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They Like Jesus but Not the Church: Insights from Emerging Generations
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They Like Jesus but Not the Church: Insights from Emerging Generations

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  861 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Many people today, especially among emerging generations, don’t resonate with the church and organized Christianity. Some are leaving the church and others were never part of the church in the first place. Sometimes it’s because of misperceptions about the church. Yet often they are still spiritually open and fascinated with Jesus. This is a ministry resource book explorin ...more
Paperback, 271 pages
Published February 25th 2007 by Zondervan (first published February 2nd 2007)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  861 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Jun 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
This book can be summarized as follows: "Evangelism works a lot better if you're not an asshole about it."

Of course, Episcopalians are frightened as all get-out of the "e" word, as we call it, but at some point, we've got to deal with the Great Commission of Matthew: Go out into the world and make converts. Besides for our own diffidence, we also have to deal with the loss of the community-based aspect of church. There was a time, even in the United States, when church was where it was happening
Tom Bazan
Jun 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian
The book has three parts: (1) "Why Emerging Generations are Changing;" (2) "What Emerging Generations Think About the Church;" and (3) "How the Church Can Respond."

He makes some good points about the changing culture. One of the premises of the book is that we live in a "post-Christian" culture. Although it might have been safe to assume that everyone--regardless of whether a person was a Christian, went to church, or had ever been to church--knew the basic ideas of Christianity, sin, etc., that
May 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
If you haven’t read Dan Kimball’s latest book, They Like Jesus, but Not the Church, grab your keys and head to the nearest bookstore. It is hailed by Lee Strobel as “a powerful and passionate wake-up call for the American church.” Kimball has a message you and I need to hear.

In a matter of years, America has rapidly become a pluralistic society. There are more religions practiced in the United States than any other country in the world (Eck 2002). This has profound significance for church minis
Joseph Dalton
Sep 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was a great testimony of the emerging generation. It's so refreshing to hear words from their own mouths received with a Christian's listening ear and open and honest heart. I am encouraged that we are not required to back down from the Truth that we hold to be most valuable and we need not run from difficult ideas or things we don't understand or questions we can't answer.

Thank you, Dan, for drawing out the Truth in Scripture showing the loving way that Jesus longs to engage with this worl
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book, though I think I'd enjoy I Like Jesus But Not The Church because that book is directed towards people like myself whereas this book is directed towards church leaders trying to coax people like myself back to the church. My only critique of this book was when it came down to views of controversial topics such as women's roles in the church and whether or not you believe homosexuality is a sin. The author was basically telling church leaders, "Yes they're all going to he ...more
Thomas Freeman
Apr 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable. The title sounded like this would be a liberal controversial book. Instead, I found it to only be a controversial book. His primary goal is to open the eyes of the church regarding how the western world views Christianity. He correctly points out that we live in a "post-christian" world today.

Dan Kimball definitely values the church and gathering of believers. He likes to use emergent terms like "missional", "emerging generations", "kingdom living",and last but not least "beer". Howev
Dottie Parish
They Like Jesus but not the Church is a must read for those who want to reach emerging generations while speaking the truth. The book is divided into three parts – Why Emerging Generations are Changing, What Emerging Generations Think About the Church, and How the Church Can Respond.

I was especially helped by an illustration of syncretism in our culture he observed in a TV sitcom. Kimball emphasizes the need to form friendships first, listen to what others believe, understand what attracts them
Les Wolf
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
They Like Jesus but Not the Church is a thought-provoking exploration of the perceptions and attitudes of emerging generations toward the Christian church.
The author, a pastor himself, discusses six major objections obtained through extensive interviews. Kimball discusses how Christians may come across as callous and repugnant with regard to the beliefs and opinions of those outside of the faith.
Kimball offers suggestions and provides examples from his own efforts to help Christians find ways
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thought provoking, especially as the author seemed to struggle with his own beliefs.
Krampus Mark
Jun 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
every once in a while you have to understand the mind of the enemy.
Phil Whittall
Dec 06, 2014 rated it liked it
I've just read They Like Jesus But Not The Church and I'm going to have do some experiments. Kimball's theory based on a number of out-of-church experiences and conversations is that people are open to knowing more about Jesus but that more often than not the church gets in the way. Hard to argue with that really.

What is more questionable is how well this crosses the Atlantic and how easily his observations fit the UK. For a start our evangelicals are far milder, and our fundamentalists are tame
Andrew Murch
Dec 31, 2015 rated it did not like it
Upon reading this book in 2015, I realized where so many of my contemporaries received their mid-2000's talking points and 'cutting-edge' mindsets. When this book came out, I was fresh out of seminary, working as a youth pastor in an AG church in Olympia, WA. There was a strong movement among my fellow youth pastors and missional minded folks toward and 'outward' focus on the dechurched and disillusioned. Studying in one's office was so 1999, as the coffee shop with sinners was the new place for ...more
Rob Petersen
Mar 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Kimball's take on how emerging generations view both Jesus and the church is one that creates tension in anyone who wants to both hold true to the Biblical Jesus and also reach out in a relevant way to people in today's culture. The book troubled me for quite a while: often the Jesus Kimball described his interviewees liking was nothing more than a caricature of Jesus--a loving, non-judgmental, revolutionary, anti-establishment, non-exclusive "Jesus is my homeboy" type of figure. This is why I w ...more
Kevin Rogerson
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Okay... I bought this a while ago because it looked interesting enough to get me to pull it off the shelf. I just started reading it yesterday and today I am finished. I kid you not when I say this book was so very interesting that I could not barely put it down. I was intrigued by the topics that Dan brings up and how I too shared some of those same beliefs or feelings about the church today. Don't get me wrong I am pro-church without a doubt. However, at times I do struggle with these issues a ...more
Mar 19, 2008 rated it liked it
It's a good book and Kimball gives some really good insights for people that live in the Church bubble. Most of us get annoyed and/or bored with the standard Church held over from the 20th century when every person was churched. America is basically post-Christian nowadays. Obviously more in places like NYC or LA but even in the Bible belt. The old ways of doing things won't fly anymore and Kimball tackles some of the consistent perceptions/misperceptions "emerging generations" have of Church: S ...more
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it
At first I wasn't really impressed with the book, but the more I read it and looked at my own life and te people that I'm around is when it really started to grow on me. I was really excited to see Dan Kimball tackle the hard questions that are out there about Christianity. The reflection questions in the end of the chapters were helpful for me too. I also enjoyed how Kimball tackled the theological responces to these questions. It really inspired me to be much more intentional in my own studies ...more
Jan 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: pastors, chrch leaders,
Dan is informative in his analysis and very fair in examining his thesis and conclusion. I cannot escape the fact that the Jesus they like is the Jesus of their own invention, not the Jesus of the New Testament.

