You Lost Me

Our team is reading You Lost Me, by David Kinnaman, author of unChristian. Subtitled “Why Young Christians are Leaving Church…And Rethinking Faith”, we have been challenged about how we are preparing young people for life after high school and college.

Kinnaman is focused on teens and twentysomethings who grew up in church. More than any previous generation they have un-prededented access to other views and influences. They often find themselves questioning beliefs of older generations and authority structures. Depending upon the extent Mosaics disconnect from the church, they could be classified as “nomads”, “prodigals” or “exiles”.

Kinnaman identifies six reasons why the church shoulders some of the blame for this disconnection. Mosaics often see us as:

  • Overprotective.
  • Shallow on the issues of the day.
  • Antiscience.
  • Repressive.
  • Exclusive.
  • Doubtless. (I haven’t read this one, But I’m curious.)

Different team members have been impressed by different chapters. The one that really stood out to me was on Antiscience. It spoke to how well we are preparing students in our ministries to live with the tension between competing truth claims. Particularly for those chosing fields in the sciences, we are not helping them understand how their faith integrates with their life calling. We are not engaging with them on how God has wired them and on the things they are passionate about. Kinnaman says, “if we are serious about living biblically in a science culture and about helping the next generation do the same, putting up our dukes or sticking our fingers in our ears are not viable options.” p. 136.

Due to the historical debate between faith and science, Christians often don’t know how to guide a young person looking to a career in the sciences. As a result “the church is losing too many young scientists.” p. 137. Young people have a deep sense of conflict between their faith and their interest in science. “The Christian community has failed to disciple its science-inclined students to become responsible, intelligent, capable, resourceful, and faithful followers of Christ. We need to do a better job of stewarding the intellect of this generation.” p. 141.

Kinnaman writes:
“There are plenty of Christians in the scientific community who would love to serve the body of Christ with their gifts and knowledge, and there are many yonrg adults who need a scientifically credible Christian mentor who will walk alongside them as they reason through competing truth claims.

“…many of these same young people have no meaningful interaction during high school and college with Christian adults who work in their field of choice. As a result, Christian twentysomethings often do not connect their career choices with a sense of calling or vocation; their faith and work decisions are bifurcated, rather than holistically entwined.

“What if churches made a concerted effort to identify scientific and mathematical inclinations in young people (as well as other skills and gifts), and then connected young believers with older Christians who are living out their faith in related careers? This could provide a dramatically different understanding of science and technology, not as adversaries or disconnected from faith, but as domains where faith compels us to make a difference.” p. 144.

This has huge 100%Sent implications. One area where adult Christians are having meaningful interactions with college students following their career path is with Education Majors. Several regions are making concerted efforts to connect students with a life calling to become teachers with Student Venture staff. They are giving them resources to life out their faith in the classroom and make an impact on those they teach. There are pages on AllCallings and GoCampus dedicated to Teachers and Education Majors.

Another example of professional adults connecting to our students leaders are the EII Forums. This is just the beginning. It’s future teachers this year, maybe it is environmental engineers next year. We do such a great job preparing students for ministry. But we need to be better at preparing them to connect their faith with their life calling. If you are doing some things to connect students to adults in their chosen field, would you write me and tell me what you are doing? I would like to follow this up with practical ideas.

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