I am beginning another one of my award winning book review series. I received a free copy of Ed Stetzer’s new book Lost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and the Churches that Reach Them (co-written by Richie Stanley and Jason Hayes) with the promise that I would blog about it. This book has three sections. The first section looks at the “who.” Who are younger adults today? What do they think about God, Christianity, and the church? Based on additionally research, the second section provides a thorough analysis of the ministry needs of the younger unchurched. The third and final section looks at churches that are reaching young adults, with a focus that combines the who and the how. They seek to examine churches that are effectively engaging emerging culture and regularly seeing young adults come to faith in Christ. Instead of telling you what you should do, they analyze churches that are doing it – and they seek to learn from them.
The authors point to a book by Robert Wuthnow (After the Baby Boomers) and note that, among other things, that although a general decline in religious attendance has occurred among American younger adults, other measures of belief and spirituality have not suffered such a decline. For instance, little change has occurred since the 1970s in the proportion of young adults who believe the Bible to be the Word of God. Wuthnow finds that a greater percentage of current young adults, compared to older adults, prefer personal experience as the best way to experience God. These younger adults are more spiritual tinkerers rather than religious service attendees.
“Spiritual tinkering is a reflection of the pluralistic religious society in which we live, the freedom we permit ourselves in making choices about faith, and the necessity of making those choices” (Wuthnow, 135).
I will post later today about the way the authors define the different types of younger unchurched.