CYM Blog A New Approach to Edge Support by Amanda Grubbs “Our culture is deeply divided today. But the source of that conflict runs much deeper than just geography, economics, or politics. It has to do with how people are answering the biggest questions of life.” In many ways, Generation Z (those who were born approximately between 1995 and 2015) is a generation unlike any other. Statistics show that more than any other generation before, Gen Z does not assert a religious identity and over one-third of this generation do not believe that it is possible to know for sure that God exists. A strong majority of teens today are no longer growing up with a Biblical worldview in their homes, and many may not have any experience of religion at all. As a result, teens are desperately seeking the answers to some of the most basic questions about life, about their purpose, who they are, and whether or not God exists. Gen Z is also the most connected generation. As the first truly digital natives, social technology plays a huge role in the developmental processes of middle school youth as they seek their identity, which is one of their main developmental realities. They are searching for who they are and where they belong. In the midst of all of the changes they are experiencing, middle school youth desire connection, relationships, loyalty, and a place to belong. Life Teen’s Response Facing these realities we are taking an entirely new approach to how we talk about religion and our Catholic faith with middle school youth. Before they can care about what the Church teaches, youth need to know that God exists. Before we can teach them details about morality, they need to know that there is absolute truth. Before we can expect them to be excited or invested in the Mass and the sacraments, they need to know Jesus. Middle school youth are seeking answers to their questions, and “today’s teens are less Christian and more confused about moral and spiritual truth than ever.” We, as a Church, need to be prepared to give them realistic and satisfying answers to their questions and show them the importance and impact of a Christian community as they seek to find where they belong. We have to shift and adjust our approaches lest we continue to see the trend of “many students [who] are walking away in their hearts and minds in middle and high school long before they walk away with their feet in college.” The new Edge Support resources will seek to answer the big questions that this generation is asking and present the basic foundations of the Catholic faith in a kerygmatic and relevant way that takes into account Gen Z’s worldview. They will also aid middle school youth in creating a sense of belonging and connection with their peers, as well as provide a place where they develop a stronger Catholic worldview as they strive to live their faith in their daily lives. For more information on these Edge Support Resources click here.