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Outreach Magazine: Celebrating 20 Years of Outreach: Leaders We Are Learning From

As we look back to celebrate the past 20 years of God’s faithfulness to use Outreach magazine to encourage his church, we looked back to leaders that shaped and influenced us. In this article, we also want to encourage us to look forward—to learn from the next generation. As such, we wanted to draw from leaders representing a variety of ages and backgrounds, and they serve the Lord in distinct and beautifully creative ways. But what they share in common is a love for God and his church and a passionate commitment to share the good news of the unfolding kingdom in their unique spheres of influence to the glory of God alone.

JORDAN WHITMER Chicago, Illinois Occupation: Founder and CEO of the HowToLife Movement Age: 24

According to Barna Research, only around 4% of Gen Z holds to a biblical worldview. It’s statistics like this one that drive Jordan Whitmer’s passion to galvanize his generation for the gospel. Growing up in a ministry family as the grandson of evangelist Ron Hutchcraft, sharing his faith has always been part of Whitmer’s life.

In March 2015, when he was a junior in high school, Whitmer and several friends organized the first HowToLife outreach event. The totally student-led event featured worship songs, testimonies and presentations of the gospel. Over 750 students showed up and more than 75 made a commitment to Christ.

Out of that first event emerged a movement and a nonprofit organization that is mobilizing Gen Z to reach Gen Z across the globe. Over the past seven years, 125 HowToLife events have been held in 25 states and six countries, drawing over 25,000 young people with over 2,300 making professions for Christ.

In addition, thousands of young leaders have been equipped for kingdom work. The key is raising up a local team of student leaders to lead each event.

“In order to see Gen Z Christians rapidly discipled, we must turn them loose to lead,” Whitmer says. “Christian youth are less likely to leave the church when they are empowered as teenagers. It is our responsibility to do whatever we can to train, equip and turn loose teens and young adults to lead for Christ.”

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