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Gen Z Advocate

November 22, 2021 - 5 minute read

Cassie Moore speaking on a stage

Cassie Moore ’08, a leading voice in Gen Z ministry in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), is a familiar conference speaker and writer who has worked with thousands of young people since graduating from CUI’s Director of Christian Education (DCE) program. Today, she leads a range of kids and youth ministries at an LCMS church near downtown Houston, and writes articles, books and curricula based on her extensive experience ministering to Gen Z.

Cassie Moore

“I am a millennial but I have worked with Gen Z my whole career, and I understand them,” Moore says. “I have a genuine interest in this generation and what they offer the world. I want others to see what they offer as well.”

Ironically, Moore did not attend a youth group growing up, though she attended a Lutheran church and school. As a senior in high school, she felt led to steer her future away from law school and into ministry.

“It was kind of ludicrous because I didn’t experience ministry,” she says. “It shocked my friends. I had gotten into other good universities, but I knew it wasn’t where God wanted me to go.”

Moore moved to Irvine from Minnesota and discovered CUI’s DCE program as a pathway to work in the church. While immersing herself in ministry training, she also entered the President’s Academic Showcase competition, offering an early glimmer of her writing career.

I thought this was the most important, critical work I could do in my life… caring for this generation.

She also found her future husband, Tyler Moore, whom she calls “God’s biggest bless- ing to me.” But when they graduated in 2008, the economy was at a standstill and they wondered if there were any ministry jobs available. Tyler enrolled at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, and Cassie, though she possessed little real-world experience, received an internship at one of the largest LCMS churches in the country.

“It was a sink-or-swim situation, a huge job for a kid right out of college,” she says. “A couple of months before, I was living in a dorm room. I had a very accelerated experience as a working adult.”

Cassie Moore recording

She found herself helping to lead nearly 100 volunteers and 600 young people and their families. But her intense love of youth ministry motivated her to succeed.

“I thought this was the most important, critical work I could do in my life,” Moore says. “Not just a phase to do youth group and be fun and silly, but the most important work of my life — caring for this generation, being there in difficult times.”

Invitations to write articles for Lutheran publications came in, and this turned into recurring articles and a youth ministry column. Then speaking requests ramped up, and soon Moore had published a book on youth ministry through Concordia Publishing House, while contributing chapters to other books and curriculum projects. S. Eric Dunn, DCE at Trinity Lutheran Ministries in Edwardsville, Illinois, worked with Moore at a National Youth Gathering and calls her “a voice for this generation within our church body.”

Much of her writing and speaking was born from first-hand knowledge of Gen Z, a group roughly spanning ages 10 to 25. This generation tends to enjoy sharing their feelings and opinions on virtually everything. As perhaps the first all-digital generation, their baby pictures are all online rather than in print. They also suffer more than their share of anxiety and worry, especially about money and careers, Moore says.

“It has been a worrisome trend to see how anxious they have grown up to be,” Moore says. Suicide in particular weighs on many young people like a dark blanket. “I counsel on it once a month at least,” Moore says.

In so doing, she has developed an eye for people who are hurting: an “off” post on social media, or something almost imperceptible in a gesture or word. Moore has twice intervened based on these cues and intercepted a suicide plan.

Sometimes, the texts she receives at midnight are from perfect strangers — a friend of a friend who is desperate for help or encouragement. “It’s the frontlines,” Moore says. “They’ll give a friend my number and say, ‘Call her.’ That phone call can change or save a life.”

Gen Z young people are also passionate about doing good. “They have a genuine love of other people and are motivated to help people across the world,” Moore says.

Cassie Moore reading to children

Marenda Macking, a sophomore in the DCE program at CUI, was in Moore’s youth group and women’s Bible study in St. Peters- burg, Florida. Today, she is following Moore’s example in ministry by attending CUI.

“She totally changed my mind about religion class, which had a huge influence on the rest of my life,” Macking says. “Realizing Christianity is super-interesting. It’s not just a class; it’s your life.”

Moore, she says, “can engage with any person and make them feel accepted and loved. With her you always have a great conversation.”

Today, Moore is the director of Next Generation Ministries at St. Mark Lutheran Church and School in Houston, with Rev. Matt Popovits, a popular speaker in Lutheran circles. St. Mark operates a school of 430 students and has an ethnically-diverse congregation.

“Our church is on fire with growth,” Moore reports, and says there has been a surge in baptisms, often several a month.

Moore oversees ministries to every age group from toddlers to young adults. Her team includes nearly 50 volunteer leaders, whom she trains, coordinates and works alongside. She continues to write articles and blog posts, and speak at events large and small throughout North America.

Working with students in their lows and their highs is “the most rewarding career I could imagine,” she says. “Seeing people grow up, and who they become and where God takes them — I have genuine excitement and joy in it.”


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