love being surprised by their strength and resilience. It definitely encourages me to continue to do what we do because we want to continue to let them know that their strength and resilience comes from God, and the way they can continue to be strong is to lean into God.
HOW DO YOU SEE GOD USING GEN Z AS THEY EMBRACE THEIR CALLINGS?
We’re in a time that, whether we know it or not, Gen Z is already in the lead. I think what’s interesting is that I see God using them and their callings to lead us into what’s next. I think we’re in a time where this generation, largely, is awake to injustices in our world, where a lot of those things many of us have not even been paying attention to or just have accepted as the status quo. Gen Z has not accepted the status quo. Right now, they have the potential to use a digital language to reach people that previous generations couldn’t. If you are in a place that’s a natural space for you, then you have the most potential to lead people to Jesus in that space. It’s powerful because our whole world revolves around what’s happening with Gen Z. It can influence the movies and music that’s made. Gen Z has that power, and I believe that’s what God wants to use and redeem to really impact the world.
HOW DOES LIQUID CHURCH INVEST IN GEN Z?
We have a program in Liquid High School and Liquid College called Youth Lead where we teach music, media and communications to students who want to take a step towards leadership and serving. The goal is to leverage and develop their passions so we can help grow and expand their influence as leaders. It’s all for the purpose of integrating their passions with their faith so they know they have significance and a way to express themselves with God.
WHAT DO YOU SEE IN EACH STUDENT THAT MAKES THEM WORLD CHANGERS?
What I see is that each student has an understanding of potential. I have a college student that I have the pleasure of connecting with a few times throughout the month. His goal is to impact others around him. When I was his age, the idea of changing someone else’s life wasn’t even on my mind. I had aspirations for myself, but it didn’t quite relate for me at that point to be a benefit to someone else. Gen Z wants to right wrongs, to be a voice for God in a world that seems like chaos. To become and be World Changers.
Want to get involved or learn more about our Liquid High School and Liquid College programs? Click the links below for more info.
- High school can be a chaotic time for many with unanswered questions and unresolved doubts, but those four years don’t have to stay that way. Liquid High School is a place where students can come and feel supported by like-minded peers all while growing in their relationship with Jesus.
- Are you a college student and want to know how your faith fits in with God’s purpose for your life? If so, then Liquid College is the right fit for you. By getting involved in one of our college groups, you’ll build lasting friendships with fellow believers while discovering more about yourself and your God-given purpose.