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You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church... and Rethinking Faith

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Close to 60 percent of young people who went to church as teens drop out after high school. Now the bestselling author of "unChristian" trains his researcher's eye on these young believers. Where Kinnaman's first book "unChristian" showed the world what outsiders aged 16-29 think of Christianity, "You Lost Me" shows why younger Christians aged 16-29 are leaving the church and rethinking their faith.
Based on new research, "You Lost Me" shows pastors, church leaders, and parents how we have failed to equip young people to live "in but not of" the world and how this has serious long-term consequences. More importantly, Kinnaman offers ideas on how to help young people develop and maintain a vibrant faith that they embrace over a lifetime.

254 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2011

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David Kinnaman

26 books70 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 225 reviews
Profile Image for Daniel Threlfall.
122 reviews23 followers
January 3, 2012
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.
Profile Image for Ross Blocher.
429 reviews1,358 followers
December 1, 2012
The author kindly sent me a signed copy of this book after I participated in a companion video series to the book (http://youlostmebook.com/). "You Lost Me" is about people like me - the younger generation that has been leaving the Christian church in droves. Kinnaman's job as head of the Barna Research Group makes him uniquely qualified to talk about the statistics of belief, and he states from the start that 59% of young people (age 18-29) leave the church.

He breaks these wanderers down into three groups: nomads (while nominally still Christian, they no longer participate in the church or make faith a priority), exiles (Christian, but unhappy with the restrictions and judgment of the church, seeking a new mode in which to spread the gospel), and prodigals (no longer consider themselves to be Christians, having embraced another faith or no faith). I fall within the latter group, though I hardly appreciate the word "prodigal" with its connotations (nay, definitions) of recklessness and wastefulness. He is of course referring to the Parable of the Prodigal Son, but that makes the comparison no less offensive and inapt. The two prodigal subgroups are the heart-driven (upset by their treatment within the church, let down by God) and the head-driven (motivated by intellectual pursuit). This makes me a head-driven prodigal in Kinnaman's parlance, as I left the church at the age of 21 when I found the beliefs themselves to be incorrect.

The book presents findings from many of the Barna Research Group's surveys, putting numbers to the sentiments that have motivated the "Mosaic" generation (18-29 year olds) to lose confidence in the church. It also outlines fundamental aspects of younger culture that put Mosaics at odds with the old-fashioned approaches of traditional churches. Kinnaman provides a series of recommendations and guidelines that are impressive only in their calculated vagueness. He continually shies away from making pointed pronouncements, opting instead to identify opposite extremes that the church should avoid. Somehow, Jesus will magically present a solution in the middle of those extremes if everyone remains faithful. The answer to preventing people from leaving the church is to instill them with more genuine faith, improve discipleship, inspire vocation, read the Bible more closely, embrace questions (but not encourage too much doubt!), and a bunch of other broadly-stated directives. I found the continual lack of specificity somewhat maddening.

The book ends with opinions from various leaders within the Christian community. At least they have some specific recommendations, but Kinnaman introduces them at arm's length with a disclaimer that he doesn't agree with all of their ideas.

Nowhere does the book allow for even the remote possibility that some people are leaving the church because the teachings of Christianity are untrue and fail the test of representing reality. In the age of the Internet, perhaps more people are just coming to realize that. I predict this trend will continue, and the church will continue to lose members no matter how much it tries to inspire discipleship or connect itself with everyday life. While I applaud many aspects of the church (community outreach, charitable giving, fostering relationships), none of the good things in life require one to believe things not supported by evidence. I feel this book misses that completely, rallying a new generation to funnel more effort into an endeavor that deserves to fade away.
Profile Image for Eddie Lutz.
11 reviews3 followers
May 27, 2012
Highly disappointed in this book.

First... the few things that I appreciated. 1) good cultural analysis. I think he rightly identifies the influences on what he terms the Mosaic generation. 2) late in the book he points out a problem with how we segregate ages in the church, and how that is a huge factor that contributes to youth walking away from the faith. I've been preaching this for years. Wish someone would listen.

Second, what I didn't appreciate:

1) The book title itself "You Lost Me!" points a finger and abdicates responsibility. I'll give him a pass on that if he thinks it is a clever title that articulates the Mosaic mindset. That said, the attitude is part of the problem.

2) The book is filled with compromise to the culture. His solutions (which are vague) bow to the cultural whim and have no basis whatsoever in Scripture. The power of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of prodigals, exiles, and nomads is not even mentioned.

3) Strawman arguments. Kinnamon creates strawman arguments to attack. This is especially true in his chapters on science and on sexuality. He creates a caricature that has no real basis in reality, and uses that caricature as the enemy. While he takes a few stabs at young earth creationism, he doesn't really address it. In the same way he brings up the issue of homosexuality, but avoids a real discussion in a cowardly way. Again, at no point does he really deal with "what does God's Word actually say" on those issues.

"You Lost Me" is, unfortunately, a great example of how research can be twisted and used to say what a researcher's presuppositions already want him to say.

Final analysis: skip this one. Not worth the read.

Profile Image for Jonathan.
19 reviews
January 5, 2012
I found that much of Kinnaman's data and analysis of it resonates with my experience--both personally, and in my understanding of the teens in my youth group. The categories he proposes for people leaving the church (nomads, prodigals and exiles) are very broad, and their appellations can be confusing or misleading unless you read carefully how he defines them.

Overall, I found the book very helpful for the following reasons (non-exhaustive, random order):

1. Careful processing of tons of data into manageable categories and understanding.
2. Humble approach to generational differences
3. Helped answer a big question I had before I read the book: Is the movement of my generation just part of the normal (historical) ebb and flow of generational differences, or is there something unique and unprecedented in the direction that this generation is taking? Kinnaman says yes and gives reasons.
4. The things Kinnaman believes the church needs to do in response seem to make sense Biblically.

