Jesus & Younger Generations: How Our Assumptions Can Hinder Our Witness : Aaron Pierce

Jesus & Younger Generations: How Our Assumptions Can Hinder Our Witness - Aaron Pierce - 106 - FrontStage BackStage with Jason Daye

How can our assumptions and attitudes hinder us from sharing Jesus with the non-religious and younger generations? In this week’s conversation on FrontStage BackStage, host Jason Daye is joined by Aaron Pierce. Aaron is the CEO and Mission Director for Steiger International. His most recent book is entitled Not Beyond Reach. Together, Aaron and Jason look at some of the tightly held assumptions that actually prevent us from pointing the non-religious to the beauty of Jesus Christ. Aaron also helps us understand how we can shift our heart posture so we are not fiercely defending against others’ cultural convictions but rather entering into conversations around some commonly held uncertainties and fears.

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Additional Resource Links – Visit Aaron’s bio page for insights into his ministry, speaking engagements, and other resources to enrich your faith journey.

Not Beyond Reach: How to Share Jesus with the Young, the Deconstructed, and the Non-Religious – How can we engage today’s skeptical post-Christian culture? Old ways of evangelism no longer work with a generation of young people who reject truth, morality, the Bible, and the existence of God. In his book, Aaron Pierce helps us understand the beliefs of millennials and Gen Z and shows us how the way to sharing Christ with them is through real friendships and authentic conversations.

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Key Insights and Concepts

  • The decline in church engagement among younger generations may reflect a move away from nominal Christianity towards a more distinct and powerful spiritual engagement.
  • Authentic Christianity, which actively demonstrates the power and hope of Jesus, stands in contrast to a nominal faith that lacks transformative power.
  • The challenge of the modern church is not simply to adopt contemporary styles, but to make the transformative power of the gospel relevant and understandable to a new generation.
  • Effective evangelism today involves contextualizing the gospel without compromising its message, ensuring it resonates with the unique cultural and philosophical assumptions of younger audiences.
  • Increasing distrust in institutions, including religious ones, requires new approaches to evangelism that do not rely solely on institutional church settings.
  • Today’s evangelism needs to meet people where they are, making the case for Christ in personal and relatable terms outside the traditional church environment.
  • Engaging effectively with secular or post-Christian individuals requires an understanding of their fundamental assumptions about the world and truth.
  • Despite secularism, there remains a widespread openness to spirituality, providing a fertile ground for deep spiritual conversations.
  • Universal human desires for belonging, purpose, and understanding can be powerful touchpoints for discussing the relevance of the gospel.
  • In a highly polarized environment, the church must navigate social and political issues with grace, promoting a gospel-centered approach to justice and community.
  • Addressing the pain caused by church failures and creating a space for genuine questioning, doubts, and healing are essential for fostering true growth and authentic communities.
  • True Christian love involves caring for others without necessarily endorsing all aspects of their lifestyle, which is essential for building authentic relationships.
  • Developing friendships with those outside the church allows us to integrate spiritual insights into everyday life, challenge cultural idols, and address the felt needs of those we’re in relationship with.
  • Encouraging a shared pursuit of truth can open doors to meaningful discussions about faith, free from a posture of defensiveness.
  • Despite cultural shifts, the core message of the gospel remains relevant and desperately needed, emphasizing peace, healing, and ultimate fulfillment in a relationship with God.

