Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Churches in Disconnect: A Review of You Lost Me by David Kinnaman

Barna Group president David Kinnaman has written one of the most important and most well-thought-out books on what the church of Jesus Christ is supposed to look like. In YOU LOST ME, Kinnaman writes as a reaearcher who cares deeply about the church and the 60-80% of young people who are leaving it as soon as high school is over.

Based on Barna Group's research, Kinnaman takes us on a moving journey through the reasons 18 to 29 year olds who are disconnecting from involvement in the church. What Kinnaman reveals are people who have questions and who often care very deeply about their faith in God and want to be a part of a faith community, but they're not finding it. Instead, they're finding churches that espouse a faith that seems disconnected from the rest of their lives. These churches seem ill-equipped to connect a generation of young people that are part of a culture that is vastly different than cultures of the past. What has always worked isn't working anymore, and the church is losing many people who are vital to the Body and Bride of Christ and its impact in the world.

Kinnaman labels three different types of young people who are disconnecting from the church-Nomads, Prodigals, and Exiles. The chapters describing these people are very thought-provoking and will probably resonate with church practitioners in the 18 to 29 age range. I know it did for me.

Kinnaman walks us through the six reasons 18 to 29 year olds are disconnecting. They are finding the church to be:
Overprotective-"The church is seen as a creativity killer where risk taking and being involved in culture are anathema."
Shallow-"Easy platitudes, proof texting, and formulaic slogans have anesthetized many young adults, leaving them with no idea of the gravity and power of following Christ."
Antiscience-"[S]cience seems accessible in a way that the church does not; science appears to welcome questions and skepticism, while matters of faith seem impenetrable."
Repressive-"Sexuality creates deep challenges for the faith development of young people."
Exclusive-"[Young adults] have been shaped by a culture that esteems open-mindedness, tolerance, and acceptance."
Doubtless-"[Young adults] do not feel safe admitting that faith doesn't always make sense."

Kinnaman describes six turns that these reasons provide opportunities for churches to reconnect young adults to the church:
• Discernment
• Apprenticeship
• Stewardship
• Relational
• Embrace
• Doing

Kinnaman's suggested solutions for young adult connection are biblical and provide hope for a church that is deeply impactful to the world around it.

Kinnaman closes out the book with some insightful thoughts on generational connections in the church and a return to the concept of vocation. Finally, the book includes ideas for connection from some great thinkers, both well-known and not so well-known.

YOU LOST ME is a vital book for church leaders, youth ministry and young adult leaders and parents of teens and young adults.

I received this book for free for review from Baker Books

What ideas do you have to keep young adults connected to the church?

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