A couple of weeks ago I picked up a book at Family Christian Bookstore that was 50% off...unChristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. I am a non-traditional Christian and came from a background where Christ wasn't the center of our family. Having come to faith in Jesus later in life, I have a different perspective than many Christians. So I am interested in how to reach people in a non-traditional way (hence the way I do ministries). So this book caught my attention.
Kinnaman works for the Barna Group, a well-known polling company who studies Christianity and religious trends in society. This book is the result of extensive study of the opinions and views of people both within and without Christianity. The data is fascinating, especially in how "outsiders" view Christians. Kinnaman focuses on six big viewpoints of these people towards Christianity, why they feel this way, and what we might be able to do to change these perceptions. I'm not going to go into too many details now, as I plan on discussing it more during this month.
Frankly, I think that this book should be required reading for anyone involved in minstry or churches. There are reasons why younger people are turning away from Christianity, and we have done it to ourselves. By appearing judgemental, hypocritical, bigoted, and other negative traits, we have pushed people away from us. Our attitudes have taken away from the true message that God has for us. Really, we have no one to blame but ourselves. This is why every Christian minister and teacher should absolutely read this book. Believe me, it will change how you view your duties, outreach, and the world around you.
But that's a good thing. We need to recapture society and be viewed differently. Only by showing people how wonderful God is and his incredible grace will people want to turn to Him. And it's really about people wanting to be involved with Jesus....we can't force them to. The message is great, but we need to improve as messengers. Since we did this to ourselves and to God's Kingdom, we can also change it back. A book like unChristian can help us by identifying our failures. It's a harsh mirror that Kinnaman holds up, but it's one we need to look in.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. I will be briefly discussing some of the highlights of it in the upcoming weeks, but it won't be the same as reading the book yourself. Click on the image to go to one of the online retailers where you can buy it.