Here's one way I think the book could be more helpful. Some statements throughout the book makes me think that Kinnaman does not have an unswerving grasp of the mission of the church on earth (e.g., should the church try to "redeem culture?" If so, what is "redeemable" and what should be rejected outright? In my opinion, giving a Biblical definition of what a church is and it's overarching mission would help clarify the validity of some of Kinnaman's conclusions.
Profile Image for Ryan.
100 reviews5 followers
August 8, 2012
This book was a very mixed read. Kinnaman offers an incredible amount of statistical research connected to the evangelical church and its numbers. It is a huge resource for any pastor, educator, or church goer interested in recent generations, and the research itself was wonderful. But the theology presented was questionable. Clearly, being from the Barna Group, his theology was going to be very conservative, and I am alright with conservative. But when it begins excluding Christians from the faith, it becomes an issue not of conservative or not, but of good or bad theology (for me at least). In describing the trends of people's faith he lists three general categories: Nomads, Prodigals, and Exiles. Nomads consider themselves as Christians but not church goers. Prodigals once had an active, real faith, but for various reasons walked away from it. Exiles are still Christians and very invested in Christianity, but feel stuck between church and culture. For one, this draws stark barriers between sacred/secular, church/culture, grace/nature. His treatment of exiles are as though they need to come back to the fold, when perhaps they are calling the fold to expand their ministries of love into the wider culture. Perhaps the Exiles are showing that Christ occasionally works outside the church walls. Excellent resource, not very good theology
Profile Image for Bob.
1,815 reviews616 followers
December 18, 2013
David Kinnaman's book You Lost Me is based on extensive Barna Research exploring the reasons a number of Millenials (or Mosaics as Kinnaman likes to call them) have left the church. The book is useful for four areas of exploration.

The first is that of generational distinctions. Kinnaman sees three qualities that mark this generation: access to information, alienation from societal structures and skepticism toward authority. Of these I thought the first the most unique--certainly Boomers experienced alienation and skepticism of authority during the Vietnam and Watergate eras--they may just have forgotten. Information access is different--youth can fact check a sermon on their smart phone during the service!

The second is his discussion of three ways of being lost--as nomads, prodigals, and exiles. Nomads have left church but not faith. Prodigals have turned from the faith. Exiles are more complicated. They believe, sometimes passionately, but struggle when they don't find that passionate belief embraced by the church or hamstrung by cultural barriers.

The third is reasons he sees for disconnection. These include six factors: overprotectiveness, shallowness, anti-science attitudes, repressiveness, exclusiveness, and intolerance of doubt. One thing I wonder is whether those who lead such churches have just forgotten what it was like to be young and to struggle with questions, impulses, and an intolerance of hypocrisy. Most of us would have been put off by the same kinds of churches, I think, in our youth.

Finally, he explores how the church can reconnect and I was grateful that the answers he proposed were not slick techniques but a return to basics (maybe a form or repentance?): reconsidering how we make disciples, rediscovering the idea of calling and vocation, and prioritizing wisdom over information. The book concludes with ideas from fifty church leaders. This last seemed uneven and superfluous to me. I think the book would have been stronger with just Kinnaman's concluding chapter.

My son and I, with guest posts from one of his friends who would say he has left the church, have posted a series of blogs as part of a conversation between generations around the ideas of this book. If you have missed them, here is a complete set of the links to our posts in the order they appeared:

http://rtrube54.wordpress.com/2013/11... This is the post that gave us the ideaa for the conversation.












Profile Image for Kenneth Garrett.
Author 3 books18 followers
May 7, 2012
Nothing too earth-shattering, here, and a bit of intimidation-by-polls, numbers, and by simply no longer being hip. And, the subtitle, "rethinking faith" seems trite. The book lends itself to developing ministries that will attract visitors based on appealing to their personal tastes in worship style, music, location, etc., rather than the often terrifying prospect of committing to the preaching and living out of the gospel itself, and then trusting God to bring whomever He will to a particular ministry.
Profile Image for Bob Buice.
113 reviews
October 21, 2015
A number of studies have suggested that teenagers are some of the most religious Americans, while young adults – in their twenties - are the least religious. Moreover young adults are more likely to believe that Jesus sinned, to doubt His miracles, and to question the resurrection. In “You Lost Me – Why Young Christians Are Leaving the Church”, David Kinnaman offers additional though incomplete, research on this topic. He divides those young people who have left the church into Nomads – who leave the church but remain Christian, Prodigals – who completely lose their faith, and Exiles – who feel trapped between culture and church.
Most Nomads, Kinnaman writes, are disenchanted with religion on some level but they have not cut all ties that bind them to Christianity. Prodigals consists of young people who leave their childhood or teen faith entirely. Exiles are those who become agnostics, atheists, or change to another faith.

Kinnaman’s research revealed a number of reasons, many of which are across categories, for this occurrence. The church kills creativity, the church is boring, the church is anti-science, the church avoids reality, the church is too controlling, etc.

Then Kinnaman proposes ways to counter this departure from the faith. He indicates that, “I think the next generation’s disconnection stems ultimately from the failure of the church to impart Christianity as a comprehensive way of understanding reality and living fully in today’s culture”.
• Those who have specific gifts and abilities in the sciences appear to be some of the most likely to struggle with their faith.
• We need to develop young leaders who can capably serve in science, but not be so habituated to scientism that faith becomes untenable.
• If we are to be shapers of culture, rather than blind consumers of it, we must prepare our young people to be in-but-not-of science.

As I see it – we should let science be science & faith be faith. Science involves observation, hypothesis formulation, hypothesis testing, and establishment of theory when the hypothesis is confirmed by existing evidence. Faith cannot be tested by evidence.

Overall, Kinnaman’s research is very good. He clearly identifies reasons why young adults leave the faith. However, some of his proposed solutions miss the point.

There are other reasons why young people and people in general either leave the church or fail to ever attend church. I will build my critique around Item 1 from Kinnaman’s list of IDEAS FOR EVERYONE in Chapter 12.

