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

You Lost Me by David Kinnaman
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Jun 09, 12

Read from March 01 to June 09, 2012

I enjoyed this book and it will definitely influence my personal evangelism and discipleship.

Strengths:
- Amazing data. Kinnaman lives and works with statistics and it shows. Hits book convinced me more than ever before that there is a meaningfully significant religious gap among people my age.
- Valid analysis. Unlike Ken Ham's Already Gone, the conclusions Kinnaman draws are generally spot-on. I particularly appreciated his fair, balanced analysis of generation gap, recognizing that it happens but not capitulating to it either. He suggests a biblically accurate corrective - we need each other and should be cultivating mutually challenging relationships with discipleship from older believers to younger.

Weaknesses:
- Underweighting the family. Ham wants to say that we lost our kids because we didn't teach young- earth creationism. Kinnaman is concerned about doing church better. Both conclusions make sense if you understand what they do. Kinnaman is definitely closer to the truth, but I do think our families is probably where it starts. Until parents are exemplifying truly gospel-inspired and gospel dictated lives, kids won't stick with us, no matter what our churches do.
- Too open. Kinnaman purposefully writes to a large audience, including both evangelicals and Catholics. The 50 suggestions at the end include some interesting characters. It would be nice if the viewpoint were a little more conservative but that could be said of most books.

My biggest concern: I'm not against being strategic in our awareness of what's happening or attempts to respond. But our ultimate confidence for the future of the church must always be in the power of the preached Word and the conviction of the Spirit. I think Kinnaman does a good job of drawing us back to biblical correctives for the patterns of depravity appearing in the church. I would be a little concerned, however at some readers might interpret this as a guide for "doing church" more strategically and that is all. This book will help you the most if you read the data, let it introduce you to the problem before us, and then let it drive you to faithful Christian living built on the foundation of the proclaimed word.

In summary, I loved the data, was helped by the analysis, and I thought some of the suggestions were useful.

Random thoughts:

22 - the ages 18-29 are the black hole of church attendance. This is when the fewest Americans are currently involved.
25 - categorizes into nomads (not in church but consider themselves Christians), prodigals (completely abandoned faith) and exiles (still involved but feel stuck or lost between church and culture. They try to be Christian outside of the institutional church.) Most are nomads or exiles.
30 - "Young adults are digital natives immersed in a glossy pop culture that prefers speed over depth, sex over wholeness and opinion over truth. But it is not enough for the faith community to run around with our hair on fire, warning about the hazards of cultural entrapment. God's children in the next generation need more and deserve better."
34 - "[Your children] are going to break your heart. Somehow. Somewhere. Maybe more than once. To become a parent is to promise you'll love prodigals." James K. A. Smith
37 - every single generation (the four since my grandparents) describes themselves with the word "smarter."
43 - "The typical American consumes 34 gigabytes of data per day, an increase of 350 percent over 30 years ago." Intense.
48 - In 1960, 5 percent of live births were to unmarried women compared to 41 percent in 2010.
44-51 - the dynamics evident in the Mosaics started much earlier with the Boomers and a secularism trend in the US.
54-55 Mosaics don't know or like Warren, Hybels, Osteen. The most liked (Graham) is still below Paris Hilton and most other major actors /pop stars in approval ratings from Mosaics. The slope in decline in approval of evangelical leaders from the elders and Boomers down to the Mosaics is incredible.
69 - nomads are 4 times more common than prodigals. Often we think people have left faith but they are only on pause - nomads.
70 - about 11 percent of people raised as Christians turn to another faith or drop their Christianity entirely (prodigals). About 4 percent of people come to Christianity as adults from another faith they were raised with.
84 - sociologist Robert Wuthnow calls Mosaics a generation of "spiritual tinkerers."
85-86 - completely distorts the story of Daniel to make him a total cultural accommodationist and an exile!
92-93 - Six reasons Mosaics drop out and things the church should evaluate about itself.
1. Overprotective. How can the church peel back the tamper resistant safety seal, making space for imaginative risk-taking and creative self-expression, traits that are so valued within the next generation?
2. Shallow. How can the church nurture a deep, holistic faith in Christ that encompasses every area of life?
3. Anti-science. How can the Christian community help the next generation interact with science positively and prophetically?
4. Repressive. How can the church contextualize its approach to sexuality and culture within a broader vision of restored relationships?
5. Exclusive. How can the Christian community link the singular nature of Christ with the radical ways in which He pursued and included outsiders?
6. Doubtless. How can the Christian community help this generation face their doubts squarely and integrate their questions into a robust life of faith?
103 - strange analysis of why some young artists want to go mainstream.
117 - most ads feature 20 somethings even though they sell to a broad market. Maybe it makes them narcissistic. Maybe it implies that older people are irrelevant.
122 - why are teens and young adults relegated from contributing to the life of the church?
123 - "Parents who ask little of their children in terms of faith formation, but a great deal in terms of, say, getting into a good college, make a statement about priorities which their children trust and follow."
127 - our discipleship is weakened when we fail to connect faith to real life in all the disciplines and aspects of living today.
140 - 50 percent of mosaics want to enter a science career. But only 1 percent of pastors have addressed any science issues from the pulpit in the last year.
147- his dad wasn't afraid to let him read books that challenged the Christian worldview and that helped him.
152 - evangelical teens and young adults are very close to national norms on extramarital sex.
153-55 - our grabdparents dealt with sexuality by forbidding any talk about it. The boomers brought it out and made sex all about me and my fulfillment.
159 - the book "real sex" tries to offer a biblical narrative for sex.
177 - Mosaics are reluctant to witness but want to be doers. So they Tend to focus on causes or social justice. The concern is that this might replace giving the gospel.
201 - three take away insights: 1) the church needs to reconsider how we make disciples, 2) we need to rediscover Christian calling and vocation, 3) we need to reprioritize wisdom over information as we seek to know God.

Check out Neuhaus and Brueggemann on modern exiles.
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