The Barna Group research previously found that young Christians are avoiding Christianity and leaving the church. Rather than concentrating this time on those leaving the church, they focused on young Christians who remained vibrant in their faith.
Kinnaman and Matlock have distilled their research down to five guidelines for passing on a lasting faith in a culture hostile to Christianity. It was no surprise to me that the first guideline is having a transformational experience with Jesus and establishing a meaningful relationship with Him. Other guidelines include training in cultural discernment, meaningful intergenerational relationships, vocational discipleship, and countercultural mission. There is a need for young people to know how to think Christianly, develop a Christian worldview, have meaningful relationships, and be discerning in this pluralistic culture.
This is a book every youth pastor would do well to read and probably all parents. The authors' writing style is a bit academic in nature but the material the book contains is worth the effort.
I appreciate how they draw our attention to the current culture. A generation ago, the Bible was still recognized as an authority for truth and morality. It is no longer a prominent authority and Christian faith has been pushed to the margins. They describe the current culture as a “digital Babylon.” Just about anything we want, whether information, advice, or entertainment, is readily available. Maintaining a vibrant Christian faith in such a new environment is a challenge.
We are in an era when we can no longer do church and youth discipleship the way we've been doing it for decades. Reading this book will give church leaders insight into a strategy to pass on a vibrant faith to young people.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
David Kinnaman is the president of Barna Group, a leading research and communication company that works with churches, nonprofits, and businesses ranging from film studios to financial services. He and his wife live in California with their three children.
Mark Matlock has been working with youth pastors, students, and parents for more than two decades. He is the principal at WisdomWorks, a consulting firm dedicated to helping individuals, churches and faith-centered organizations leverage the transforming power of wisdom to accomplish their mission. He is the former executive director for Youth Specialties and serves as teaching pastor at Irving Bible Church. He lives in Texas with his family.
Baker Books, 240 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.