1. First, Be Honest

Alright let’s be honest. Religion tends to approach the scriptures using a very dishonest and contradictory approach.
• The crucifixion and resurrection are described in each of the 4 gospels. However, the stories are very different – In the synoptic gospels, Jesus is crucified on the day of Passover. In The Gospel According to St. John, He is crucified on the day before Passover. The empty tomb is discovered by different people in different gospels.
• The church teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman. However King Soloman had 700 wives and 300 mistresses. According to the author of the Gospel According to St. Matthew, this did not change in the Christian canon. - Matthew 5:18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. (NRSV)
• The virgin birth was not mentioned by Paul, writing between 50 & 64, or Mark, writing between70 & 80 of the common era. It was first mentioned in the 9th decade with the Gospel According to St. Matthew & later in the Gospel According to St. Luke. In the first century it was believed that a woman contributed nothing to the body of the child. Accordingly, by having the Holy Spirit as the father, Christ was born without human sin. With the advent of genetics in the 18th century, the purpose of the virgin birth became moot.
• The two Christmas stories, Matthew and Luke, are totally different and conflicting stories (Herod mentioned in Matthew actually died in 4 BCE. The Census of Quirinius mentioned in Luke occurred in 6 and 7 CE, 10 years after Herod’s death). There was no manger in the Matthew account and no Wise Men in the Luke story, yet we place the two together in our nativity scenes.
• Kinnaman says “The apostle John wrote, “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. . . . And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave” (1 John 2: 15– 17 NLT)”.

It is well known among scholars that the Apostle John did not write the Gospel According to St. John. The Apostle John was a fisherman from Galilee who spoke Aramaic and very probably could not read or write (only 1% of the population could read and 0.1% could write). The gospel was written anonymously in highly polished Hellenistic Greek. The fictitious St. John the Evangelist was added later by the church.

There are many more examples I could cite. So many times in teaching the church Adult Class I hear, “I never heard that before“. Most clergy were exposed to the above points in their seminary training, yet they never mention them to their congregations. Why are the congregations kept ignorant of scripture? Moreover some clergy adjust the interpretation to make scripture consistent with a preconceived point. Why don’t we simply teach the truth about the scripture? If we did, fewer people would be shocked when they learn the truth. Perhaps fewer people would lose their faith when they do advanced study of the scripture.

I could go on – I have much more to add - but my review is becoming too lengthy.

I will simply say that the book was well written, well researched, and interesting. However, I feel that there is more to the issue than Kinnaman’s research found.
Profile Image for J.S. Park.
Author 11 books122 followers
January 9, 2012
David Kinnaman has written an incredibly honest, important work that conveys the monumental changes in a post-Christian culture where the new generation is telling the church, "You lost me." He has compiled all the common reasons why the youth and young professionals are exiting the church doors. From interviews, research, and personal experience, Kinnaman makes clear the landmark at the crossroads of our faith, where we can choose to embrace the rapid shifts of our world while embracing the timeless truth of the Gospel, instead of choosing one at the expense of the other.

Six common complaints have been made by the three groups of church drop-puts -- prodigals, nomads, and exiles -- which are Overprotective, Shallow, Antiscience, Repressive, Exclusive, and Doubtless. Kinnaman is careful to present these claims in a nuanced, balanced, well-researched manner without compromising. He treads a fine line here between understanding the overwhelming grip of our interactive society while re-asserting the tenets of orthodox Christian faith. He is pliable where he needs to be but firm where the Word does not budge.

Kinnaman does this over and over in a tricky tightwire act where every story matters, where the church has mass-produced churchgoers instead of handcrafting disciples but where institutions are not all bad, where some of the complaints leveled at church must be confronted and not quickly dismissed. At times Kinnaman succeeds at holding these concepts in perfect tension, where other times he is a bit too open-ended without conviction. But he does a great and necessary job of opening the discussion for why the church is daily becoming less relevant to our youth.

Three of the complaints, Overprotective, Shallow, and Doubtless, are the most insightful. They manage to get right to the heart of inoculated churchgoers who have been disillusioned with safe answers and cliche slogans. There are no pat solutions to our deepest questions, and churches must be willing to struggle and fight side-by-side for the Gospel truth. Hard questions should be welcomed and explored and resolved together.

The book has some inherent weaknesses that are inevitable to such a work of its kind. Kinnaman fails to mention that even with the most open dialogue, interactive conversation, and cooperative attitudes, the church will still bleed members because many follow the broad road. Sometimes people just leave. Kinnaman at times places a huge unfair burden on ministry workers that must constantly innovate to "keep" churchgoers, and that's exhausting. I wish Kinnaman could have touched on the Spirit's work in this process, or at least relieve us of all responsibility for a church's perceived failure.

There's also an "insider's peek" into why people leave the church which is a fascinating view but a bit voyeuristic and too much curtain-pulling. Kinnaman constantly hammers, "This is why they're leaving," and some of it can harden the hearts of those who left. If I gave this book to a friend who has left the faith, he or she may reply "This is exactly why, so I'm justified." This is the opposite intent of the author but it can hardly be helped. Kinnaman could have made a better plea to those who have abandoned the church instead of focusing so much on how ministry workers can win them back. At times, not on purpose, there is an "ickiness" while reading. It does too much to justify those who have left.

Bottom Line: This is a crucial work for our generation who may have shut off the upcoming generation with overreacting, simplistic programs, and an insider-club mentality. Though Kinnaman observes a bit too much without offering more reflection, he has presented a fantastic study that should be read by every ministry worker for wisdom on dealing with today's culture.
Profile Image for Jordan Varey.
73 reviews
June 6, 2016
As a 30 year old Christian I am very interested in the topic of this book. According to the Barna group statistics there is a drop of 43 percent in church engagement amongst 18-29 year olds who once actively participated. When they leave they take their talent, enthusiasm, and constructive criticism with them. This is a palpable loss for those who remain. "These numbers represent about eight million twentysomething's who were active churchgoers as teenagers but who will no longer be particularly engaged in a church by their thirtieth birthday (22)."

I will spare you a long summary as other reviewers have provided for those elsewhere. I do want to mention a few things for my own memories sake. The main point people tend to criticize in the book is that Kinnaman assumes that young people leave church for every reason except a true de-conversion. He does not leave room for the possibility that people legitimately leave because they cannot believe in the religion anymore. Instead, he suggests that people cannot believe because the church has constructed barriers and has largely misunderstood the mosaic generation. New atheists especially may be offended by this oversight. I would argue that this was intentional as the book is framed for those in ministry hoping to improve the statistic rather than as an unbiased explanation of the phenomenon.

