I am a Navy brat. We moved to Lemoore because of my dad’s orders to NAS Lemoore. My parents have been redeployed and are now living in Florida. It’s been 5 years since they lived here and living away from my family has not been my favorite thing.

During a recent substantially long visit, I noticed many things about both of my parents that I had not realized before. There were little gestures or sounds that I had missed during our time apart. Taking notice of these habits, I was shocked to see some of those same tendencies in myself. I know, I know! There are a dozen clichés out there about being the product of our parents and becoming just like your mother that flashed through my head.

I know that I picked up my work ethic, my creativity, and my ability to listen from my parents. I suppose I just hadn’t noticed how many other things they had passed on to me. Now, my husband and I are passing certain things on to our children. Some things are on accident and others are with specific intentionality. 

In scripture, I recently read Judges 2 about an entire generation that did not pass on the story of their faith in God to the next generation. I have been wondering about this since I read that passage. I wonder what kept their story from being heard. Maybe it wasn’t articulated well. Maybe the outside culture was louder and more convincing than the message of their parents. Maybe the parents were afraid of controlling their children’s beliefs so they watered down their passion and faith. Maybe the generation before had stopped living their faith in their real lives and allowed it to become predominantly ceremonial. Maybe they hadn’t figured out how to include their own children in the process when the miracles didn’t happen for them. The maybes are endless. Maybe we are doing the same.

I do not want to miss passing on the fire of my faith to those younger than me – either in age or in belief. God gave EVERYTHING to make sure the way to Him was possible for us. He gave His Son to die. In order to make sure people know, most of the time, we just have to have some conversations.

You may not have children or your children may be grown. You may not have a good relationship with your children or you may be a “child” yourself! But we are all called to raise up the next generation. Part of knowing how to show love, and your love of Jesus, to someone means you may need to know who that someone is. A conversation, with the understanding of acceptance and love, goes much further than those that are shrouded in person-less agenda.

Here is some of the data collected by Barna Group regarding Generation Z. Gen Z is the generation of young people currently in middle school, high school and young adulthood.

  • Teens 13-18 years old are twice as likely as adults to say they are atheist (13% vs 6%)
  • About half of Gen Z is non-white
  • Half say that happiness is their ultimate goal in life. For 43%, happiness equals financial success
  • More than half of teens use screen media 4+ hours per day on average. One-quarter of them look at screens on average 8+ hours per day
  • One-third are being bullied online

This is just the most basic snapshot. If you want to pass on something important to someone, you may want to consider getting to know that someone.

I hope I pass on more than my laugh to my little ones. I am praying daily that they catch more than even our value of hard work. My prayer is that they, and their generation, fall in love with Jesus in a way that is real and life-changing.

Be a part of making disciples in this generation! Get to know a person younger than yourself and pass on one of the most important gifts you can ever give: the story of why you believe.


Candace Cortez is Executive Pastor at Koinonia Church in Hanford, CA. She can be reached at candace@kchanford.com or 559-582-1528.