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'God is blowing my mind': Reports of signs and wonders breaking out among Gen Z

by Anna Rees

Labelled as the 'least religious generation', accounts of the Holy Spirit breaking out among Gen Z suggest they're headed for revival. 

In February 2023, the 'two stoplight town' university of Asbury, Kentucky, experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit lasting 16 days. What began as a normal Wednesday morning chapel service turned into round-the-clock prayer and worship, as students felt unable to pull away from the presence of the Holy Spirit. Around 50,000 flocked to the university from as far as Japan, desperate to experience God. 

Pete Grieg, founder of 24/7 Prayer, told Premier: "Increasingly in Gen Z and younger people, we're seeing a hunger for clarity and the conviction of the holiness".

For a generation impacted by mental health issues, where a significant number are on antidepressants under the age of 25, the peace of Jesus has been revolutionary. In the July edition of Premier Christianity magazine, Susie Alridge, who heads up youth festival Dreaming the Impossible (DTI), told Emma Fowle: "On Sunday, a young person said to me: 'Susie, for the last five years I’ve been in and out of hospital [for mental health reasons].' Her sister, who’d recently come back to faith, told her: “The only place I’ve found authentic peace is in the presence of God, so you‘ve got to come to church.

"She was dragged along, somebody prayed for her and she said: 'I encountered peace for the first time in five years, and that peace hasn’t left.' Now, she wants to get baptised. In those moments, you see God do things that blow your mind."

Whilst youth and student leaders have for years focussed on attractional models of evangelism, seeking to draw in young people with beanbags and organised sports, the remedy for a spiritually-starved generation lies in the unfiltered presence of God.

Youth director for 24/7 Prayer Josh Green told Premier: “This generation is really passionate about Jesus… The Holy Spirit is the best evangelist.

“I think there has been a very clear coming away from cookie-cutter fluff. Bringing the word to the next generation is stirring a longing for presence-focused meetings rather than celebrity pastors or performances. The Bible says that: 'in his presence is fullness of joy' [Psalm 16:11, NKJV].”

As young people cry out for authenticity, there may also be a move away from more traditional church structures, with small gatherings and house churches becoming increasingly popular. Zeke Rink, co-leader of Dreaming the Impossible said: “A lot of people have a framework that God only really moves when we gather. But God moves where we’re willing to go. We hear young people say: ‘I know I want to gather my friends and I want to get out and share the gospel.’ And they’re finding ways to do that outside the four walls of the church.”

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