I found the book insightful and in tune with what I hear amongst my mosaic friends as criticisms of the institutional church. I also found hope in the fact that many of the 43 percent are not leaving Jesus. Some of these folks are seeking out alternative faith community and/or choosing to dwell on the margins of church life. I do not think this is necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps what we see as a hemorrhage of faith is actually a self-correction from within the Church community? Perhaps while Kinnaman is calling the older generation of leaders, in the institutional Church, to change, he is missing the significance of the younger generations leadership in alternative ways outside of established structures.

Kinnaman covers a lot of ground explaining mosaics and why they leave including technological culture shifts, the accessibility of knowledge, distrust of institution/ authority, a sense that church is overprotective, anti-creativity, and shallow, greater understanding of science, lack of challenge/empowerment in the church, etc.

If I were a pastor today I would want to read this book. As I look around myself in the pews I see the result of the problems Kinnaman presents. There are more and more young people leaving the institutional church and more stories of full de-conversion as well. I think Kinnaman does a good job of presenting the issues and hinting at solutions. It is up to churches to decide how they will deal with it if at all. If nothing is done the religious landscape will likely change dramatically in the next 10-20 years.
Profile Image for Colleenish.
655 reviews
November 3, 2015
I liked this book a very much. It talked about why young adults are leaving the church, something I personally know too much about. I thought that it helpfully put young adults in three categories: those who used to be Christians, but have renounced their faith; those who consider themselves Christians, but rarely go to church; and those who are still Christians and involved with faith communities, but feel exiled from the church.Although I think many young adults swing between these categories, I know people who would qualify in all three.

One of the main premises of the book is that the older and younger generations are different. Especially because of technology, the values and habits of the generations differ. Kinnaman rightly finds that one of the main answers is for the older generation to teach and apprentice those who are younger, in theology, careers, relationships, and life in general. That's right on.

Kinnaman's criticisms of both generations are tough to swallow. His research paints a picture of a relativistic and undisciplined younger generation, and a unhelpful and sometimes hypocritical younger generation.

This is a difficult issue, and I appreciate having it addressed. I feel like the Christian young adults that I know are crying out to be listened to, given advice, given friendship. I've seen so many people jump through hoops, and never find the approval and understanding that they are looking for.

The insight and advice in this book is solid. All Christians are called to the work of reconciliation. None of us can sit back and blame others. There's plenty to act on.
Profile Image for Louise.
Author 1 book6 followers
August 12, 2014
This book (on statistics, no less) made me mad and excited and terrifically engaged. Whether you are a Christian traditionalist or a Mosaic who has left the church behind or anyone in between, you will find some things here to challenge you. My favorite quote came in the final section of "ideas to find a generation." This was written by a college student asked what would help her re-engage with the Christian faith:

"I want you to be someone I want to grow up and be like. I want you to step up and live by the Bible's standards. I want you to be inexplicably generous, unbelievably faithful and radically committed. I want you to be a noticeably better person than my humanist teacher, than my atheist doctor, than my Hindu next door neighbor. I want you to sell all you have and give it to the poor. I want you to not worry about your health like you're afraid of dying. I want you to live like you actually believe in the God you preach about.

I don't want you to be like me; I want you to be like Jesus. That's when I'll start listening."
Profile Image for Peter.
60 reviews1 follower
October 25, 2015
You Lost Me functions admirably as a discussion starter and awareness raiser for those concerned with the immediate future of the church in reaching and ministering to the Millennial generation. The research is rigorous and applicable, but readers should be aware that Kinnaman is not claiming to have all the answers, but primarily trying to engage Christians in a discussion he believes is critical. He argues that my generation is more distinct from previous generations than other generations have been, and therefore depending on all the same systems and mindsets while only making slight adjustments will not be enough if the church is to be effective.

You may find some answers in this book, but being left with questions is more likely. That isn't a bad thing, as asking the right question is often more valuable to us than seeing someone else's answer.
Profile Image for Luke.
439 reviews13 followers
February 11, 2014
This is a wonderful book - very challenging, and yet not negative. It points out great opportunities and possibilities for new growth and reformation to enliven the church. Challenging in that is points out ways that the church has fallen short in creating disciples. People want so much more. I think everyone who cares about young people and who cares about the church should read this book.
Profile Image for Dennis Henn.
565 reviews1 follower
September 26, 2012
Offers some good ideas and explanations of trends. He agrees with at least one of my major complaints of church practice: the act of segregating everyone by age group. That is no way to do family or to provide mentoring or to provide a challenge to overripe traditions.
Profile Image for Jason Bruce.
4 reviews2 followers
October 7, 2012
Excellent book in understanding the young generation and the current state of Christian Churches. Challenging and thought provoking. Stats and findings are great conversation-starters.
Profile Image for Dave McNeely.
149 reviews8 followers
November 12, 2011
This book is very valuable and an interesting read, but Kinnaman's typology is a little thin. A great conversation starter, but could be better.
Profile Image for David Dominguez.
23 reviews2 followers
February 11, 2023
Sad information, but I feel more understanding of why so many young people drift away...
Profile Image for Andrew.
13 reviews3 followers
November 21, 2012
a necessary read for any working in an evangelical church.
Profile Image for Kristen.
7 reviews2 followers
July 22, 2013
I really liked this book, even if there was a perspective here and there that I didnt necessarily agree with. I found it honest and accurate to my experience with and among the Mosaic generation.
Profile Image for Joel Arnold.
66 reviews19 followers
June 9, 2012
I enjoyed this book and it will definitely influence my personal evangelism and discipleship.

- 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.

- 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.
Profile Image for Elbie S.
135 reviews
December 14, 2022
Wow! This book sparked some thoughts in me!

The authors explore statistical surveys and interviews conducted by the Barna Research Group that show reasons why a growing number of young adults in a generational group coined “Mosaics” are leaving church and/ or the Christian faith.

Mosaics who were raised in the Christian faith are divided into 3 subcategories:

* Nomads: Walk away from church engagement but still
consider themselves Christians.
* Prodigals: Lose their faith, describing themselves as “no
longer Christian.”
* Exiles: Still invested in their Christian faith but feel
(or lost) between culture and the church.

I am certain that some readers of this book will end up feeling depressed and fearful for the future of Christianity in light of the statistics and reasons given for why the Mosaics are leaving.

