Welcome to a review of David Kinnaman’s most recent book (BakerBooks October 2011) entitled: You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church and Rethinking Faith:
For any artist who produces an initial smash hit, the next work they produce is typically a yawner (few exceptions so noted).
After releasing his initial smash hit, unChristian – What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity – And Why It Matters: David Kinnaman honestly performs the unimaginable….he crafts a follow-up You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church and Rethinking Faith that’s at least as fine as his initial release. NO KIDDING!
In unChristian, Kinnaman states: “We can’t change what we are known for unless we change how we live.” (p. 231). The thesis in You Lost Me is basically summed up in the following:
“We are at a critical point in the life of the North American church; the Christian community must rethink our efforts to make disciples. Many of the assumptions on which we have built our work with young people are rooted in modern, mechanistic , and mass production paradigms. Some (though not all) ministries have taken cues from the assembly line, doing everything possible to streamline the manufacture of shiny new Jesus-followers, fresh from the factory floor. But disciples cannot be mass produced. Disciples are handmade – one relationship at a time.” (pp.12-13).
Based upon an avalanche of significant research, Kinnaman observes on page 15, “As a faith community we need a whole new mind (emphasis is mine) to see that the way we develop young people’s faith – the way we have been teaching them to engage the world as disciples of Christ—is inadequate for the issues concerns and sensibilities of the world we ask them to change for God.”
WOW! Read the excerpt in the paragraph above AGAIN….This is Earth shaking stuff…this is an 8.0 on the established religious landscape Richter Scale. Kinnaman’s book reveals that a wholesale readjustment – if not outright reinvention of the way disciples of Jesus Christ are formed in North America! Holy religious industry tsunami Batman!
Yet the fault lines that Kinnaman uncovers effect a far broader population than simply those who inhabit the terra-firma above the chasms – they require a wholesale relocation from each and every generation who claim the name of Christ….no matter how comfortably you might find your current abode. Translation: You cannot avoid the essential change by simply moving to some higher, moral or spiritual ground. No, the essential changes Kinnaman defines are going to require courage to ask new, bold and challenging questions regarding discipleship, youth ministry and gauging ongoing, authentic spiritual transformation in Christ. They are going to threaten the foundations of established programs, power structures, processes – as well as the people who currently have a vested interest in “maintaining things just the way they are.”
This is NOT a book that simply focuses on what I refer to as “the ship-wrecked” – the obvious deficiencies that inhabit Christian leadership, relationship, apprenticeship, fellowship, eldership etc. No, this book is focused solidly on the quality of Christian craftmanship – the ability to form disciples of Jesus – whose beliefs and behaviors are deep, enduring, and transformational throughout the lifetime of the disciple – and the positive, biblical impact they are capable of imparting to others and the world around them.
This book is about ownership – owning up to the fact that our workmanship on behalf of the God we claim to worship – is in need of evaluation and change. It’s going to require that Christendom re-read the instruction manual, examine long-held assumptions, assess resources, delivery systems – and personnel. As Kinnaman says, it’s going to require a “whole new mind” regarding discipleship. Translation: Change is desperately needed at this time.
The veracity of the facts laid out in You Lost Me are unassailable. The changes outlined by Kinnaman are informed and should provide the basis for essential reparations to an apparatus whose output of “more of the same” does not honor the God we worship.
It took a lot of guts and angst to write this book. It’s going to take the same to implement the reality that its prophetic message requires.
Take ownership – for the sacred quality of the craftsmanship of those we have the privilege to be a part of forming – with the God we claim to worship.
Your first step is to BUY THIS BOOK!