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Kinnaman Lost Me
on August 4, 2013
I read the book and will address it below but first a few words about the conference by the same name.
A friend/colleague recommended I attend Kinnaman's conference. Figuring that I would gain insight into the generation I teach, I agreed. The material was intriguing but I nevertheless departed the conference after two hours. Ironically, Kinnaman had lost me.
First, a caveat. I am an Exile with a little dose of Nomad. I consider myself exceedingly orthodox--Spirit-filled Reformed. However, I found myself agreeing more often than not with the charges this generation, according to Kinnaman, lodges at the "church". Moreover, Kinnaman and I disagree on the definition of "church". He defines "church" as people who belong to an organization or institution and who attend an event on Sunday and perhaps Wednesday whereas I see the church as an organic body of regenerated believers in Christ. The system or tradition Kinnaman refers to depends upon a professional clergy overseeing a relatively passive laity. I can no longer attend an event where "fellowship" means a quick handshake and where the "audience" is not permitted to participate in a meaningful way. I am no longer willing to give money toward high overhead or pastoral salaries. The point is, why would I return or encourage others to return to a system that I have since repudiated?
That brings me to the other reason Kinnaman lost me. There was no participation at the conference. I admit I am being a little absurd here--Kinnaman was trying to convey a lot of information in a short span of time which justifies the lecture methodology. However, I am longing for meaningful dialogue and was not going to get it at this conference. For this reason the "church" and the conference lost me.
Now, the book. Excellent assessment. Although I am Generation X and orthodox, many of the reasons Millenials cite for dropping out of "church" resonate with me. Unfortunately, as I stated earlier, I do not see the HOW we do church changing anytime soon. All I know is that my days of regularly attending the standard church service is over. Please note that the consequences of dropping out have been rather severe. Would-be teachers at Christian schools have to declare where they attend church and to name their pastor. How passively attending an event once a week proves you are called--ordained by God--to be a teacher is beyond me. How a pastor who does not know you exist is supposed to vouch for your character is also a mystery.
In short, if you want insight then I recommend you read the book. If you want real solutions then be prepared to adopt a paradigm shift about who the church really is and how church is supposed to be done.