Questions for Reflection

  • What are my thoughts about nominal Christianity and its presence in our culture over the past several decades?
  • Do I sense a shift away from nominal Christianity among younger generations in my ministry? If so, how am I addressing that shift in my ministry?
  • What specific steps am I taking to make the gospel relevant and understandable to those who might not traditionally step into a church?
  • How can I better contextualize the gospel to resonate with the unique cultural backgrounds and philosophical views of those I come in contact with without compromising the core message?
  • Considering the growing distrust in institutions, what innovative approaches can I employ to build credibility and authentic relationships outside of traditional church settings?
  • How is our church authentically connecting with non religious people?
  • What new methods can I implement to meet people where they are, especially those who are skeptical of the church?
  • How can I effectively engage with and challenge the secular or post-Christian assumptions prevalent among the younger generation in my community?
  • In what ways can I tap into the existing openness to spirituality in today’s culture to initiate deep spiritual conversations?
  • How am I using universal desires for belonging, purpose, and understanding as entry points to discuss the gospel’s relevance? Is there a way I can do this better?
  • How do I navigate the polarized landscape of politics and social justice in a way that promotes a gospel-centered approach to these issues? What could this look like for our ministry?
  • What strategies can I implement to address past hurts caused by the church and create a safe space for healing and questioning within my ministry?
  • How can I cultivate a community that loves authentically, showing care without unconditional agreement on lifestyle choices? Am I doing this well personally?
  • What are effective ways to draw spiritual implications from everyday life situations in my interactions, particularly with those who may not share my beliefs?
  • How can I encourage an honest pursuit of truth in my engagements, fostering open-mindedness and mutual exploration rather than confrontation?
  • What are concrete examples from my ministry where the gospel has met the pressing needs of loneliness, anxiety, and confusion, demonstrating its ongoing relevance and necessity? Are there other ways I and/or my community can meet those needs?

Full-Text Transcript

How can our assumptions and attitudes hinder us from sharing Jesus with the non-religious and younger generations?

Jason Daye
In this episode, I’m joined by Aaron Pierce. Aaron is the CEO and Mission Director for Steiger International. His most recent book is entitled Not Beyond Reach. Together, Aaron and I look at some of the tightly held assumptions that actually prevent us from pointing the non-religious to the beauty of Jesus Christ. Aaron also helps us understand how we can shift our heart posture so we are not fiercely defending against others’ cultural convictions but rather entering into conversations around some commonly held uncertainties and fears. Are you ready? Let’s go.

Jason Daye 
Hello, friends, and welcome to another insightful episode of FrontStage BackStage. I am your host, Jason Daye, and each and every week, I have the privilege to sit down with a trusted ministry leader, and we dive into a topic all in an effort to help you and pastors and ministry leaders just like you embrace a healthy rhythm in both your life and ministry. We are proud to be a part of the Pastor Serve Network. Not only do we have a conversation every single week, but our team also creates a toolkit that complements the conversation that we have. And you can find the toolkit at There, you’ll find a ton of resources, including a Ministry Leaders Growth Guide. Now, this growth guide gives you the opportunity to dig more deeply into the conversation, and it has insights and questions that you can work through. You can also take your local ministry leaders at your church through the guide as well. It will give you an opportunity to discuss in more detail the topic that we’re diving into. So, we encourage you to check that out at Now, at Pastor Serve, we love walking alongside ministry leaders, we do this day in and day out. If you would like to learn how you can receive a complimentary coaching session you can find more details on that at So be sure to check that out as well. Now, if you’re joining us on YouTube, please give us a thumbs up. Take a moment to drop your name and the name of your church or ministry in the comment section below. We love getting to know your audience better, and we’ll be praying for you and for your ministry, so be sure to drop that in there. Then, whether you’re joining us on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform, please be sure to subscribe or follow so you do not miss out on any of these great conversations. I’m excited about today’s guest. At this time, I’d like to welcome Aaron Pierce to the show. Aaron, welcome.

Aaron Pierce 
Thanks, Jason. Good to be with you.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, good to be with you, brother. I’m really looking forward to the topic that we’re going to dive into because it’s something that is so prevalent right now in ministry, especially in the Western Church. I think I guess the church’s commentary on current culture, in emerging generations tends to be, it seems, somewhat critical, right? It seems like every generation thinks they had it a little more dialed in than the next generation, right? And that’s getting kind of progressively worse. Some people think we’re headed to hell in a handbasket type of thing. And that’s just a lot of the conversation that’s taking place within the church right now. So, Aaron, you have invested years, you have a deep history of, engaging with emerging generations, introducing them to the beauty of the gospel and the beauty of Jesus. And so I would love for you, if you could share with us a bit, Aaron, kind of your perspective. You’re kind of on the front lines in this space. So, can you talk to us a little bit about how you feel about emerging generations, where our culture is, where our culture is headed, and where Jesus fits into all that?

