February 16, 2023
Last summer I had the opportunity to work at a daycare, and one day I asked an elementary age boy the same question adults asked me a million times when I was a kid: what do you want to be when you grow up? I remember wanting to be an artist and author when I was five years old; my sister wanted to be a firefighter. I’m sure we all remember having our own aspirations as kids: doctor, teacher, singer, actor, real estate agent, major league baseball player, etc. But this little boy answered with a career that I don’t even remember existing when I was a kid: a YouTuber. Isn’t that answer so telling of our times? To the confusion and possibly even disgust of the older generations, Gen Z views becoming a social media influencer or vlogger as valid career choice. In fact, according to LinkedIn, “For… Gen Z tweens… the top choice for career path was ‘You Tuber’… For older members of Gen Z… 54% would become an influencer if the opportunity was presented to them.”
I think the older generations are going to raise questions like “can you actually support yourself financially?” or “will your job security last only as long as you’re famous?” But for Christians, I think a different question might take precedence: is it Christ-like to make your living through something that requires you to seek out popularity? After all, doesn’t Mark 9:35 say that “anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all”? We all probably know of somebody social media famous who claimed to be a Christian but let pride get to their head and was less than a Christ-like example. Does that mean that Christians should avoid these careers altogether?
In John 17:16-18, Jesus prays, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” I want to highlight two big things from this verse: the need for cultural engagement and the need for an understanding of truth. We may not be able to reverse the trend that our generation is spending more and more time scrolling on their phones, filling their minds with all the entertainment, beauty, and clutter social media has to offer. But we do have the opportunity to engage in the culture our generation is a part of by influencing what they view on their screens. Unbelievers can have access to the gospel literally at their fingertips… but only if there are young people producing culturally relevant content that fills their feeds with the hope of Christ. Still, so many twisted “Christian” messages are flowing out into the world. That is why it is so important that we become saturated in truth through time spent studying the Bible, so we can be accurate messengers of the Gospel. While we may be sharing our favorite product or favorite hobby in our vlogs and TikToks, our ultimate goal should be to reflect the light of Christ, humbly accepting our position of popularity as an opportunity to be a messenger.
Whether we have an Instagram following of fifty, there’s a blue check mark next to our handle, or we avoid social media for whatever reason, we are all influencers in our world. How are we going to use the platform that God has given us?
Culture is certainly changing, and the older generations may budge against the Gen Z’s perception of careers. When it really comes down to it, the main concern should not be whether the old is better than the new or vice versa but whether we are willing to use whatever career we enter into to share the age-old truth of the Gospel.
If you’re wanting to rewind time and reminisce about what it was like to be a kid fantasizing about what you wanted to be when you grow up, come out to Career Day Bingo this Saturday, February 18, at 9:00 p.m. in the LaHaye Event Space, where you can show off your amazing fit for your dream career!
Written by Moriah Joseph