GETTING REAL WITH GENERATION Z
Jan MacMillan is a lover of Jesus, wife to Nicholas and mom of two very energetic, happy boys-
Malachi (3 years) and Judah (two years).
Jan loves being around people, will never say no to an almond milk cappuccino and is
passionate about empowering people to live in the fullness Jesus has for them by giving them practical handles on how to lay hold of His truth and walk it out in everyday life.
Janice has a BComm Degree, specialising in Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Innovation. After graduating at Stellenbosch, she went to spend time at Iris Ministries in Mozambique. She then went on to spend a year at Bethel School Of Supernatural Ministry and after that spent time in the marketplace in the digital marketing space and advertising.
Together with her husband, they are a part of the Glenridge Eldership Team and consider it a
great joy to serve the bride of Christ.
Other interests of Jan include coffee shop musings, swimming in the sea, and running on the
Durban promenade with her two boys chasing after her on their bikes.
Did you know that Gen Z’s who are currently 4-24 years of age (born between 1995 and 2015)
are known as the most disruptive generation in history? And by saying disruptive it is a positive
They are full of innovative ideas, have goodwill at the centre of their hearts, appreciate
collaboration and are not driven by the need to create wealth, but by the desire to create a
However, studies show that only 1 out of every 5 Gen Z’ers believe in going to church, and new
findings reveal that Gen Z’s are the loneliest generation throughout history, particularly the ages
Loneliness is the number one fear of young people today - ranking ahead of losing a home or a
job. On this basis, we have a significant responsibility to create space for our young people,
empower them, trust them, believe in them and simply love on them as much as we can.
My husband and I lead our Young Adults Ministry called Forge at Glenridge Church, KwaZulu-Natal.
We have ALWAYS had an incredible heart and passion to see young people raised up knowing who they are in God, knowing they have Heaven’s full backing behind them and, most importantly,
creating an appetite within them for the things of the Kingdom and for Jesus to be made known
in their spheres of influence and ultimately all the world.
Our mandate for this generation is simple: Raise up a generation who are committed to Jesus,
connected to the local house and living contagious lifestyles on mission in our city. Committed,
Connected and Contagious are our three words God gave us for this generation and what a
mighty privilege it is to ‘fan into flames’ the gifts lying in these young people’s hearts.
So you might be reading this and thinking, “That’s great! Go for it Nick and Jan!” BUT, we need
the entire generation alive today to invest into this generation. Sons and Daughters need homes
to root themselves into. This is where the local church comes in to play- we need local churches
to celebrate young people. One of the things that has been most impactful to us in our twenties
(I am 31 now so I like to think that those memories and learnings are still fresh) is having
Spiritual fathers and mothers invest into us.
Spacious places rooted in an accountable community is a recipe to allow our young people to
thrive. Nick and I have learnt that empowering young people, and not being afraid to give them
room to exercise their giftings, to learn and take steps of faith, is what they hold so dear. We
have learnt that being over-zealous in our encouragement and support to them is paramount to
whether or not they believe they can do it. God says in His word that ‘Kind words are like honey,
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.’ (Proverbs 16:24). We often ask ourselves: Are we
leaving people well-fed or starved with our words?
Some practical pointers and lessons we’ve learnt through being young ourselves in leadership
and leading the young:
1. Spiritual Moms and Dads are valuable
We need the wisdom and knowledge from those that have gone before us, done that and ‘got
the t-shirt’ so to speak. Joshua and Moses, David and Saul, Esther and Mordecai, Ruth and
Naomi are all beautiful examples of how the younger generation gleaned off the wisdom of the
older generation. These are biblical examples of how young people were ‘mentored’ by older
folk. Share your insight, walk with the young, invest in them, take them for a coffee and ask them
what they love or what their biggest God-dream is.
2. Give them space to make mistakes
The beauty about the younger generation is that they think the impossible. They often haven’t
lost their childlike spirits. Lend them opportunity. ‘Risk it’ with them. Take failure out of the
vocabulary. How else are they meant to grow if they have never been given space to try?
We’ve learnt to celebrate progress and not perfection, to celebrate the leap of faith they have
taken. If we are rooted in a local house, submitting to local leadership, then as young people we
know that we have leaders who back us, believe in us and are there to help us.
3. Celebrate and thankfulness
There is nothing better than someone acknowledging your strengths and what you carry in this
world. Even adults love encouragement and affirmation. I’ve yet to find someone who doesn't
value a word of encouragement over themselves. Find what is unique about someone and
speak it out over them, celebrate their strengths, encourage them in something. It goes a long
way. And finally, thanking people is so simple we often forget to do it. Thank those young
people who perhaps come early to set out the chairs, or serve tea or coffee, or teach the kids. It
could even be a thank you for showing up Sunday after Sunday. I have learnt to never
underestimate the power of a thank you. It makes one feel seen and heard.
In closing, we all need each other. 1 Cor 12:24-27 says:
“God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there
should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If
one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
Whether young or old, Gen Z or a Boomer, each one is unique, celebrated, equal and loved.
Let’s be a voice of hope and encouragement to our Youth, creating a culture of celebration over
them and ‘going all out in love’ for them.