Aaron Pierce 
Yeah. Well, I mean, I think, on one hand, it’s hard to dispute the reality that younger generations, from a statistical perspective, are not following Jesus at the same levels. The fastest growing religious group in the country is the religiously unaffiliated, and not only is it like affiliation, but attitudes are changing as well towards the church. So, in some ways, it’s somewhat just factual that this generation is not as integrated into the church as the past. But I also think, of course, that it’s not all bad in that some of it has to do with the fact that in previous generations, we largely lived in this kind of Christian nominalism, in which many people identified as a Christian. And what that brought with it is, of course, maybe familiarity with the church and openness to come to church on Easter and Christmas, believing the Bible was a good moral guide, and all those good things. But it also created confusion, and it also created a sense of, I’m a Christian, but I’m not really living it. Whereas now it’s maybe more distinct. And I think that’s an opportunity because if you ask me, one of the greatest barriers to people encountering Jesus is that they experience a form of godliness that denies its power. And I think a lot of nominal Christianity is that. And so when people experience religiosity, moralism, and this kind of thing that doesn’t resonate with them, not because of the form and function, but because it’s powerless, it’s religious and powerless. That, I think, takes people away more than anything else. So, in one sense, I would say it’s a positive thing, that there’s a more clear distinction and hopefully a clear distinction between the outworking of a secular worldview and the power, the hope, and the supernatural in the Holy Spirit in Christians. So I think, in that sense, that’s a positive thing. There are, of course, a lot of positive things about this generation itself. But as far as the trends, and how many young people are no longer following or are no longer part of the Church, no longer identify as a Christian. I think there are multiple ways of looking at that, too.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, Aaron, now I want to dive into something you said there. I don’t want our audience to miss it because I think you made an incredible point. You said something about it’s not that they are turned off by necessarily the form and function of what church looks like today, which is huge, Aaron, because a lot of people make that assumption. And there have been books, conferences, and all kinds of things developed over the last couple of decades about form and function, how we show up as the church, what we do, how we engage people, and those types of things as being the problem, and therefore we need to shift that. But what you’re saying, and I think this is present, I’ve got young adult children. And so I see this in their own lives and in the lives of their friends, right? It’s not necessarily the form or function of the church, but it’s that piece that you mentioned that it’s almost a false view of what God and Jesus were all about, that does not connect because there’s something inauthentic about it. So, Aaron, I’d love for you to dive in a little more on that point right there because I think that’s something we don’t want to miss.

