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Faith for Exiles: Five Ways to Help Young Christians Be Resilient, Follow Jesus, and Live Differently in Digital Babylon

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  717 ratings  ·  122 reviews
In a series of groundbreaking studies that led to two bestselling books, David Kinnaman and his Barna Group uncovered the truth about why young people are increasingly resisting and rejecting the church. But the news isn't all bleak. Recent analysis of Barna's incredible store of data reveals a hidden hope: the church is already perfectly equipped to meet young people's de ...more
Hardcover, 229 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Baker Books
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Start your review of Faith for Exiles: Five Ways to Help Young Christians Be Resilient, Follow Jesus, and Live Differently in Digital Babylon
Nathan Farley
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Of all the books I have read in 2019, this one has probably impacted me the most. My mind is informed, my heart is enflamed, and I am ready to make some changes in my life personally. Grateful for this read.
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Summary: The results of a Barna study identifying five defining characteristics of resilient young Christians who continue to pursue Christ in our generation.

David Kinnaman has been studying youth culture for some time, especially trying to understand the reasons many young people are leaving the church, detailed in his book You Lost Me, reviewed here several years ago. This book is different. Based, as were his previous books on Barna research, he and his co-author Mark Matlock look at five key
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: culture
This is a must read for anyone working in Christian ministry today.
George P.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Many Christians in America feel alienated from their culture. David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock explain why when they describe changes happening in North America and elsewhere as a transition from “from faith at the center to faith at the margins.” Moving from the cultural center to the cultural margin is a profoundly disconcerting experience.

No wonder, then, that so many of us look to Biblical stories about the Babylonian exile to formulate our response to an increasingly post-Christian America.
Aug 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-the-church
I have been saying for years that I have great confidence in the future of the Church, and I've based this on the young people I know considered Millennials & Gen Z generations. This book confirmed what I already knew about them (their love for Jesus is strong, and they deeply desire their faith to impact the world without hypocrisy, but with the love that Jesus calls us to in loving God & loving neighbor), but also helped me to understand them more deeply, and see the mistakes we, the previous ...more
Caleb Teichroeb
Dec 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Important book, and well researched. To bring home the points I think real world examples of how these practices play out in the church could be really helpful.
Ricky Stephen
Jan 07, 2021 rated it liked it
As a Young Adult pastor trying to navigate the best ways to serve this generation, this book came highly recommended.

While there is helpful advice, good theology, and most of all, a wonderful attempt to summarize some goals for ministers, the format of the book is scattered and amounts to long lists of complaints and short lists of advice.

A great place to start though!
Sep 14, 2019 rated it liked it
The Barna Group research previously found that young Christians are avoiding Christianity and leaving the church. Rather than concentrating this time on those leaving the church, they focused on young Christians who remained vibrant in their faith.

Kinnaman and Matlock have distilled their research down to five guidelines for passing on a lasting faith in a culture hostile to Christianity. It was no surprise to me that the first guideline is having a transformational experience with Jesus and es
Kevin Slous
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Should be required reading for anyone wanting to disciple the next generations with CHRIST-centred, OTHERS-focused faith.
Joel Jackson
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: church
Using the sound research typically produced through The Barna Group, David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock explore how millennials understand and live out their faith. Their previous book, "You Lost Me" considered those millennials who have left the faith and how the church should approach this reality. In "Faith For Exiles," Kinnaman and Matlock explore the opposite reality. While many millennials have left their faith in Christ, many still remain and they are living out their faith in positive and h ...more
Beth Fender
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I disagree with the authors theologically. I would have worded many of the research questions differently. I’m not entirely on board with the wording of their definition of discipleship, though resilient faith sounds good. My “worldview” simply doesn’t match theirs. And I flat out disagree with their assumption that part of making disciples is teaching them what to think. All that said, I find common ground with the authors around most of their 5 practices (especially 1, 3, and 4). I deeply appr ...more
Jonathan Brooker
Feb 16, 2021 rated it liked it
A very important topic with a good amount of research, but yet a little hollow when it comes to deep insights or practical applications.

The problem here is not that it's a bad book, but that it offers so little that's unique and intriguing. As Kinnaman's other books do, the pages are often sprinkled with sharp looking graphs and other images that are garnered from their research with the Barna Group. However, the research findings of the studies that contributed to this book didn't seem to me a
Elisha Lawrence
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book written about young people that's filled with hope...We need more books like this.

This is my 2nd Kinnaman book (Good Faith 1st) and I'm grateful for his work in research with Barna. He exegetes his research and synthesizes it into creative instruction for the church.

Faith for Exiles gives 5 ways that churches should care for the young people in their churches. As a college pastor, this was thought-provoking. He gave a simple formula...Hope+Realism=Resilience. This formula and the 5 insi
Nigel Fortescue
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
A super helpful examination of what makes a resilient disciple in the 21st Century based on research interpreted through Scripture. Recommended read for anyone in pastoral ministry.