While I can empathize, I do not share that view.

1. God is bigger than any cultural trend. His kingdom will never fail. (Hebrews 12:28 / Luke 1:33 / Psalm 145:13 / etc, etc…)

2. God does not change (Hebrews 13:8). Throughout studies I’ve engage in over the past few years, I have seen over and over how God has been patient with each generation since the beginning of Creation (2 Peter 3:9 / Isaiah 55:8)

3. God is close to the broken-hearted. A majority of the Mosaics who leave cite hurts, inadequate answers to questions they deem important, and hypocrisy as their primary reasons (Psalm 34:18).

In some ways, I see the Mosaic generation as prophetic. Their leaving speaks volumes. Yes, one can point to many negative aspects concerning the group’s collective character, but the group also has collective strengths that reflect areas that the Church has not been strong in.

I am excited to see what God is working on in and through us as the Body. There is always a remnant. A people who hear God’s heart and choose to live sacrificially in order to partner with Him to bring about justice and restoration. I believe we, as a Church, are at an important crossroads in which we must determine the direction we will move to stay in step with the Spirit
Profile Image for Karl Mueller.
74 reviews1 follower
April 19, 2020
I should have read this book 9 years ago when it was first published. Having said that, I'm glad I read it during these past few days. Outside of some cultural references which date it, the book is still relevant to Christians and the church today. While David Kinnaman wrote the book to address issues of 18-29 year olds and Christianity back in 2011, I think that the principles, research and findings are as relevant today to not only 30-somethings in 2020, but also to a large extent to the "dones" ( the over 50's), who have left the church. Kinnaman identifies 3 groups of "mosaics" who have a tenuous relationship with Christianity and the Church. He talks about nomads, prodigals and exiles. As someone who is now in his 60's, I believe that these 3 categories of people exist in my generation, and that we struggle with the same issues that those Kinnaman describes relating to younger adults. Kinnaman not only explains his research, and identifies challenges, he also brings ideas and potential solutions to the problems he identifies. He puts these in 3 basic categories. First, we need to rethink how we make disciples. Second, we need to rediscover Christian vocation and calling and finally we need to prioritize wisdom over information. I totally agree that these are three areas that churches in North America have struggled with and need to seriously look at - not just for younger Christians, but also for those of us who are older. So - would I recommend this book even though it is 9 years old. I would heartily recommend it for those who are serious about thinking about issues facing the church in our ever changing culture.
Profile Image for Jeff Elliott.
310 reviews7 followers
July 4, 2014
Nothing I have read so far has helped me understand ministering to Millennials as well as this book. I like Kinnaman's "unchristian" but didn't find it necessarily helpful. This is the book I should have read.

Notable quotations:
p. 39-the transmission of faith from one generation to the next relies on the messy and sometimes flawed process of young people finding meaning for themselves in the traditions of their parents. Prodigals, nomads, and exiles all have to make sense of the faith conveyed to them through relationships and wisdom. But what happens when the process of relationships and the sources of wisdom change? What happens to the transference of faith when the world we know slips out from under our collective feet? We have to find new processes--a new mind--that make sense of faith in our new reality.

p. 42-There is something embedded in their digital DNA that seeks a platform for influence and advocacy.

p. 56-The changing spiritual narrative and the questions of authority it raises, are akin to the difficulties immigrant cultures have between generations. The first generation speaks only the language of the country of origin. The second generation is fluent in both languages. The third generation speaks only the new language and has little esteem for the cultural traditions that have been lost in translation.

p. 94-Once I hear present-day leader Jack Hayford observe that the younger generation needs the older generation to help them identify the voce of God, just as Samuel needed Eli to help him know God was calling him. Hayford also observed that helping in this way requires that we recognize, as Eli did, that God is speaking to the younger generation.
If you are a younger Christian, this means it's your turn to listen.
If you are a "well-established" believer, maybe it's time to trust in a deeper way the work of God within the next generation.

p. 103-This hopeful potential in the next generation also comes with a number of very real challenges. An aspiration to influence culture begs the question of how to embody in-but-not-of faithfulness, and how to deal with the poison pill of cultural accommodation that the pull toward mainstream influence makes available. Let me put it this way: gaining credibility for its own sake is vanity; gaining credibility to participate in God's work to redeem his world is a mission. I am concerned that too many Mosaic Christians are so interested in pursuing the good, the true, and the beautiful that they forget to acknowledge and draw near to the source of those pursuits--Jesus.

p.110-Cultural influencers embrace risks for the sake of the gospel, but I am concerned that many in the next generation do not fully appreciate the importance of holiness and obedience. It is right for young Christ-followers to pursue lives of mainstream influence, yet its dangerous--and not in the good way--to do so without understanding our culture's powers of seduction.
We must steer young cultural influencers away from the temptation to measure their faithfulness, personal worth, effectiveness, or giftedness by the level of mainstream acceptance they achieve. When the world's standards become the yardstick, Christians with the best of intentions cave to the pressure to cut corners, cheat just a little, lie to protect their reputation, take a favor under the table, ignore the marginalized to please the in-crowd, or blow by their own boundaries of behavior--all to measure up to society's standards. Gaining credibility with the world must never become more important than obedience to God.

p. 115-Quoting Christian Smith & Melinda Lundquist Denton's book Soul Searching:
They famously label the religion of today's young Americans as moralistic therapeutic deism, vividly described like this: "God is something like a combination of Divine Butler and Cosmic Therapist: he is always on call, takes care of any problems that arise, professionally helps his people to feel better about themselves, and does not become too personally involved in the process."

p. 207-For me, frankly, the most heartbreaking aspect of our findings is the utter lack of clarity that many young people have regarding what God is asking them to do with their lives. It is a modern tragedy. Despite years of church-based experiences and countless hours of Bible-centered teachin, millions of next-generations Christians have no idea that their faith connects to their life's work. They have access to information, ideas, and people from around the world, but no clear vision for a life of meaning that makes sense of all that input.

p. 208-We need new ways of measuring success. If you are in church ministry, one metric of success might be to help young people make one or two relational connections, younger to older, that lead to significant mentoring bonds that will last for several years. These relationships would not be solely focused on spiritual growth, but should integrate the pursuit of faith with the whole life. What would it look like to begin measuring things like teens' and young adult' knowledge of and love for Scripture, their clarity about their gifts and vocation, their willingness to listen to the voice of God and follow his direction, the fruits of the Spirit in their lives, and the depth and quality of their love and service to others?
Profile Image for Alan Calvillo.
71 reviews1 follower
November 26, 2022
This book has resonated with me in many ways. I've left church from one and a half years ago now as a consequence of many issues like the following (not an exhaustive list, though):
•Refuse to deal with complex doubts
•Power struggles in the local church
•Archaic schedules and (seemingly) Outdated processes that feel like the priority is to be on the top of the ladder.
•Lack of possible direct interactions with the leaders (following the masses discipleship mindset where people are just observers)

These issues appear to be prevalent beyond my local community, and it seems to be a problem of the larger American Christian culture.