Aaron Pierce 
Yeah, no, I think that’s exactly right. Sometimes, we get hung up on the superficial in the sense of, like, if we just get the music right or make it look cool, then we’re going to connect. And certainly, there’s a way to be stylistically relevant to someone, but I don’t think that’s the fundamentals of it. I don’t think that’s the issue. I think what it is is that people need to see how the gospel is relevant to their lives, how the gospel transforms their lives, and how it’s the basis for authentic community. It’s the basis for, the greatest fundamental needs of my life are healing, relational reconciliation, and forgiveness, and that in Jesus, that is the ultimate source of those things. So, it’s making the gospel relevant. And I think that word relevance gets confused. Because relevance can sometimes mean putting on a costume and using the right Gen Z slang. And I don’t think that’s what it’s about. It’s about making the gospel understandable. So my background is I grew up as a missionary kid, and a missionary is all about making the gospel relevant or contextualizing it for a foreign culture. Not so that you compromise it, water it down, or anything like that. You make it understandable. And I think the challenge for us is how do we contextualize the gospel for a younger generation. And the reason it’s important is because the younger generation has a different set of assumptions about the world than previous generations. And communication is all about assumptions. If I know what you believe and the assumptions you have, I can speak to that, I can challenge it, or I can build off of it. But when we are using assumptions from the past, in the US context, it’s usually kind of a nominal Christian nation assumption. And I’m speaking to a post-Christian person, a secularized person, it doesn’t often resonate, doesn’t connect. And so the challenge is how do we learn to communicate the gospel? Which is the thing that people, whether they know it or not, are looking for. But how do you communicate it in a way that they can understand and that’s, to me, what relevance is about. Because you’ll find that young people are actually drawn to all sorts of things. Some of them are drawn to very traditional forms and functions. And so that’s really not the point. It’s how to communicate it in a way that connects.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, that’s good. Aaron, in your most recent book, Not Beyond Reach, you really lean into this idea of what it looks like to contextualize the gospel for younger generations, emerging generations. What does it mean to engage with someone who is non-religious, right, who is post-Christian? And that’s absolutely key. So talk to us a bit, Aaron, if you would, about some key things that we need to kind of relearn, perhaps, right? So that we don’t make those assumptions that lead us down a path that just frustrates us and frustrates the people that we’re connecting with. But what are some of the fresh things that we need to consider when it comes to engaging with younger generations today?

Aaron Pierce 
Yeah, it’s an interesting dynamic. I think one of the challenges that we have today is that not just young people, but most people, have become increasingly suspicious of religious institutions, and frankly, suspicious of all institutions. And like, that’s an issue, right? We don’t trust the media like we used to, we don’t trust the government, and we also don’t trust the church like we used to, and there are reasons for it, right? Something that’s played into it. But the fact is, people don’t have the same trust of religious institutions, and are far less likely to come to a church event. So you’re dealing with that. And I think that’s relevant because a lot of our models for evangelism and for reaching culture in the past was bringing them to church. Like we’ll create the space where they can encounter Jesus in the context of a church. And today, you’re kind of putting an extra barrier in the way, and people need to meet Jesus on their own terms before they’re ready to understand the point of the church. And so I think sometimes that’s a challenge because a lot of our evangelism is based on come to us, come and see, bring your friend. The other thing is, again, I mentioned already because many people don’t have the same assumptions about truth, morality, the nature of God, and the authority of the Bible. I can say to someone, a secular university student, and I could say, Hey, if you were to die today and stand before God in heaven, and he were to judge your life, would he let you in? Well, I’m just presupposing a whole bunch of things that they probably don’t hold to be true. Or I could quote Scripture as authority. And by that, clearly, scripture is the, I believe, word of God, it is authoritative, it’s infallible, and all of that. But when I’m talking to a secular person and I kind of say, Well, the Bible says, X, therefore Y,  I’m not connecting because they have to assume that the Bible is an authority. What I can do is I can show that the Bible is true by connecting it to their experience in life and that it’s verifiable. So it’s kind of like you have to approach it from a different way. Where so often we kind of take it from the “Bible is authoritative, therefore…” but rather I can say, well, actually, you experienced this and the Bible speaks into this, it explains your longings, explains your experience, and explains the brokenness in our world in a way that you see all around you. The Bible explains that like nothing else. And so it’s a different way of approaching a secular culture because of the assumptions. I’d say the last thing, if I can, is despite all of that, we have a culture that is very much open to spirituality. And so most are not cold, hard atheists, most are very open to spirituality. So there’s tremendous opportunity to engage in spiritual conversations because people are very open to that. They don’t believe that the world is just kind of cold, hard accident, life’s just about pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain, and in the end I’m going to be in the dirt. They believe there’s got to be more. So these are some of the opportunities, I think we have in engaging this culture.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, I love that. That’s very helpful, Aaron. And what’s interesting is there is that openness and there’s that desire to look for something bigger than ourselves. We see this in emerging generations. But oftentimes, we trip up because our starting place is completely different from their starting place. So there has to be this recognition and we have to find that common ground. Aaron, what are some of the ways that you have found over the years and that you write about in your book that we can kind of find that common ground, that place to start the conversation, and begin the relationship with someone?

