The Nones and Dones: Who Are They?
Read the Chinese version here
I know them and you know them: they may be your grandchildren, your children, or your friends. We are all connected to this growing group of people – a group that we all know and love.
It may seem like “the next generation” is apathetic and uninterested in the gospel. These nones and dones are often characterized as skeptical, distracted, or disconnected from faith. Perhaps you know some young people that you might describe in this way.
Nones and Dones refer to those who grew up connected to a church
community, but no longer claim a religious affiliation (nones)
or those who consider themselves spiritual but not religious (dones).
One thing I’ve learned throughout my time in student ministry is that each generation holds within them a burning question about who God truly is. Our job is to help the next generation encounter the goodness of Jesus in their process of discovery.
There is no doubt that the cultural and spiritual landscape of Canada has changed dramatically over the last 50 years. Since 1972, AFC has had the privilege of coming alongside thousands of young people of Asian descent in their journey toward Jesus.
Where is God in all of this?
Life for today’s young people has become increasingly complex. With the emergence of social media, mounting economic instability, and the isolation caused by COVID-19, the future can feel uncertain. Social injustice, racism, climate change, and mental health challenges are some of the greatest concerns for Gen Z.
As young people look at the world today and the many challenges they face, they are asking:
"Where is God in all of this?"
"What does Jesus say about inequality, racism, and oppression?"
"Does Jesus care about the state of the earth?"
"Is the Gospel good news, not just for my soul but also for my mind and heart?"
In a generation that is so saturated by the highly curated images they see on social media, they are asking: “Where can I be authentically me?”
The questions they are asking are not only related to the truth of the gospel; rather, they are examining how the gospel intersects with the realities of their lived experiences.
When faced with such complex questions, we may often feel ill-equipped to answer. But one of the things that I’ve learned from this generation is that they aren’t expecting us to have all the answers; rather, they are looking for authenticity, kindness, patience, and compassion as we journey toward Jesus together.
What does this mean for AFC in Canada?
At Ambassadors for Christ in Canada, we don’t have all the answers. Like you, we too are learning, growing, and adapting. Day by day, we strive to be a people who are committed to discerning the Spirit’s leading, as we trust Him to increase our capacity to love, empathize, and be present for this generation.
Through the over thirty CCFs we connect with across the province, events like Teens Conference, and the Christ-centred mentorship our staff provide to students, we are seeing young leaders rising up with a passion to be a part of God’s mission of renewal in Canada and around the world. AFC seeks to provide a safe space for young people to come together and wrestle through life’s biggest questions, offering community, discipleship, and training, as students think critically and experience the transforming power of the gospel.
As the school year has just started, would you join us in praying for our future leaders?
Incredibly, many students have never experienced a normal high school or university year and we are seeing a surge of growth amongst the various CCF communities. We praise God for this!
We are also aware that this past year has been a struggle for many students in their physical, spiritual, and mental health. Please pray for our staff as they gently and lovingly care for the students they are journeying with.
Thank you for your support
In my first six months as the Executive Director, I have been amazed at the deep care and concern that you have shown for today’s students through your generous partnership in prayers and financial support.
I give thanks for your partnership in the gospel! You are an answer to Jesus’ prayer that we may be "perfectly one, so that the world may know” that he has been sent (John 20:23).
Next year, AFC will be celebrating our 50th anniversary. We give thanks for all that God has done and will continue to do! As we look ahead to the next 50 years, I look forward to dreaming, praying, and partnering with you in our mission to help students journey toward Jesus.
Darren Lung, Executive Director
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