To read the effort of the author to untangle the problem and not oversimplify it (as many leaders do), helped to understand my feelings and frame them in actual complaints. Of course, the purpose is not only to complain, but to find the root of what's causing this and to rethink how we approach and practice our faith in order to avoid it.
Profile Image for Harold Cameron.
142 reviews16 followers
September 6, 2012
The book, You Lost Me – Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…And Rethinking Faith written by the President of the Barna Group and author David Kinnaman is sobering and sad to read but it must be read. We can not ignore the truth and reality written of in this book in the hopes that the problem will either somehow miraculously resolve itself or simply go away. The issue or problem WILL NOT miraculously just be fixed like it were a broken gas line on our automobile nor will it just go away, but the young people who feel disillusioned, disenfranchised or marginalized with our faith will go away and continue to do so in numbers until those of us who are supposed to know better as we are older, wiser and more mature in our faith do the Biblical thing – that is the Godly-God-like thing and go after them as the Shepherd does the one lost sheep and lovingly and carefully carry them back into the flock, (the church).

In the book unChristian, co-written with Gabe Lyons, author Kinnaman examined the reasons why young non-Christians were rejecting the faith and shared insights as to the changing “reputation of Christians, especially evangelicals in our society. That book focuses on the perceptions and priorities of young non-Christians, or outsiders, as the authors called them.”

His book, You Lost Me, takes a look at those young people who are considered as “insiders” and their perceptions of the church and the faith. What is revealed about this group of young people in his book is shocking, sobering and staggering even, and should drive us as Christ followers to our knees in prayer that God would so transform our lives and so help us communicate the message of the gospel that these young people would want to be a part of our community of believers known as “the church,” rather than leaving it for what they perceive as something better.

In You Lost Me, author Kinnaman writes about what he refers to as the “dropouts,” that group of “twentysomethings” or “Mosaics” as they are also referred to in the book; (the author defines Mosaics as those born 1984 through 2002, (ages 18-29); many of today’s teenagers and twentysomethings, often referred to as Millennials or Gen Y. And the Barna group uses Mosaics because it reflects their eclectic relationships, thinking styles, and learning formats, among other things)., who are leaving the church. According to the research conducted and published in the book, there is a generation of millions of young people who are defecting from the church and going elsewhere to find that it is they think they are looking for. It reminds me of the title of the song, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” by the band U2. And these Mosaics referred to in the book are in that position. They have not found what they are looking for.

The book reveals how the church has not done its job at teaching and preparing this group of young people how to live as Christians in this post modern era being Christ followers in a time of unprecedented change, uncertainty and confusion. Author Kinnaman paints the picture clearly as to what the church can expect in the future if we as true Christ followers maintain our current positions and keep doing the same old things the same old ways. The logical end will be more of the same old results and that will be even more Mosaics leaving the church and the true Biblical faith.

But according to the book there is yet reason to hope. All is not yet lost. There is good news! The author sought out ideas and wisdom from church leaders such as Francis Chan, Shane Claiborne, John Ortberg, Sara Groves and others as to how we can reconnect with the Mosaics and communicate our faith with them in an exciting, meaningful and relational way which in turn will get them “rethinking” their faith again and returning to the church as prodigals (like the prodigal son returned home to his father after he had spent all he had and had come to his senses – Luke 15:11-32). The chapter with their ideas included is entitled, “Fifty Ideas To Find A Generation.” And I want to be right there at the front door of the church welcoming them home to the welcome home celebration we will be holding to celebrate their return

So whether you are involved in full-time ministry in the church, a lay ministry through the local church, or are a teacher or parent you need to read this book so you can know what the problem is as well as how serious it is and what can be done to resolve it. The solution is all of us as Christ followers need to share our faith with the Mosaics through our lives in such a way as that it stirs up a passion inside of them to want to become committed followers of Christ themselves taking all their passion and emotion and investing it into a whole hearted following of Jesus Christ.

For more information about You Lost Me – Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church visit the Baker Publishing Group Company website.

I received a complementary copy of the book You Lost Me By Baker Publishing Group for reviewing the book.
Profile Image for Stephen Hiemstra.
Author 20 books34 followers
July 14, 2015
I dropped out of church when I went to college.

I was neither angry at God nor questioning his existence—
problems closer to home dominated my life:

• I felt lost when our church youth group vanished overnight after the youth director was sacked;
• I felt lost when I failed my college audition for music school;
• I felt lost when the Vietnam draft loomed over me and I had trouble explaining to my parents why fighting in an unethical war was wrong; and
• I felt lost in my singleness at a time when most of my peers were getting married.

In my junior year, my lostness gave way when I roomed with a persistent navigator who helped me re-engage with the church. This is when I realized that my relationship with God was separate from my relationship with the church. This realization helped me reconnect with God and begin to share my other feelings of lostness with friends in Christ.

In his book, You Lost Me, David Kinnaman describes today’s drop out problem as a “faith development” or “disciple-making” problem (21). Kinnaman classifies drop outs into 3 broad categories:

1. “Nomads [who] walk away from church involvement but still consider themselves Christians.”

2. “Prodigals [who] lose their faith, describing themselves as ‘no longer Christian’”.

3. “Exiles [who] are still invested in their Christian faith but feel stuck (or lost) between culture and the church” (25).

