Building Racial Unity & Gen Z Mental Health Crisis
Outgoing Southern Baptist Convention President Ed Litton, former SBC president Fred Luter and noted author and pastor Tony Evans announced an initiative Wednesday to build racial unity nationwide, conducted by the local church. And The growing Gen Z mental health crisis is being felt across the nation—in schools, families, and churches. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Children’s Hospital Association, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recently declared this crisis a national emergency.
Outgoing Southern Baptist Convention President Ed Litton, former SBC president Fred Luter and noted author and pastor Tony Evans announced an initiative Wednesday to build racial unity nationwide, conducted by the local church.
“The church should be on the frontline of bringing hope and healing to our communities for the glory of God,” said Litton, senior pastor of Redemption Church in Saraland, Ala.
Luter, the only African American to have served as SBC president, elected in 2012 and 2013, acknowledged “we as a Southern Baptist Convention have made a lot of progress, but now it’s time to take it to the next step.”
The program, based on an acronym of AAA – assemble, address and act.
The program will include an annual one-day solemn assembly when congregations will fast and collectively re-invite God into the wellbeing of their community, without compromising any elements of the faith; pastors and leaders addressing with one voice, in love and with biblical clarity, proclaiming God’s perspective on issues facing their communities including identity, race, marriage, and life; and collectively performing acts of kindness throughout their communities.
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The growing Gen Z mental health crisis is being felt across the nation—in schools, families, and churches. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Children’s Hospital Association, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recently declared this crisis a national emergency.
Springtide Research Institute recently released sobering findings on Gen Z (ages 13-25) mental health trends two years into COVID-19.
The research found teens and young adults feel extremely depressed, anxious, stressed, and lonely. Over half of young people (53%) reported the biggest challenge they faced during the pandemic was their mental health.
Nearly half of young people (48%) say they’re moderately or extremely depressed. Another 1 in 4 say they’re extremely stressed (25%). And 1 in 5 say they’re extremely anxious (26%) or extremely lonely (21%). Worse, 6 in 10 young people (61%) say adults in their lives don’t truly know the extent of their struggles. This includes 59% of young Protestants.
A critical finding from Springtide’s mental health study is that young people who feel they belong in a community say they’re “flourishing a lot” in their mental health at significantly higher rates than those who don’t feel they belong. To be sure, belonging isn’t just a result of well-thought-out programs. It’s also a function of highly relational practices like knowing their name, acknowledging their presence and their absence, remembering details they’ve shared about their lives, and—especially for this generation—being cognizant and appreciative of their identities (e.g., racial or ethnic).
You can find the full story at our website, Baptist Press.com.
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