Aaron Pierce 
Well, I think that there are so many things that we have in common with people. It can be very superficial things. But I think that we all desire belonging and connection. We all desire purpose. So much of what you see in the world is people trying to find belonging, acceptance, and purpose in things other than God when they don’t know him, right? And so those are places of deep connections. I think, and we might get into this, but I think there are so many things that we make divisive, like politics and other issues that we have, social justice, and all sorts of things. It gets very divisive, but we recognize actually, there are incredible opportunities to find points of connection. And so yeah, I think part of it is there’s a tendency, I think, for us, the US has seen a decline in Christian influence and kind of some moral decay and some ideologies that are going on that are pretty wild. And so the tendency is like well, maybe I need to isolate or put my fists up. And so we can have a defensive posture, when actually people, beneath the conviction that people have, their moral convictions and all this, there’s actually beneath that, not too deep beneath that, a lot of confusion and there’s a lot of brokenness. And so if you can kind of see beneath the surface a little bit and be patient, you’ll find that when you connect with people, there’s a lot there that you can relate to and that people are really searching. They just often are searching for those things that God has put in us in the wrong places.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, that’s good, Aaron. Let’s lean in a little bit to some of those more divisive conversations, topics, and those types of things because in the book, you really highlight that those are areas that are ripe for engagement. And oftentimes, you said this a little bit, we tend to put our fists up, we tend to get defensive, we get angry over politics, we get angry over sexuality issues, and we get angry over all these things. So we’re shouting about them. But you posit that there might be a different posture that we take, rather than getting angry, prayerfully seeing where is God at work in those issues. And so, Aaron, if we could let’s just step through some of them. Since it’s an election year and things are crazy, let’s go with politics first. There’s no question that over the last decade or so, politics has become one of the most divisive things in our country and even in the church, right? I mean, it’s heartbreaking in so many ways. And so, Aaron, when we look at the issue of politics, how can we change our posture from getting defensive, fighting, finger-wagging, finger-pointing, or whatever to seeing the opportunity to highlight the beauty of Jesus in those conversations?

Aaron Pierce 
Yeah, I think it starts with maybe a paradigm shift in my own mind. Sometimes it’s something I understand conceptually but it really hasn’t gotten down to my heart. And when it comes to politics, I think, again, because of all this going on in our culture, a lot of the Christian response to all that’s going on in our culture has been characterized by fear. And we’ve responded to the moral decay, the tax on traditionalist views on sexuality, and this and that. We’ve responded with fear and so that fear has, again, caused us to be like we’ve got to fight against this. And certainly, we need to address that. But I think the challenge is, when we see that politics is going to be the solution or that’s where we’re putting our hope. And it’s a really subtle thing because most of us realize politics is not where we should put our hope. But the truth is our hope is not in this country. It’s not in our religious freedom. It’s not in the tax benefits the church has. Our hope is in none of that. So yes, while we certainly want to defend those things, we don’t put an existential hope in those things. And if that’s true, I can approach people and these issues in a different way. Because if it is an existential threat, then I need to fight it with all means possible including that you kind of get into the means justify the ends kind of mentality. But if my mentality is no, my hope isn’t in that. No matter what happens, I have hope in Jesus, it changes my posture, I can kind of relax a little bit and I can approach people with more patience and grace. And then realize that actually politics, on a personal level, not on a policy level, but on a personal level, is an incredible opportunity for spiritual conversation. Because politics, if you think about it, a lot of young people are very socially active in some way and often it’s not very biblically aligned. But nonetheless, when you think about someone that’s passionate about anything, including environmentalism, which is big, or LGBTQ rights, or whatever, what you can see in them is number one, someone like that believes the world is not as it ought to be. And as a follower of Jesus, you’re like, Amen. So that’s actually a deep point of connection, you can say, you know, you’re right, this world is messed up. And I think that’s actually one of the distinctions between today’s younger person versus maybe 15 years ago. 15 years ago there was more of, and I think it’s kind of related to tech-optimism, but there was more of this sense, like, everything’s cool, everything’s progressing, or everything’s going great. And now there’s anxiety, depression, war, and this and that. And so what people are seeing is man, the world’s broken and if you’re going to understand the gospel, you have to accept that the world is broken. And then the question is, man, what is the solution to this? Is there truly a political solution to this? And what you’ll find is that people, when they really resonate with that, they say, no, there’s something deeper going on here. So that combined with the reality is that socially, people that are activists, want to do something about the brokenness of the world. And that, too, is something God’s put it in them, right? God’s put in us a mission, even if we don’t yet know Jesus, that good works that we were created for an advance is in them. And so that speaks to the fact that our lives have purpose. And so all these things, whether it’s that this world is broken, or that our lives matter, that we should have purpose and all these things are connections to the Gospel in really profound and visceral ways, and politics and social justice speak to it really powerfully.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, that’s good. Super helpful, Aaron. How do you navigate through a situation when a young person might say, Well, really, I think one of the big things that’s wrong with the world is the church and how the church has kind of expressed itself and how the church is even expressing itself today?

