David Kinnaman goes from the outsider’s perspective of Christianity to the insider’s view in “You Lost Me,” his follow up to “UnChristian.” Here, he examines why there has been so many drop-out churchgoers from ages 18 to 29.
Kinnaman discusses that there are generally three types of drop-outs: Nomads (those who walk away from church but still consider themselves Christian), Prodigals (those who lose their faith altogether), and Exiles (those who often still go to church but feel lost between church and culture). The main goal of this book is to bring awareness and hopefully help to churches who want to find ways to ignite the spiritual lives of millions of millennials whose eternal lives are at stake.
In addition to drop outs, there are also “drop-out deniers” who are people that say this type of turning away at this age is typical for every generation, and we need not worry. But in a world where there is so much more to occupy our time and attention; and where (as brought out further in this book and in UnChristian) there is an increase in religious skepticism (which is likely linked to the decrease in children being raised in church to begin with), we need to take heed and do something now to consciously change how we present the Gospel and live our lives as effective Christian witnesses.
Kinnaman goes on to explain that there is no one single reason that causes so many to drop-out, however, he found six main reasons that cropped up repeatedly during his research. The church culture was: overprotective, shallow, anti-science, sexually repressive, exclusive and did not provide a platform for youth to ask challenging spiritual questions.
“To many young people who grow up in Christian churches, Christianity seems boring, irrelevant, sidelined from the real issues people face,” Kinnaman noted. (Kinnaman 2011, 114).
To bring correction to this long-needed problem in the church, Kinnaman presented us with three answers: rethinking relationships (reconsidering how we make disciples), rediscovering vocation (rediscovering Christian calling), and prioritizing wisdom (wisdom over information in our search for God).
The message in this book is really one of hope — an instruction book more than anything. It is a battle plan for churches to reach the next generation. There were three things that got me excited as I read this book: I discovered that I have a heart for exiles (mainly because I am one); and I have always had a heart for the concept of calling and vocation. I have also found that a young adult fantasy story that God placed on my heart to write (and is in the seemingly unending probably-coming-close-to the almost-final draft phases) is more relevant now than ever because the main character is battling some of the very things revealed in this book. I pray that God uses this story mightily to reach the many nomads, exiles and prodigals that are out there.