Learning from “You Lost Me”

Every other year, I put together a list of summer reading based on the recommendations of others. This is not the year.

Instead, I want to make a recommendation, You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving the Church…And Rethinking Faith by David Kinnaman.

I mentioned in a previous tip that our Student LINC and Coaching Center team was reading this very eye-opening book. The strong consensus on our team was that this is a must read for everyone involved in student ministry.

Kinnaman is President of the Barna Group, known for their research on cultural trends and spiritual formation resources. When they did the research for unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity…And Why it Matters a few years back they also gathered significant information about what teen and twentysomething believers think about the church. You Lost Me was the result. This is our audience. This is our work.

True, our culture makes it challenging, but there are things that the Christian community does that actually are counterproductive to growing young people in their faith and preparing them for a life of faith and purpose. Kinnaman looks at six of those in detail. Young people believe that we are

  • Overprotective.
  • Shallow on the issues of the day.
  • Antiscience.
  • Repressive.
  • Exclusive.
  • And Doubtless.

Everyone on our team felt like there were adjustments we need to make in how we do ministry. Kinnaman closes his book with “Fifty Ideas to Find a Generation”. These ideas, from a broad cross section of thinking, are on “how the Christian community might cultivate a ‘new mind’ for understanding and discipling the next generation.”

As you head off for the summer, why not take a copy of You Lost Me with you? I would enjoy hearing back from you to learn how you might do ministry differently as we disciple today’s students.

In case you are interested, here are Summer Reading lists from:


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