Aaron Pierce 
Sure, and that’s complicated. You have to add what you mean by that, right? It can mean different things to different people. I think sometimes people use that as a smokescreen for other things. I think a lot of people walk away from the church because of church hurt. I think that a couple of things I’d say to that. One is that, of course, there’s a flawed idea of if they expect the church to be perfect, they’ve got a flawed understanding of the gospel, clearly. That said, the church, sadly, does not live up to our ideals often. So there is a reckoning there. I think one of the big things that we need to create space for is that we live in kind of a cancel culture in general. But within the church, we’ve created our own kind of cancel culture, which is, if someone brings up a hard question, or a doubt, or struggles with kind of a hard doctrine, like the doctrine of hell or something like that, we see that as immediately dangerous and heretical, and we kind of shut that down, we’re actually hurting people. We need to create a space for people to process those hard questions within the context of the church, including, what do we do when churches hurt people? Or what do we do when good Christians do things that are out of alignment? We need to create a space for people to process that, not hide from it, not gloss over it, not dismiss those doubts, and kind of keep those doubters away from the other ones so they don’t infect them. I actually think that creating a space to process those doubts creates a resilience in your faith that you can’t achieve any other way.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, that’s good, Aaron. And that’s a lot more authentic, too, rather than pretending like, Oh, we’ve got it all figured out, or just don’t look, shield your eyes, we’ll get this figured out. It’s this idea of inviting people into Yeah, we’re broken people, too. We’re trying to figure this out. We know that there’s brokenness in the world, there’s brokenness in the church, and invite them into a space where they can wrestle through some of their own doubts. So I think that’s great. Aaron, another hot-button issue is, and we talked about a little bit or referenced it, and that is sexual identity, these types of things, sexuality as a whole. And this is something that younger generations are very passionate about, we see this. How do you recommend we, again, engage in these conversations in a winsome way that helps them see the beauty of Christ?

