Review of the Book “You Lost Me”

August 12, 2013

David KinnamanIn 1995, David Kinnaman joined the Barna Group, the foremost research organization regarding all things religious. He is now the President and owner of the organization, succeeding the titular founder George Barna who is now working on some completely different projects than research.

Recently, Kinnaman used the vast resources of his organization to study how Millennials (those people who are now in their late teens and twenties) feel about today’s church. The results of this research is a book penned by Kinnaman called “You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving the Church and Rethinking Faith”. As the title suggests, Millennials are not all that fond of today’s church and are looking for other alternatives including no faith at all.You Lost Me

During the next two weeks, I will be examining this book, chapter by chapter, seeking to determine if what Kinnaman says is true, accurate, and helpful for those of us who seek to lead God’s people.

Here is the format I will use (the same one I utilize when doing all book reviews):

1. Overview of the chapter

2. Things I appreciate it

3. Things I don’t appreciate

4. My personal takeaway from the chapter.

Let’s get started with the introduction that Kinnaman titles “You Lost Me Explained”.

Overview of the Chapter:  Kinnaman has a number of goals with his introduction, which isn’t surprising because it is the overview of the book itself. The first few pages inform us that instead of Millennials leaving the church, many of them feel like the Church has left them. Kinnaman then goes on to say that today’s Millennials feel like they have no room to express their doubts about faith and therefore, they just drop out. He then goes on to warn what this might do to them and to the Church if they are not discipled in a helpful way. He even references Dietrich Boenhoefer who became a prophetic voice at the time when Hitler came to power.

Things I Appreciate:  As should be done with an introduction, he lays out the ground work for the book very clearly. He mentions the generation gap and why it is getting wider. He notices that today’s generation has a lot to teach the ones that went before. He also remarks that today’s post-modern young person does not want the analytical and logical – they want the creative and the relational.

Things I Did Not Appreciate:  As a Boomer, I found a couple of comments disturbing. First, he talks about reverse mentoring: That is, that this generation would be better suited mentoring those older than them about some issues. While I see some of the merits in this, I don’t see many Boomers appreciating this concept. When we were in our twenties and thirties, the “Builder” generation told us we needed them to mentor us. And we allowed them to do so. Now we look at those under 40, who sometimes say they want mentoring, but most often tell us “you have a lot you can learn from us”. It is hard to hear it from those older and those who are younger. What does that make us in the middle – chopped liver?

My Personal Takeaway: I was intrigued by many of the questions he raises in this introduction. He challenges those of  us who are older what we will do for and with this next generation. I finished the first couple of chapters with a hunger to figure out how to do just that.


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