This drop problem is critical because the drop outs make most of their important decisions at a period in life (ages 20 to 30) when they have disengaged from their spiritual life in the church. Ironically, teenagers are some of the most religiously active Americans while 20-somethings are the least religiously active Americans (22).

Following George Barna, Kinnaman prefers the term, mosaic, and not the term, millennials, to describe this 20-something generation because of the eclectic (and often contradictory) nature of the relationships and the values that they purse (29). In this context, the catchphrase, “every story matters”, is helpful because generalizations about mosaics are misleading (25). Thus, Kinnaman is constantly highlighting the diversity among nomads, prodigals, and exiles even when he writes about these particular categories. This diversity often takes the form of stories and counter-stories.

Kinnaman sees 3 important areas where the church needs to fill gaps in disciple-making among mosaics (millennials) :

1. Relationships. Mosaics are both “extraordinarily relational and, at the same time, remarkably self-centered” (29). It is hard to work with other people when it’s all about me.

2. Vocation. Mosaics receive “little guidance from their church communities for how to connect these vocation dreams deeply with their faith in Christ”. Special problems arise with creatives (artists, musicians, filmmakers, etc) and scientists (29-30, 80-83).

3. Wisdom. Mosaics are inundated with information, but often lack the wisdom to filter through it (30-31).

Kinnaman sees the need to think of discipleship in terms of apprenticeship relationships where the uniqueness of the individual is both known and cherished (35).

David Kinnaman is the president and majority owner of the Barna Group , a private resource group in Ventura, California, which specializes in interviews and surveys on matters of faith. He is well-known as the co-author of unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity. You Lost Me is written in 12 chapters divided into 3 parts:

Part 1: Drop Outs
1. Faith, Interrupted,
2. Access, Alienation, Authority,
3. Nomada and Prodigals,
4. Exiles,

Part 2: Disconnection
5. Overprotective,
6. Shallow,
7. Anti-science,
8. Repressive,
9. Exclusive,
10. Doubtless,

Part 3: Reconnection
11. What’s Old is New
12. Fifty Ideas to Find a Generation (7).

The focus in part 1 is on mosaics, in part 2 on the church, and in part 3 on how to respond to what has been learned.

David Kinnaman’s You Lost Me is a well-written marketing study complete with statistical results, analysis, and recommendations. Kinnaman’s research is thorough and he displays a deep understanding of the literature on dealing with generational shifts in the church. My first response on finishing this book was to order his other book, UnChristian. Pastors and lay leaders need to be aware of this research.

Here in part 1 of this review, I have given an overview of Kinnaman’s book. In part 2, I will look in more depth at his discussion of mosaics and the 3 classes of drop outs. In part 3, I will explore his discussion of the challenges facing the church.

