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Essential Church?: Reclaiming a Generation of Dropouts

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  197 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Why do so many young adults (18 to 22) leave the church, and what will it take to bring them back? This important question is examined and duly answered in Essential Church?, a follow-up to Thom S. Rainer's best-selling Simple Church cowritten this time with his son, research expert Sam Rainer.

The book is based on a study of one-thousand so-called "church dropo
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Published June 10th 2009 by B&H Publishing Group (first published May 2nd 2008)
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 ·  197 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Jun 26, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be poorly written and weakly documented. The research methods involved in this book were not entirely clear, but it seems the authors primarily relied on surveys of a small pool (1000 "church dropouts"), with no indication of how this pool was selected. Though Rainer and Rainer repeatedly hammer home the results of this survey (the top ten reasons young adults leave church), I am unconvinced.

This is not to say I found nothing good in this book (which was required reading fo
Marc Minter
Decent conclusions, poor foundations

These two authors provide many biblically faithful methods and activities for local churches. However, this book is loaded with pragmatism and typical (and aging, I might add) church growth philosophy. This book was so much like many others in this genre.

Pick up Brian Croft’s “biblical church revitalization“ or Andy Davis’s “revitalize“ for a much better use of your money.
Jonathan Brooker
Confession: I am incredibly fed up with reading books that are simply written to let Christian leaders know that we're all failing miserably and if we don't fix it all real quickly we're going to have no American church in like…20 years!

Fortunately, having read the author's previous book, "Simple Church," I knew that this was likely not going to be like that. Yes, it does talk about the exodus of young adults in many modern churches. And yes, it did bother me when they claimed at the
Joey Reed
Nov 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Church has become a collection of issues and opinions. Disagreements alienate so many people in the church. And it seems like the younger generations are being alienated at astounding rates. I found this book to be dead on in the assessment of the problems facing the church.

The book is based on a study of one-thousand so-called "church dropouts" who were interviewed about why they left. Their answers are quite surprising, having less to do with "losing their religion" and more about
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: church
This book deals with the fact that most 18 to 22 year olds are dropping out of church and why they are. The authors did a study and go through the results with 4 major points:
Simplify the church structure
Deepen your knowledge of the Bible
Expect more of your members
Multiply - a discussion around evangelism of both people who walked away and people who were never in church
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on extensive research, the authors present both the need (large back door to the church especially among 18-23 year olds) and solutions. The book is filled with testimonies of those that left the church, those that stayed, and those that returned. Without presenting a cookie cutter plan, they offer solid suggestions to help close the back door and reclaim those who have left.
A easy read, with good insight on the dropout youth, church and simple church. More recently the idea of Simple church has resonated with me on an unconscious level, but this book has confirmed its relevance for emerging adults who dropout of church, and church in general. A keepsake and one for youth ministry professionals.
Dale Critchley
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. A must-read for every church leader.
Jeff Noble
Essential Church?: Reclaiming a Generation of Dropouts by Thom S. Rainer/ Sam S. Rainer (?)
Oct 31, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very practical information for those churches that truly wish to make a difference and to be meaningful to the lives of their members.
Jul 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
great - discusses why young people are leaving the church and what to do about it
John Semchenko
Peole are not Unchurched, in many cases they are DEcurched
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love pretty much anything by Thom Rainer
Sep 03, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christianity
Great thoughts about why the 18-30 year olds are leaving or have left churches
Eric Hoff
Decent read. Not earth shattering, but ok.
Feb 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simplify. Deepen. Expect. Multiply.
Thomas Kinsfather
A book about engaging youth. Good thoughts for youth leaders and pastors.
A must for those who desire to reach this generation with the message of Christ.
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May 26, 2014
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Oct 07, 2010
Tom Mullins
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Dustin Williams
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Oct 09, 2012
Brian Cassada
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Thom Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Prior to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism. He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

In a