Free Book: Essential Church?

“Why do more than two-thirds of churchgoing young adult Americans leave the church? Or to ask the question positively, why do one-third of churchgoing young adult Americans stay in the church? The answer to the latter question emerged from several years of research. Young adults are likely to stay in the church if they see church as essential to their lives.

from Essential Church? Reclaiming A Generation Of Dropouts

Broadman & Holman’s offers a free PDF download of this new book if you give them your email address.

Though I have scanned through the book, I have not read it completely, so I can’t make a blanket recommendation.  However, it does look like the authors have diagnosed the problem accurately in the first half of the book.  I think every pastor and church leader would do well to read the first half of this book as the Rainers unpack and sort out the research conducted among 18-22 year olds church drop outs.  Whether the solution they offer in the second half of Essential Church is the right cure remains to be seen.

If you read the book, I’d love to know your reactions, comments, disagreements, concerns, kudos, etc.  Just leave a comment, and we’ll talk about it.

[HT:  Ministry Best Practices]

4 thoughts on “Free Book: Essential Church?

  1. From Essential Church? Reclaiming A Generation Of Dropouts:

    “Young adults are likely to stay in the church if they see church as essential to their lives.“

    Right here, we can clearly see a major factor in the “church” problem.

    Is it all about RELEVANCY to our individual lives? OR, is it about submission to, love for, and the following of an awesome Creator, God and Lord?

    Why do so many leave the “church”?

    Simply because we may call it the church, or think it is, or put up a sign that says, “Such-and-so Church”, but in actual fact, it’s not.

  2. True. You make a good point. What we call “church” is not always church…a point I explored in a past post called “When The Church Is Really Parachurch”. Many young people may have left the “building” and joined other less traditional bodies of believers, such as the house church I pastor. The way the authors define “church” will impact their research. But if my experience with young adults who have left church is any indication of what’s happening nationwide, I’m afraid most of them have left the true church as well.

    And as you’ve noted, “relevance” is relative, but my hunch is that more young people would stay connected to churches whose “style” is not “relevant” if that church had the discipleship mindset and atmosphere that Paul describes in 1 Thess. 2:8: “So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” Obviously, Paul is describing the truly relevant church body: one that passes on the content of the Gospel in the context of a cross-shaped community.

  3. I downloaded the free .pdf and now I must have lost it. A friend needed to read it and I thought I had it. Does anyone have a copy still? He needs it for his doctoral work. I found like a ghost file on my Mac, but it won’t open.

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