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You Lost Me
by Cadet Grant Hall

Book Review of 'You Lost Me' by David Kinnaman


Has the church distanced itself from the ‘mosaic’ generation?


In his book ‘You Lost Me’, David Kinnaman describes various ways in which the mosaics, generation Y, or the millennial generation has distanced itself from the church. In the first part of the book he describes three groupings which characterize groups of people that have separated from the church; Prodigals, Exiles, and Nomads. He then describes characteristics of the church which has encouraged this separation; Overprotectiveness, Shallowness, Repressiveness, Exclusivity, and Doubting. Lastly Mr Kinnaman finishes with solutions for this separation - in two parts. The first part is based on his analysis of the statistical data collected, and his findings. The second part briefly shares 50 solutions from 50 people in society.


From collected statistical data, Kinnaman describes Nomads, Prodigals, and Exiles, and how they have all had “significant disengagement from church - and sometimes from Christianity altogether” (9). It is a saddening conclusion from where I am sitting - inside the church. Kannaman describes themes such as “disengagement” from the church, disconnectedness from faith, and how there have been some major generational shifts, which contribute to the separation of this generation from the church today (10). He personifies these three groups, and uses Katy Perry as a typical Nomad, how she was “alienated by that which she was raised” (70). He describes Exiles as a group that desire to tackle the deeper issues in society, similar to Daniel, and how he was in the world of Babylon, but not of it.


Kinnaman goes on to describe characteristics of the church that contribute to this separation. One is shallowness, and it is compared with apprenticeships. There are certain questions in the survey that pick up on this character trait of the church, “Church is boring… My church does not prepare me for real life… God seems missing from my experience of church” (116). It is this table of questions, repeated in other chapters, which add weight to Kinnaman’s conclusions about shallowness. This particular chapter goes on to describe how to combat this, through crafting apprenticeships. Kinnaman compares the trade of a carpenter with making a disciple. A carpenter focuses on producing a top product, one that will last. This is in contrast to simply producing bulk products that may fail, break, and be defective over time. “Quantity over quality” is a defect of the church today, how we seem eager to “put on events for large groups of kids” rather than “mentor each and every one of them into a mature and holistic walk with God” (125).


For each of these six church characteristics, he compares them to a characteristic that we should be striving for, these are listed below:


Overprotective                      vs. Discerning (104)

Shallow                                 vs. Apprenticeship (126)

Anti-science                          vs. Stewardship (137)

Repressive                            vs. Relational (153)

Exclusive                               vs. Embrace (175)

Doubtless                              vs. Doing (190)


Lastly in the final chapters, Kinnaman describes solutions. He uses alliteration to describe three goals in which we, the church should strive for: “Rethinking Relationships” (202), “Rediscovering Vocation” (206), and “Reprioritizing wisdom” (210). These are all positive attributes that we as individuals can incorporate into our life. We should aim for reconciliation in our relationships, aiming to be a church that fosters “racial, gender, socioeconomic, and cultural reconciliation” (203). He described how there is a lot of positive energy, and interaction that can be gained from incorporating intergenerational relationships. According to Kinnaman “intergenerational relationships matter on earth because they are a snapshot of Zion” (204). Additionally, we should also help the people in our church to gain clarity for their calling in life, their vocation, and what God is asking them to do. For Kinnaman, this was the “most heartbreaking aspect of their findings… a modern tragedy” (207).


In the final chapter, ‘the top 50’ solutions, a couple stood out to me. One was that we should “increase our expectations” (215). Another was to “meet a need” (229). Increasing our expectations was a solution posed by Francis Chan. He describes how we have low moral standards, and our motives are off, that people leave our church as “nominal Christians”. We need to see everyone, not just the pastor, as a person who can pray, assume responsibility, counsel, disciple, and be empowered by the Holy Spirit to do mighty works. In this way we will produce mighty shepherds, and disciple-makers “rather than service-attenders” (216).


Meeting needs was a solution posed by Shane Claiborne. This describes how we should be “community planters”, looking to encourage relationships among people in the streets around us. We should grow connections, encourage neighborhood interconnectivity, and simply be there for our neighbors.


Because of the solutions, and descriptions of the 6 failing church characteristics, this is an awesome book to have on hand. One that challenges, and stirs the heart to go deeper. It is a book that brings to light some of the things that we do now in our church, things that are simply ‘lip service’ rather than striving to go deeper, drive wisdom, and encourage our call to truly follow Christ.


In my ministry, the ‘crafting disciples’ analogy of the apprentice struck home for me. It made me think of those in my life who have shaved some sharp edges off, some friends who have spent hours sanding me down, ready for painting. This crafting analogy is one that I will certainly take with me after reading this book. Of course there are many other things which I can take away: To look for the deep, meat of the word for mature Christians, rather than the milk (1 Peter 2:2). To have the desire to really tackle issues that confront us today, and not shy away from them. To find ways to be discerning in todays society, not “withdraw from culture, but be in it” (Kinnaman 111).


So do I think the church has distanced itself from the mosaic generation? Unfortunately, yes, I believe it has. But, because of this research, because of people like David Kinnaman who has collated this information, it is now up to us, up to me to do something about it. I look forward to finding ways to craft disciples in my life starting today.




Works Cited

Holy Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011. Print. New Intl. Vers.

Kinnaman, David. You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church ... and Rethinking Faith. Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2016.








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