Aaron Pierce 
Yeah, it’s probably our biggest challenge today in the church, reaching this next generation. So many young people walk away because of that issue or because you’re telling me that my gay friend is going to hell, that’s a big issue. And I think that it’s, I don’t want to come across like it’s easy to solve because it’s not. I think it’s hard because it’s been tied to people’s identity, right? And this isn’t just something I experienced or whatever, it’s who I am. And so it’s a big challenge. I think the biggest thing we have to overcome in our culture first and foremost, is the kind of foundation we have to build which is, is it possible for me to love you and not agree with everything that you do and everything that you believe? I think that’s actually the fundamental thing I have to address before I can even get into the biblical view on sexuality. Is it possible for me to love you and not affirm everything that you believe and how you live? Because the truth is, in reality, it’s impossible to love someone and then affirm everything about them. Like as a dad, I don’t do that with my kids, right? My five-year-old would have been hit by a car by now if he just got to go wherever he wanted and eat whatever he wanted. It would have been candy and running on the streets, right? So the idea that I can love you and not agree with everything for you is kind of the foundation you have to build. Because, as with anything, this stuff has to be worked out in relationship and trust. And you can’t build that relationship if you can’t get to the place where hey, I love you, no matter what, even if I don’t agree with you, even if I don’t think this is good for you. And that’s fundamentally what we believe. Our view on sexuality is not about control or limiting freedom or fun. It’s about operating our lives in a way that’s in alignment with God’s way so that we thrive. But I can’t even get there until I can have a relationship and I can’t have a relationship until I can get to the place where I love you even if I don’t agree with you. So I think it often starts right there.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, I love that. So let’s lean in a little bit more on that. When we’re engaging with people who really are like, hey, love is love and these type of things, how do we, we’re establishing relationship with them, but how do we continue to build that relationship in such a way that invites ongoing conversation?

Aaron Pierce 
Yeah, I think that this doesn’t just relate to sexuality. This is related to any topic. But it’s the big thing that we’re that I’m pushing in this book is to develop friendships with secular people, with people that wouldn’t walk into a church, whether it’s a gay person or whatever, develop authentic friendships. And the whole challenge there is love does not equal affirmation. I can love someone and not affirm. But then realize that if you’re developing a real friendship, like so much of life has spiritual implications, then how do I begin to draw out spiritual implications of everyday life? Like love is love, which is a kind of confusing, circular statement. It’s a great question about, well, what is love? What does love mean? And begin to question love because is love just accepting all things? Or does love say, No, there’s some things that are good and there are some things that are not good? And I can begin to set the foundation for a moral framework, not based on an angry judging God, but a God that is compassionate and wants good things for his children. And so a moral framework is we’re reshaping morality. And so everything has spiritual implications. And you just need to, through friendship and spiritual conversations, begin to challenge. What I talk about in the book is that you’re basically looking for four things, you’re looking for idols in their life, you’re looking for felt needs that they have, and you’re looking for lies and truths. And so idols, what are those things that they’re putting their hope in that will fail them, and begin to challenge those things? It could be that I put my identity, my hope, in a relationship, or I’ve got a felt need of loneliness and I’m trying to fill that loneliness somehow, and, again, you begin to challenge those things. And it starts to clear away the things that stand in the way of Jesus and the cross because fundamentally what they need is Jesus and the cross, not a moral lifestyle change, they need to meet Jesus and surrender their lives to Him and accept what he did on the cross for them. But sometimes there’s so much garbage in the way that you can clear away through spiritual conversations over time. And as you build trust, you can begin to speak into people’s lives. And what you’ll find including people in the LGBTQ scene is that they’re not as convicted as you think they are. There’s questions and doubts going on underneath. And as you build relationships, you get to speak into that and bring truth into that. So yeah, I guess that’s how I’d answer all that.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, Aaron. I think it’s a great reminder for us that you’ve touched on this a couple of times in this conversation, the idea that beneath people’s beliefs or their current convictions, there is a lot of confusion, there are a lot of questions, there’s a lot of searching, no matter how much they might present like they’ve got it figured out on the outside. It’s just common to human nature. And if we can kind of avoid attacking that surface-level conviction and if we can, honestly, just ask some questions and try to dig in a little bit more deeply and build that trust, as you said, it can open some real doors for Jesus in their lives.

Aaron Pierce 
Yeah, and I think it’s a posture thing and it’s also a confidence. It’s a confidence that Jesus is who He says He is. And so when I approach people, rather than trying to convince them I’m right, I encourage them to pursue the truth, which is very different. And it’s different because my posture towards them is like, I just want to know what’s true. And let’s pursue that. And an honest pursuit of truth will lead to Jesus. It will open their hearts to Jesus. And so I don’t have to convince them, I just have to ask questions and honestly pursue truth together, and also have some humility. The fact that I don’t know everything and that I’m still on a journey even as I know what is true. I can still have some humility about learning and just walk with people. And that posture I think makes a big difference.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, I love that Aaron. I love that. Awesome. It’s been a great conversation. A couple of things before we wrap up. One is that your newest book, Not Beyond Reach, is out. What’s the best way that people can connect with you, with your ministry, and get the book?

