Home > Culture > You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church.. and Rethinking Faith

You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church.. and Rethinking Faith

Baker Publishing Group,

2011, RRP $21.95

Reviewed by Vicky Balabanski.

THIS is a very important book for anyone concerned about the disconnect between young people and the church.

Author David Kinnaman draws on extensive research carried out in the US between 2007 and 2011 with 18 to 29-year-olds from Christian backgrounds.

The findings are also instructive for Australians, and cross denominational bounds.

The key thesis is that the speed and scope of cultural change over the past 30 years have been so great that our culture is "discontinuously different" from all that has gone before.

Young people born between 1984 and 2002 (dubbed "mosaics" to reflect their eclectic relationships and thinking styles) have grown up during a massive cultural shift.

Kinnaman analyses the changes of the past decades, exploring the nearly symbiotic relationship between young adults and digital media.

The extended circuitous path to adulthood since the 1960s means that only a minority are "settled by 30"; and young people are alienated from cultural institutions generally, not just the church.

Traditional sources of authority such as the Bible have made way for peer-driven, techsavvy ways of drawing together ideas.

Although he emphasises that every story is unique, Kinnaman distils the trends.

A minority of young people are rejecting God consciously and actively ("prodigals"); the majority are either drifting ("nomads") or finding no place for their discipleship journey ("exiles").

The reasons young people give for their disconnection from the church include both the expected and the less obvious, such as overprotectiveness.

Kinnaman offers "humble recommendations for some ways the body of Christ can respond in love and on mission".

The book concludes with some wise and practical thoughts about how we can rise to the challenge.

There is wisdom and godly optimism here, which concludes with "fifty ideas to find a generation" written by an array of contemporary thinkers.

You Lost Me is important for anyone wondering what God is doing in our time and how the Christian faith can speak into our culture with integrity, depth and courage.