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After reading You Lost Me by Dave Kinnaman and spending a week with college students at Passion 2012 I find myself more determined to help churches understand that college students and young adults are not leaving their faith but instead leaving churches all across America who exist to protect traditions. Is there anything wrong with traditions…No. Is having a mission to make the next generation conform to the ways of the past generation working…No. Churches that are reaching young adults and young families are willing to shape their strategy (not theology) in a way that connects with young adults and young families. These churches are asking the older generation to unite in a mission to pass on faith to the generations to come, sounds like this familiar scripture…

4 “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NLT

With all that said, this is a must read book for every leader working with the next generation. The tide is shifting and will continue to morph and change with every generation. Will churches be willing to listen and adapt? Will kids, student and college ministries rise up to meet the needs of this generation? Here are a few quotes from the book…

  • But disciples cannot be mass-produced. Disciples are handmade, one relationship at a time.
  • The dropout problem is, at its core, a faith-development problem; to use religious language, it’s a disciple-making problem. The church is not adequately preparing the next generation to follow Christ faithfully in a rapidly changing culture.
  • The faith journeys of the next generation are not monochromatic or one-size-fits-all. Every story matters. And every type of story matters. 
  • The next generation is caught between two possible destinies—one moored by the power and depth of the Jesus-centered gospel and one anchored to a cheap, Americanized version of the historic faith that will snap at the slightest puff of wind. Without a clear path to pursue the true gospel, millions of young Christians will look back on their twentysomething years as a series of lost opportunities for Christ.
  • Is it possible that our cultural fixation on safety and protectiveness has also had a profound effect on the church’s ability to disciple the next generation of Christians? Are we preparing them for a life of risk, adventure, and service to God—a God who asks that they lay down their lives for his kingdom? Or are we churning out safe, compliant Christian kids who are either chomping at the bit to get free or huddling in the basement playing World of Warcraft for hours on end, terrified to step out of doors?

I made more notes from this book than any other book I have read on my Kindle. Our staff is getting ready to process this together at Grace Community Church. I hope you will take time and check out You Lost Me. This book has the potential to shape how we engage this generation of kids, teens, college students, and young adults.