Why Do Young People Stay Christian?


I’ve been on a search for the last 12 years to understand what makes faith formation possible in and among the next generation of Christians. We’ve referred to it internally as the Faith that Lasts project, and it’s been my driving motivation even as we worked on unChristian and You Lost Me.

I know as a dad to teens and a twentysomething—and as a friend to many Christian leaders—that we’re all searching for insight about what can be done to raise resilient disciples in this pressure-packed, faith-depleting age.

Today I’m thrilled to tell you about my new book: Faith for Exiles: 5 Ways for a New Generation to Follow Jesus in Digital Babylon, releasing on September 3.

The questions at the heart of Faith for Exiles are:

  • What practices distinguish resilient young disciples among young Christians?
  • Why do young people stay faithful?
  • What can we do to make a difference?

My coauthor, Mark Matlock, and I are convinced that the biblical concept of exile is the right way to think about Christians’ relationship to the current culture, which we at Barna have been calling “digital Babylon.” Furthermore, when we talk with young adults they resonate deeply with the concept of exile—they feel like exiles, being torn between the expectations of the Church and challenges of the world.

We discovered that resilient disciples are the 10 percent of young Jesus followers whose faith is thriving in exile conditions. They are not only sustaining childhood faith into adulthood, against all odds. They are somehow expanding and deepening their commitment to Christ even as digital Babylon does its worst to dazzle, distract and dominate them.

Faith for Exiles is their story. It’s good news about what churches are doing right to form resilient young disciples.

Mark and I bring to this project everything we’ve learned over five combined decades of working with, thinking about and praying for young adults and teens—and we can’t wait to share what we’ve discovered.

 

David Kinnaman
President, Barna Group

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