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They Like Jesus but Not the Church: Insights from Emerging Generations Paperback – February 25, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


My father taught me that a problem well defined is half solved. It would be foolish to be in ministry to emerging generations without carefully studying this book -- Josh McDowell, author and speaker


“I recommend this book especially to those who think the emergent church movement is a phase. Something is wrong when people like Jesus but not the church, Jesus’ body. Our job is to do something about it.” -- Sarah Sumner

“Dan helps us understand issues we must address regarding the church and emerging generations. This book will help you strategize your journey out of the institution and into the mainstream of the movement.” -- Reggie McNeal

“A tough-minded, clear-sighted look at authentic Christian living in the twenty-first century.” -- Leonard Sweet

“Treats the citizens of emerging culture as people God loves rather than as enemies, targets, or customers. Essential reading for anyone serious about doing mission in emerging culture.” -- Earl Creps, PhD, Dmin

“This is a sobering read, but as Dan promises, it’s ultimately a hopeful one too. We ignore those who like Jesus but not the church at our own peril.” -- Tony Jones

“Church leaders dare not ignore the wisdom and perspective of this book.” -- Nancy Beach

“A wonderful bridge between the real-world orthopraxy of the emerging church and the ‘we want to learn and understand’ posture of all healthy church leaders. Dan clearly has his finger on the pulse of twentysomethings outside the church.” -- Mark Oestreicher

“Every frustrated, tired, and burned-out pastor in America needs to read this book. Dan Kimball provides hope and insight for all who love Jesus and wish the church were more like God intended.” -- Jules Glanzer

“If you like Jesus and the church, you need to read this book. It will give you a window into the heart of a world that desperately needs Jesus and a new vision of his bride, the church.” -- Kevin G. Harney

“I really appreciate Dan Kimball’s passion. It’s important to listen to and wrestle with him in order to develop ministry models that proclaim an ancient message through relevant and flexible methods.” -- Efrem Smith

“Couldn’t put it down! Confronting and alarming but hopeful, this book presents real dialog with young critics of the church and offers positive suggestions for moving the church forward.” -- Bryce Jessup

“I felt like I was sitting in a coffeehouse with Dan, having a three-hour conversation about things my heart yearned to explore. This book is beyond timely. Carry it with you into the future.” -- Rudy Carrasco

“The good news is that Dan is right. More people are open to Jesus, giving us an opportunity to shed our skins of tired traditions and return to our call, a Christlike nature.” -- Alan Nelson

“With insight, gentleness, and an unswerving commitment to the wisdom of the past, Dan Kimball shows us what we don’t want to see but must if we care about the Great Commission in the twenty-first century.” -- Gregory Koukl

“While he might not use the term, Dan Kimball is a gifted missionary-evangelist. Thoroughly Christological and missional.” -- Lon Allison

“Dan brings authenticity and sensitivity to the discussion by engaging people who have come to trust him as their friend. This is Jesus’ way of engagement. He didn’t talk about people; he conversed with them.” -- Eddie Gibbs

“Thoughtfully addresses some of the most complex issues facing the American church today. It provokes serious thinking about our responses to the hard questions about life, faith, and Jesus.” -- Linda Stanley

“Dan Kimball both points out our blind spots and gives us a clear and compelling road map for reengaging people with the good news of the gospel. This is an important book, and a great one.” -- Chap Clark, Ph.D.

“God is speaking to his church, and he’s using those who don’t even attend one to be his spokespeople. Listen up! Thanks to Kimball, new voices are directing the church toward renewal and spiritual growth.” -- Michael Frost, , Author

“My father taught me that a problem well defined is half solved. It would be foolish to be in ministry to emerging generations without carefully studying this book.” -- Josh McDowell, , Author

“What a hopeful reminder that Jesus is not as far away from most unchurched people as church leaders think. If every church leader will heed Dan’s message, emerging generations will find faith in the real Jesus through his real church.” -- John Burke, , Author
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (February 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310245907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310245902
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

119 of 123 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer from Michigan on March 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
Everyone who takes the Christian faith seriously should read this book and be prepared to do some sober reflection. Whether a pastor, youth worker, elder, deacon, lay leader, or church member - those who take Dan Kimball's book to heart may very well need to make some significant changes in their approach to outreach and evangelism.