Parts 1, 2 and 3 will begin to appear on T2Pneuma.net starting on July 21 at 11 a.m.
Profile Image for Florian Serban.
11 reviews
March 19, 2020
You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church...and Rethinking Faith (Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 2011, 256 de pagini) este scrisă de David Kinnaman, președinte al Barna Group. În cartea sa din 2007 UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity...and Why It Matters, el răspunde unei întrebări acute a creștinismului american: de ce biserica nu mai este relevantă pentru tineri? Dacă în cartea UnChristian el abordează problema din perspectiva celor din afara ei sau outsiders, în cartea You Lost Me o abordează din pucntul de vedere al tinerilor dinăuntrul ei – insiders. Kinnaman examinează întrebarea: Cum Îl putem urma pe Isus și să îi ajutăm pe tineri să Îl urmeze într-o cultură aflată în continuă schimbare? El pleacă de la câteva presupoziții:
1. Implicarea tinerilor în biserică rămâne robustă, însă majoritatea tinerilor entuziaști din biserica nord-americană au devenit tineri adulți care au rămas credincioși în Hristos.
2. Sunt mozaici care părăsesc biserica în diferite moduri, precum și tineri adulți care nu o abandonează niciodată. Aceasta trebuie spus pentru a nu eticheta o generație întreagă; fiecare caz de renunțare la biserică necesită un răspuns specific cazului respectiv. Problema abandonului este în esență o problemă a felului în care are loc formarea ucenicilor creștini. Biserica nu îi pregătește în mod adecvat pe tinerii de astăzi să îl urmeze pe Hristos într-o cultură aflată într-o schimbare rapidă.
3. O persoană își pune bazele morale și spirituale de obicei înainte de vârsta de 13 ani, dar experimentează și testează aceste limite și relevanța acestor baze în anii adolescenței și ai tinereții adulte.
Sociologul face o diferențiere practică între:
1. Elders, născuți înainte de 1946 supranumiți și generația măreață sau Builders;
2. Boomers, născuți între 1946 și 1964, perioada creșterii demografice postbelice;
3. Busters, născuți între 1965 și 1983 sau generația X;
4. Mozaici, născuți între 1984 și 2002, caracterizați de relații, tipare de gândire, moduri de învățare eclectice, care îmbină după criterii proprii idei eterogene sau chiar opuse; în carte mai sunt numiți și generația următoare sau the next generation, generația care se ridică sau emerging generation, mileniali, generația Y, o generație de itineranți spiritual sau spiritual tinkerers, generația acordului tacit sau the great agreement generation – în defavoarea discutării diferențelor care poate duce la conflict, generația celor nativi din punct de vedere digital sau digital natives, tineri aflați între 18-29 de ani sau twentysomethings. În carte mozaicii sunt diferențiați în patru grupuri de inspirație biblică deoarece pentru sociolog ilustrează trei arhetipuri ale credinței:
a) Nomazi, tineri care consideră opțională implicarea activă într-o biserică, se consideră creștini, dar experimentează credințe sau practici spirituale noi;
b) Risipitori, persoane care au renunțat la credință în copilărie, au devenit atei, agnostici sau nu au afiliere denominațională și se consideră foști creștini;
c) Exilați, mozaici care se simt blocați între lumea confortabilă a bisericii și lumea din jur – fie că este vorba de lumea cinematografiei, științei, muzicii, televiziunii, armatei, academică și chiar a bisericii – o lume pe care se simt chemați să o schimbe. Ei sunt sceptici cu privire la instituții, deși nu întrerup legătura cu ele;
d) Tineri ce rămân implicați activ în lucrarea misionară a bisericii și care au un simțământ al apartenenței la aceasta.
Generația mozaicilor este diferită de cele anterioare din punctul de vedere al:
1. Accesului prin intermediul hardware și software la informații despre lume, idei și cosmoviziuni, entertainment, rețele de socializare. De aceea, creștinii adulți pot comunica în moduri semnificative pentru tineri pe aceste căi.
2. Înstrăinării de familie, absenței tatălui, căsătoriilor mixte și de același sex, amânării căsătoriei; înstrăinării de comunitățile tradiționale, prin alegerea unui parcurs al vieții din ce în ce mai eterogen și mai puțin omogen decât cel al generațiilor anterioare; și față de instituțiile tradiționale printr-o atitudine sceptică față de structurile educaționale, economice – mozaicii mai sunt numiți și generația pierdută din cauza ratei fără precedent a șomajului – , guvernamentale și culturale. Ruptura a fost inițiată de generația Baby Boomers a anilor 1960. Oportunitatea bisericii este aceea de a înlocui singurătatea și înstrăinarea lor cu dragoste și prin faptul de a fi pentru ei o comunitate a lui Dumnezeu.
3. Autorității prin scepticism față de Biblie și față de rolul creștinismului în cultura seculară dominantă. Liderii (in)formali ai bisericii au oportunitatea de a intra în dialog cu mozaicii avizi de informație, ascultându-i și dându-le răspunsuri relevante.
Kinnaman observă faptul că mozaicii nu pun accentul pe aptitudini ale logicii, analizei și structurii, specifice emisferei stângi, fapt ce caracteriza generațiile anterioare; ci apreciază și folosesc preponderent aptitudinile creativității, sintezei și empatiei, specifice emisferei drepte a creierului uman.
Biserica trebuie să regândească modul în care îi pregătește pe tineri să trăiască în contextul cultural actual și că trebuie să o facă în trei mari domenii:
1. Relațiile. Mozaicii sunt relaționali prin natura lor și mai ales cu prietenii sau peers indiferent de generație, etnie, religie, cultură, orientare sexuală, și sunt foarte egocentrici, dar simt nevoia de mentorat din partea unui adult apropiat pentru ca apoi să reușească în viață ei înșiși.
2. Vocația. Tinerii doresc să lucreze în știință, avocatură, mass-media, tehnologie, educație, poliție, armată, în domeniul artelor, afaceri, programare, marketing și publicitate, contabilitate, psihologie ș.a., dar nu știu cum să asocieze aceste domenii cu credința creștină. Din acest motiv, tinerii care au creativitate în muzică, arte vizuale și interpretare, producție de film, poezie și povestire părăsesc bisericile deoarece nu pot conecta darurile și impulsurile creative la cultura bisericii.
3. Înțelepciunea. Adulții au nevoie să regândească felul cum să ajute generația actuală să aprecieze înțelepciunea mai mult decât informațiile.
Motivele invocate pentru renunțarea la religia instituționalizată sunt acelea că biserica este:
1. Overprotective pentru că suprimă impulsurile spre creativitate și angajare în cultura contemporană; creștinii trebuie să îi abordeze cu discernământ, observând oportunitățile lor de a sluji în cultura dominantă, de a aborda oamenii ca pe ființe care au probleme existențiale profunde și care au nevoie de ajutor;
2. Shallow sau nu propovăduiește o credință profundă în Hristos și relevantă pentru lumea în care trăiesc și lucrează. Adulții creștini ar trebui să manifeste un interes concret față de tinerii mozaici prin a-i învăța ce înseamnă să fie ucenici în lume;
3. Antiscience sau biserica nu are răspunsuri relevante pentru problemele serioase pe care le pune lumea științei. Creștinii au nevoie cu toții, adulți și mozaici deopotrivă, să își găsească și să își folosească darurile spirituale date de Dumnezeu ca să se angajeze în dialogul științific și gândire critică constructivă;
4. Repressive sau nu poate intra în dialog cu privire la regulile ei, mai ales cele referitoare la sexualitate. Creștinii pot schimba această percepție respingând atât perspectiva tradiționalistă că sexul este tabu, cât și pe cea individualistă că sexul este o treabă strict personală, ci angajându-se într-un dialog umil care ține cont de starea decăzută a omului, un dialog despre poziția de egalitate a soților în căsătorie, orientare sexuală și intenția lui Dumnezeu cu privire la sexualitatea umană;
5. Exclusive sau incapabilă să tolereze și outsiders în rândurile ei. Ceea ce creștinii pot face este să îmbrățișeze perspectiva biblică cu privire la necreștini precum și la cei care nu practică o religie biblică, să trăiască un creștinism practic și să manifeste empatie față de ei;
6. Doubtless sau o biserică ce nu oferă un cadru în care îndoielile intelectuale, instituționale și într-o perioadă de tranziție a vieții cu privire la credință să fie exprimate și discutate. O soluție viabilă pe care biserica ar trebui să o ofere este să îi încurajeze pe cei care se luptă cu îndoielile spirituale să le contextualizeze la domeniile de misiune ale bisericii.
Potrivit lui Kinnaman, există creștini mozaici care sunt implicați mai mult sau mai puțin în biserica lor și care regândesc credința în moduri care să fie relevante pentru cultura contemporană. Ei caută căi să trăiască în lume, dar să nu fie parte din lume – in the world but not of the world (cf. Ioan 17).
El propune ca formarea tinerilor creștini de către biserică să fie bazată nu pe mass production, ci pe formarea de ucenici de maniera handmade, investind în fiecare relație în parte. El propune liderilor să cunoască îndeaproape această generație, presupozițiile lor, valorile și relațiile lor de loialitate.
Cartea mi-a plăcut prin abordarea profesionistă și francă a problematicii generației de creștini mozaici și a bisericilor pe care le părăsesc. Kinnaman are o atitudine empatică față de fiecare istorie a mozaicilor rezultată din studiile sociologice și statistice și adresează creștinilor adulți o chemare practică și optimistă de a-i aborda pe o cale practică și inspirată din exemplul lui Isus Hristos.

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