Last week my book-of-the-week was right up my alley. In the last 7 years or so of my ministry God has steadily enlarged my heart for those who are far from Him. This volume dealt with an unfortunately rapidly-growing segment of those far from God… those who once believed. Of course this raises all the ancient arguments about whether or not said individuals ever really believed, in the first place. But for the sake of everything that follows we will assume that they are not just leaving more than just a building. They are leaving their faith.
After almost 20 years in youth ministry and now in a ministry that deals especially with those who are far from God, I think Drew deals with the reality very even-handedly. Sadly I think his numbers are correct. I also agree with his conclusions that unless we find a way to solve this problem, anything we do will be equal to or less than putting a bandaid on a gunshot wound.
Because we live in a sound bite culture I like to reflect on books I read in similar fashion. Here are some of the biggest takeaways for me:
- not every young adult has the same issue(s)
- there isn’t a singular solution to the problem… one size does not fit all
- listening to people is not optional
- loving people as they are is not optional
- BE one of the reasons they stay
- I must live out a faith that is vibrant & reasoned
My only (very slight) difference of opinion came with something that the author almost admits to. It would seem that some of these interviews were done with people whom the author was not previously acquainted (i.e. the story about the Meetup Atheists Group in the bar). My only charge to those of us that currently are attempting to follow Jesus is that we would already be in relationships with people who have left the faith. Then out of and into those relationships have opportunities to administer the strength of the gospel. As God gives us these kinds of friendships, may we be part of the solution.