In They Like Jesus But Not The Church, Dan Kimball first points out the convicting and humbling truth that the longer one is a Christian, the less likely one is to have significant friendships with those who are not Christian. Instead, most Christians today find their lives consumed with church-related activities - and those whose primary jobs are ministry-related are often the worst offenders. How can anyone know what the needs of the unchurched are unless they are involved in trusting relationships with them?

The church in America has become nearly irrelevant to most 20- and 30-somethings. Yet those who follow Jesus rarely venture outside our cozy Christian comfort zones to learn why. Unless individual Christians are actively engaged in open and trusting relationships with non-Christians (without a conversion agenda), the life-changing gospel message won't effectively be spread merely by changing our worship service structure, format, or atmosphere. Furthermore, most Christians tend to compound the problem by generally taking one of two approaches to evangelism: either we see every non-Christian as a potential target, and if we spend any time with them at all the goal is to "seal the deal;" or we isolate our faith from our everyday lives and generally avoid faith- or church-related conversations with anyone other than our church friends.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Traci Staples on February 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
If you love Jesus and love the church, I strongly encourage you to read this book with a humble heart and an open mind. First let me say that the author, Dan Kimball does not pull any punches on sin or soft sell in this book. I believe this is the heart cry of God in our polarized generation to rebuild bridges to those that have lost respect for the church. I urge you to view this book as a mirror as you read it. Like a mirror it will show you yourself as you read it.

Those interviewed in this book are both intelligent and varied in the walks of life that they represent. They range from:
* A coffee house barista
* A lead singer in a rockabilly band
* An advertising director for newspaper
* A molecular biologist
Their honest open thoughts about how they and the world outside the biosphere of Christendom views us is both heart breaking and helpful. I am glad that there are those out there who still like Jesus even though they have difficulty identifying with and relating to the church.

After reading this book I was both humbled and convicted at my own shortcomings. I was also reminded by this book, that we sometimes avoid giving people intelligent answers to their tough questions. We need to admit that we aren't perfect and don't have all of the answers, but are willing to make an honest effort to find them and humbly apologize when we are wrong.

This is just this book's effect on me personally. There is so much more to this book than I am sharing here. It reminds me of a recent movie titled "The Island". It was reminiscent of the first Matrix movie. It was
about this underground commune of clones that didn't know that they were clones. They were told that the outside world was contaminated, so they couldn't go outdoors.
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131 of 167 people found the following review helpful By E. Johnson on July 3, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The title of my review probably got some of you to read what I'm going to say here, but hear me out. First of all, yes, I read the whole book, and I appreciate many of the things Kimball had to say. He made me think, and I believe the Evangelical Christian church can learn from the emerging church movement. I especially appreciate the zeal that the astute Kimball has to reach the lost. He has a great ministry in the coffee houses of his area as he builds relationships while sharing the Christian faith. As time passes, things change, and we Christians need to be willing to not remain status quo, to "be all things to all people" and culturally not drive people away from the gospel based on an unbiblical stubbornness. This is exactly what scholar D.A. Carson says in his book on the emerging church, titled "Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church." (I highly recommend it.)

"They Like Jesus" is helpful in showing Christians that we need to be aware of the culture around us and make sure we're not offending just for the sake of arrogance. We must understand that there are many people who will never set foot into a church building; unless we go out to them, how else can they ever understand and know the gospel? Kimball does a good job here and has given the pastor/reader some things to consider. I appreciate his fresh perspective.

Where he does become judgmental, however, is painting straw man figures of those who don't do evangelism the way he apparently deems proper. (Note: We must remember that, in good Postmodern thinking, "perception" is everything, as Kimball's entire book is built on the perception of the emerging generation whom he meets in the coffee houses.
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