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Book Review: You Lost Me by David Kinnaman

September 8, 2013 | In Church

You Lost MeWhile reading You Lost Me, thinking through the content and preparing this review, no figure hit it home for me more on this topic, than the the Barna Group’s website stating that “59% of 18-29 year olds had dropped out of attending church after [previously] going regularly”.

You Lost Me draws upon 4 years of dedicated research and over 20 years of associated research to present data and reflections from David Kinnaman about why 18-29 year olds are leaving the church, but not necessarily cutting ties with their christian faith. Kinnaman is the president of the Barna Group, a widely-used, Christian-focused research and polling company in the United States.

While the book was written based on US figures, I feel that much of the insights could be migrated across to our similar westernised, post-Christian culture in Australia. There were many points in the book where I found myself identifying with stories of interviewees, or some of the interpretations from the research that Kinnaman presents. As someone who finds himself right in the middle of the age bracket discussed in the book, I can think of many of my former church-going peers and friends and see their personal tales told out in much the same way as in this book.

If nothing else, this book has made me more aware of how we need a fresh approach for connecting young adults to Jesus and His church, through listening to their individual life stories and capturing their lives in different ways. It seems, from my own experience and some of the research presented, that the transition from the security of high school to the open and wild real world has been mishandled by churches for many years.

If you’re a pastor or leader responsible for ministering to people in the 18-29 age group, I’d highly recommend this book. It doesn’t contain an easy list of strategies on how to keep and connect with individual people in this demographic that you could run with out of the gate. However, it will allow you to be informed about what makes this age group tick and how to engage with them on broad terms, which should lead to informed and renewed vision. It also has a section of ideas and applications from Christian ‘thinkers’ on different aspects of the issue, which could be good starting points to apply it to the Australian culture.

I’d also recommend this book if you’re pastoring to youth in the last 2 years of high school if you want to help them transition from high school to their post-school life. I’ve seen many people stop attending church regularly after years of solid youth group attendance, and I think this must be an area that we can improve on.

Finally, I’d recommend this book to those who are in the 18-29 demographic. It opened my eyes with a perspective from an outsider into what makes my generation tick. I hope that it will help me to relate to my many friends who have left church and those who our church interacts with.

You can grab the book from Book Depository.

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