You Lost Me

August 10, 2012 — 4 Comments


Our new members ministry team at church has been reading an engaging book by David Kinnaman, called You Lost Me.


I heard David speak at Catalyst last fall and was intrigued by what he said. So I’ve been eager to read his book and I finished it recently.

It was such a thought-provoking book that I felt compelled to use its premise for a recent sermon of mine. There was so much to talk about that I hardly even knew where to begin when preaching. How would I condense it all into 25 minutes?

Here’s the premise: through David’s research with the Barna group, he’s come up with six reasons that many young adults give for leaving the Christian church. He interviewed scores of people who had grown up in the church and no longer feel like they are a part of it. These are the six reasons in bullet form. I could write a blog post about each one of these. (maybe I will?) The church is…

  • Overprotective
  • Shallow
  • Antiscience
  • Repressive
  • Exclusive
  • Doubtless

These were the six common threads that David heard as people told their stories of disengagement from the church.

Of all these reasons for leaving the church, I felt the most challenged by the lack of depth within the church. Through his research, David reported that 31% of young adults aged 18-29 claimed that church is boring.

Personally, I would argue that people even older than 29 also deal with this. However, I have nothing but my personal experience to gauge that on. Either way, the number is staggering to me.

One of every three people who were raised in the church believes that it’s boring.

If I’m honest with myself, I’d have to admit that there have been times when I’m bored by church, too. There are certain Sundays where I know I wouldn’t be there if I weren’t paid for it. I feel terrible for admitting it, but it’s true.

How can this be?

What has become of the experience of God at work in us to make it so unexciting? If I truly believe that God is all powerful (I do), if I truly believe that God wants to work in my life (I do), if I truly believe that God wants me to faithfully obey him (I do), if I truly believe that God has good plans for me (I do), and if I truly believe that it’s through the church that God works (I do), then why does it feel like such a chore to go to church sometimes?

Why doesn’t church energize us all the time? What have we missed to make church less exciting than taking our kids to soccer games, or cheerleading practice, or even sleeping?

Each year, I see so many middle school students publicly profess their faith in conformation. Then I watch as they gradually drop off through high school until only a few are around at graduation. Then even less stick around as young adults.

Is the church really that irrelevant?

What would make the church a more compelling and winsome experience? Let me know in the comment section below. I give you permission to voice your complaints, frustrations, or unmet dreams and expectations about the church. How have you been let down by the church?

Let’s partner together in working to discover how God might be calling us to do church differently.



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I'm a pastor, writer, speaker, husband, father, and follower of Christ, to name a few titles. You can find my contact information in my About page.
  • Interesting post. Don’t people of a certain age find everything boring? Work is boring, family outings are boring, etc. Can any church really compete with Halo, or WOW, or an all-day marathon of Cupcake Wars? Also, should it even try? I guess what I wonder is how much do you think church should co-opt popular culture? Anyway, keep posting your blog posts on Facebook because I enjoy reading them! –Corrina Laughlin (We went to HS together but didn’t know each other that well).

  • thedavro

    I am liking the book as well, though I have not finished it. I too have felt that a particular service or church experience was shallow, or that I would not have been there if I was not obliged. But I’ve also been in services that I knew had depth and still found myself bored or unengaged. So here are a couple of theories on why we may feel differently from what we believe:
    1) maybe our churches are not doing a good job of connecting people with Jesus
    2) maybe we’re just sinful people and it’s in our nature to rebel
    3) maybe we’re at the point where we need less talking, more doing
    4) maybe churches are too big, and have to cater to the lowest common denominator. The interests are too broad and varied, and all we can do is try not to offend anyone. Maybe we would be more engaged in church experiences that were smaller and more focused on the specific questions of living Christian faith in our particular context.

  • scrhill

    I will echo what Dave said with #1. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus & His life-changing power is what we need to communicate. Other periphery things can’t hurt either!

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