I like Bill Clinton but not the democrats if you let me define Bill Clinton. After all he is a moderately overweight baby boomer who struggles with his weight and fast food hamburgers and can't break 80 on the golf course. I think that Bill could be a lot of fun to be around.

Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Exactly as the title says, this is a collection of reasons Christians are not good reflections of the character of Christ. Doesn't tell you what to do about it, but gives insights into the world's views and leads you toward making some changes. Perception is everything. It is a good read for those who have entered the Christian bubble, surrounding themselves with only church-related friends, activities, interests, etc., forgetting that there is a world out there that doesn't get it. The author i ...more
Apr 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion, 2016
I don't agree with everything in this book. But I do agree with Kimball's emphasis on building relationships with non-believers. Conversion is not a random act. So standing on street corners yelling at people to repent and accept Jesus does not work. Some Christians have such a negative view of non-believers that it prevents them from having any kind of meaningful dialogue.

I also agree that Christians need to be better informed about the Bible and various issues. I notice that a lot of churches
Dec 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
While a lot of the material in this book is repeated, and then repeated again, this book was an eye opener. With a clear and engaging writing style, the author shows the reader how the new generation views the church and where many churches are going wrong in their evangelism attempts. An important book! Unfortunately, the less formal writing style might have many in the books target demographic overlook it as a serious reference.
Mar 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
I am clearly not the target audience for this book (written for church leaders who may have trouble connecting with "young people"). So, my low rating isn't a reflection of my disagreement. Dan Kimball takes ~250 pages to explain a point of view I already share. I didn't really learn anything new here, and I speed-read most of it just to make sure I wasn't missing out on a good nugget.

Easy enough read, not sorry I read it, probably won't pick up again.
Dec 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While it took me awhile to get through this one, I'm glad I read it! I have heard many of the criticisms in the book from my own 18 year old daughter. I hope more Christians read the book and act on the recommendations. It really doesn't hurt to spend time with non-Christians, and who knows maybe you will be the one to get them to change their thinking about us!
Dave Pettengill
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
As an evangelical I appreciate Dan Kimball's writing as someone who comes from this same stance but at the same time is filled with love for those who might be deemed "outsiders" by others. I believe this book is an important resource to help us understand questions that new generations are asking.
Rick Robie
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you are serious about reaching people for Christ, then you need to do your homework and start with this book. The author has done a lot of work to paint the drastic picture of what this generation really thinks what the church is like. Excellent interviews and some great information, with which we need to arm ourselves and really befriend non Christians for Jesus.
Oct 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
Beautiful, beautiful book. I was challenged to think about my daily life and what I'm doing to share the gospel, not the rules, traditions or hang ups of my faith tradition. A great reminder that my role is to love people as Christ loves them not shove "religion" down anyone's throat.

Thank you Dan Kimball for a beautiful book.
Bobby Jones
Jul 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Walks you through the thoughts and feelings of the unchurched and their stereotypes of the church. Provides simple insights to move the church away from those stereotypes. "...our calling is to live out our faith in our culture so that people see that not all of Jesus' followers fit the stereotypes." -Dan Kimball
Nov 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
Some really good discussion of how Christians today aren't doing very well at actually representing Christ to the world around them (the section on the subtle pressure to conform is especially good). However, there were some points at which I didn't agree with the author as much. Worthy of a read if only to potentially challenge one's stance on the issues discussed.
May 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
The key with this book is to skip past the author's opinions, and just focus on what he's doing ... listening to people who aren't part of the Christian faith. By doing so, you'll hear what they see when they look at the church and what they hear when Christians talk. In the process, it might just prompt Christian to rethink what they do and how they talk.
May 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: inspirational
As a 30 year old male who loves Jesus, this book speaks to our generation by our generation. Some points, comments, and statistics given in this book will make many Christians cringe. A real eye-opener and makes me realize that as Christians, who claim to be striving to be like and glorify Jesus, we are not doing a very good job at going outside our "safe" walls of the church.
Apr 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any church leader or seeker trying to understand the "unchurched"
this book is geared for church leaders to help understand why some people are turned off by church. however, i also liked because not only did it resonate with me, but it demonstrates one man's journey to help create dialogue between the "churched" christians (some not) and "unchurched" christians.
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how we look at the church? 1 3 Jul 06, 2011 03:27PM  

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Dan was born and raised in north eastern New Jersey, and got his BS in Landscape Architecture from Colorado State University. Dan was a drummer in a rockabilly/punk band for many years and lived in London, England for a year playing in the band. After the band ended, Dan went to Israel and lived there for several months studying the Bible on his own to see whether Christianity was a valid faith, o ...more