Daniel Threlfall's Reviews > You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church... and Rethinking Faith

You Lost Me by David Kinnaman
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's review
Jan 02, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011
Read on December 08, 2011

When a book is packed with numbers, statistics, and solid research data, you should do two things:

1. Buy it and read it, because research is long, hard, and expensive work.

2. Be skeptical, because statistics are slithery things.

David Kinnaman, President of the Barna Group, dishes up some discoveries in this book, hashes through some explanations, and proposes some solutions. As you read the book, you will encounter some thought-generating statistics, and work through some startling findings. The subtitle sums up the book: "Why young Christians are leaving the church...and rethinking faith."

Ten-Second Skinny on You Lost Me

Part 1 describes the problem of young people leaving the church. Part 2 explains why they left. Part 3 tries to piece together a way forward—a solution, if you will.

One-Minute Overview

In the first section of the book, Kinnaman classifies today's church-leaving generation, the "Mosaics," into three main groups: Nomads, Prodigals, and Exiles. He describe how these young people leave the church, the faith, and/or the Christian community. Some spring away, some drift away, and some just slowly back out as they face the perplexing questions of life.

In part two, Kinnaman dives into the heart of the issue. Why are they leaving? Here's where you're bound to agree, disagree, weep, laugh, become angry, flustered, overjoyed, and anxious all at the same time. In my opinion, this is the most valuable section of the book, simply because it forces you to stop and think...hard.

Part three is an attempt at a solution. As can be expected, there is no easy solution to such a ginormous problem. Kinnaman's humility is evident in his acceptance of this fact. He assembles fifty thinkers, movers, shakers, and just ordinary people to chime in on the discussion in the last chapter. Each of them suggests a way to reach and/or connect with the younger generation. There are some real gems in those final pages. (As well as some real duds.)

Parting Shots and Thoughts

If I had to describe this book in two words, it would be "thought provoking." Yeah, I know that's kind of cliché. Kinnaman, because of his position as president of a information organization,  is wrapped up in a world of research and numbers. For that reason, you should listen to the numbers and try to learn from them. In spite of (or rather, because of) his research-oriented occupation, Kinnaman is not disconnected from the Christian/cultural/religious scene. He's really in tune. So, when Kinnaman weaves his personal positions, feelings, and reflections throughout the research, he is worth listening to. Either way, the book will leave you wondering, and thinking.

That's a good thing.
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Jonathan currently reading this and finding Kinnaman's analysis of the research to resonate with my experience, both personally and as I interact with teens.

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