There are dozens of books that talk about the generation gap in the church and how we have lost our young people and young adults. What I am seeing more and more is that there is no shortage of books that are descriptive in nature. By that I mean you can find a dozen books that tell you who these guys are, how they behave and what they believe. The better books go on to talk about the why. Why have they left and why aren’t we reaching them? (as Eric Brown has said repeatedly the answer to those two questions is really the same). Authors have covered the people and the problem until we are blue in the face.
We can describe things all day long. We can talk about the problem, identify the problem, understand everything about who they are and why they are gone but what are we going to do about it? Maybe the book is already out there. There are dozens and dozens of books on this topic, so more than likely people have taken a stab at this. If you know of any please let me know. But the feeling I get is much of the work that has been done on this has been more like a zoology student reading about animals, their anatomy, diet, and habits rather than actually going to spend time with the animals.
The missing piece in all of this is the prescriptive component. We need people to get the word out on what is actually working. Those who are in the trenches and have seen spiritual transformation take place and who have seen those who had gone away come back and have reached out with success need a platform to talk about those experiences and to help others in leadership and ministry positions understand what is actually working and why it is working. It is time we stop crunching numbers (hard for me to say after taking 50 hours of stats in college) and get into the lives of these people to help draw them back to God.
If you work with young adults and would like to share thoughts on what you have seen work and why you believe it has worked please let me know. I am going to have a series of guest posts on this topic and hopefully from that discussion people can move beyond understanding the people and the problem and move on to what is really working.