Aaron Pierce 
Well, if you want to get the book you can go, we’re working with Living On The Edge with Chip Ingram, that’s who we published through. So you can go to or to get the book. If you want to learn more about Steiger, which is the organization that I lead, we’re a global missionary movement all about mobilizing followers of Jesus to reach young people who have not walked into a church. You can go to

Jason Daye 
Awesome, brother. I love that. And for those of you who might be running on a treadmill or driving down the road, we’ll have links to the book, we’ll have links to Steiger, Aaron’s organization, and his ministry, in the toolkit for this episode which you can find at We’ll have links there for that. Aaron, as we wind down, I want to give you an opportunity just to speak to your brothers and sisters on the frontlines of ministry. What are some words of encouragement that you would have for them?

Aaron Pierce 
I just think that I know so many pastors whose hearts are truly broken for this next generation and often it’s a very personal thing. This is often people in our own family we’re talking about. I can just tell you from our own experience, that they’re not as far gone as you might think. I’ve seen so many people in our ministry because we have the privilege of doing this day in and day out. So many people who you would have thought are beyond reach, they’re like pro-choice activists deep in the scene, encounter Jesus, lives transformed, and all that kind of stuff. And so, I guess I want to just encourage you that the gospel is as relevant today as ever, it is what people are looking for. They’ve just been confused by the culture. If we can find ways to present the gospel, I mean, I talk a lot about, if I can real quick, the cultural felt needs of our day of loneliness, anxiety, and sexual brokenness. Jesus meets those needs, right? Confusion? Jesus brings truth to the confused, he brings healing to the sexually broken, he brings peace that transcends understanding, and he brings the ultimate relationship with the Creator. In the church, we have the answer that this generation is crying out for. They’re just not coming to the church, so we’ve got to mobilize our people to go to them. They will respond. They are hungry. They are open. So that would be my challenge.

Jason Daye 
Yeah. I love that, Aaron. I love that. Great word of hope. Brother, thank you so much for taking the time to hang out with us. I appreciate you and encourage people to check out your new book, Not Beyond Reach, and to pray about how God can open up some conversations and how we can engage younger generations with the gospel. So thank you so much.

Aaron Pierce 
Thanks, Jason.

Jason Daye
Now, before you go, I want to remind you of an incredible free resource that our team puts together every single week to help you and your team dig more deeply and maximize the conversation that we just had. This is the weekly toolkit that we provide. And we understand that it’s one thing to listen or watch an episode, but it’s something entirely different to actually take what you’ve heard, what you’ve watched, what you’ve seen, and apply it to your life and to your ministry. You see, FrontStage BackStage is more than just a podcast or YouTube show about ministry leadership, we are a complete resource to help train you and your entire ministry team as you seek to grow and develop in life in ministry. Every single week, we provide a weekly toolkit which has all types of tools in it to help you do just that. Now you can find this at That’s And there you will find all of our shows, all of our episodes and all of our weekly toolkits. Now inside the toolkit are several tools including video links and audio links for you to share with your team. There are resource links to different resources and tools that were mentioned in the conversation, and several other tools, but the greatest thing is the ministry leaders growth guide. Our team pulls key insights and concepts from every conversation with our amazing guests. And then we also create engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process, providing space for you to reflect on how that episode’s topic relates to your unique context, at your local church, in your ministry and in your life. Now you can use these questions in your regular staff meetings to guide your conversation as you invest in the growth of your ministry leaders. You can find the weekly toolkit at We encourage you to check out that free resource. Until next time, I’m Jason Daye encouraging you to love well, live well, and lead well. God bless.

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