My take away is to “Make it real”! I struggle in sermon and home group application sometimes to make the abstract hit home with depth and substance. What this book underlines is the need for me to work harder at teasing out the practicalities of authentic faith. The new generation don’t need bling. They need deep exe
Scarlett Elsik
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a book the church needs in this generation. It is exceptionally prophetic, filled with wisdom and research. It shines light to where our generation struggles with discipleship and what will happen if there is no change. It gives incredible research and practical steps that have the potential to change ministry programs and entire churches. Get ready to take notes. You will want to write this stuff down.
Kevin Hegeman
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent combination of pastoral theology, strategic planning, and statistical data. Altogether guiding a really needed and helpful discussion on how we as followers of Jesus continue in resiliency in a culture where we are becoming more and more "exiles" in a land not our own.
I'd highly recommend this to anyone who is caring spiritually for people in this current cultural climate (especially to youth and young adults pastors who are forming models of ministry).
Tim Littleford
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just super helpful. Helpful for lead pastors, helpful for church eldership, helpful for youth and young adult leaders, helpful for parents. Helpful for anyone who wants to resiliently follow Jesus for the long haul in this "Digital Babylon" and help others to do the same. I will reference this book for a long time. So good. ...more
Daunavan Buyer
This is a great book. As a young adults pastor I encourage all of my friends who work with youth or young adults to pick it up and seek to put some of these practices into your ministry! It’s super practical and research-based... with lots of ideas.
Thom Bilton
Feb 23, 2022 rated it really liked it
This book was excellent. The research is approachable and understandable while not being watered down in any way. It’s raw and honest about the state of the church today. I was challenged as an individual but also concerned for my church and it’s approach to many of the things outlined. Thought provoking and humbling all at the same time.
Mike Wardrop
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An extraordinary, important book of research and wisdom on how Christians can live faithfully in a post-modern world of ‘exile’.
Taylor Monaco
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
AMEN. Come Lord Jesus.

Anyone with young people in their life wanting to encourage them toward Jesus needs to pick this up and inhale it deeply.
Jul 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
I read this book to use as training for YL staff but also found it quite interesting as the mother of teens/young adults who have grown up in the church. Gives good context as to why so many people are “dismantling their faith” and walking away from the church and how the church needs to do better. It’s written by Americans, I’d be curious what the numbers/stats are for Canada?
Sam Luce
Oct 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Such a good book so much to think about.
Michael Rossini
Feb 23, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2022
The research is sobering, and gives us a good sense of where we need to close the gaps in discipleship. Incredibly helpful for anyone concerned with bringing up the next generation in the Church.
Jared Townley
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Following his previous book “You Lost Me”, Kinnaman shares 5 principals for following Jesus in the cultural moment that he describes as Digital Babylon. This book is a beautiful combination of data and practical suggestions based upon that data for living as a follower of Jesus in the 21st century.
Steven Evans
This book had some practical applications that were helpful. First the description of Digital Babylon is an apt one. I've found identity in Christ to be foundational in ministering to the younger generation. Cultural discernment is necessary - you have to know the pressures to respond to them. Forging intentional inter-generational relationships is extremely valuable (the elders are supposed to teach the younger) and often missing. Showing others what Christianity looks like in the workplace has ...more
Matthew Ross
Sep 07, 2019 rated it liked it
As I read this book I was finding it hard to turn the page. I have been emerged in youth ministry for many years and working with the “digital natives” I have tried different things to engage them. While this book offers some insights and thoughts I guess I was hoping for more. The 5 ways for a new generation to follow Jesus is the same way that all should be following Jesus, it does not matter if they are digital natives, or baby boomers.

Pick up the book if you have not be in youth ministry or
"૮₍ •⤙•˶
I am in gen z, frequently use tech/media, and a lot of other gen z I knew who grew up in the church usually left, so I was really interested in this book when I read some articles relating to it on Barna.

I love the book for the most part. The only downside for me personally was that some of the words they used like "exiles," "prodigals," "nomads," and some other ones made it a bit hard to follow along smoothly cause their literal meaning isn't their actual meaning in this book because th
Seth Sowalskie
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-living
This is a straightforward, data-driven, practical book that takes a hard look at the modern church and modern culture and how it is affecting the younger generations of Christians (Millennials and Gen Z). While the subtitle about "digital Babylon" might make you think the book is primarily warning against technology, it's much more complex and substantive than that. Kinnaman and Matlock define digital Babylon as "the pagan-but-spiritual, hyperstimulated, multicultural, imperial crossroads that i ...more
Chris Branscome
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
We all know that screens, the internet and social media have dramatically altered the way we see ourselves and the world. Faith For Exiles sets out to help us disciple those who have grown up in this "digital Babylon" and have been thus altered. First, the authors give us an overview of the implications of living in a digital age and how it has affected our culture, and particularly how it has impacted how our culture perceives Christianity. Next, we are given a profile of "Resilients," Christia ...more
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18 likes · 4 comments
“In some ways, the church is not preparing young disciples for the world as it is. Cultural discernment is about teaching them not just what to think but also how to live. We must prepare them for the world as it truly is, not as we wish it to be.” 1 likes
“In our qualitative interviews, we discovered that people don’t learn to follow Jesus simply by having lots of great head knowledge about him (although having the right beliefs matters, as we’ll see). Experiencing Jesus is found along a relational pathway with family, friends, and other people who love and experience Jesus. We are loved into loving Jesus.” 1 likes
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