I had a great time recently learning from David Kinnaman at a conference hosted by National Community Church in Washington D.C. Kinnaman (@davidkinnaman on Twitter) is president of Barna Group www.barna.org and author of unchristian and You Lost Me www.youlostmebook.org. Of course, National Community Church www.theaterchurch.com is the multi-site church pastored by Mark Batterson www.markbatterson.com and his latest book is The Circle Maker www.thecirclemaker.com. Are those enough links for you?
Kinnaman has done major research on the generation alternately called “Mosaic” “Millennials” and “Gen Y” depending on who is doing the talking. This is the generation that is coming into adulthood. Everyone these days wants to know what makes this generation tick. Marketers are constantly trying to figure out how to get their attention, colleges want their money, and churches are wondering where they are. Kinnaman’s first book unchristian focused on those young people on the outside of the church. You Lost Me is more about those young people who have left the church.
He began his talk by saying “It’s complicated” (an obvious reference to Facebook postings on relationship by many young people). His point is that the world is a complicated place, and the church isn’t helping them navigate through this complexity. He made the comment “We’ve given them just enough Jesus to get them bored, but not enough to get them transformed.” In the survey of 18-29 year olds with a Christian background, they found that 59% of them have dropped out of church, 38% have significantly doubted their faith, and 32% had considered rejecting their parent’s faith.
I’ll share more from Kinnaman in upcoming posts.
Batterson has become a popular writer in recent years with such books as “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day”, “Wild Goose Chase”, and “Primal”. He is an innovative communicator, particularly appealing to the 20-something crowd that National Community Church attracts. I have to admit up front that when I started the book I wasn’t too excited. I’m not typically a fan of books that are designed to help me discover the inner me. But he began to win me over more with each chapter.
The book follows key events in the life of King David of the Old Testament, using these events to explore different aspects of our “soulprint”. What is this “soulprint”? According to Batterson, “Your fingerprint uniquely identifies you and differentiates you from everyone else who has ever lived, but your fingerprint is only skin deep. You possess a uniqueness that is soul deep. I call it your soulprint. It’s not just who you are, present tense. It’s who you are destined to become, future tense.”
I particularly resonated with his thoughts on integrity – from the chapter entitled “The Crags of the Wild Goats”. Batterson states, “We fixate on what and when and where. God’s primary concern is always who. And He won’t get you where He wants you to go until you become who He wants you to be.” He also advises, “And this is what happens when you compromise your integrity. You have to always look over your shoulder. Instead of being able to focus all your energy on looking ahead, you have to waste energy looking back. You can’t focus on where you’re going because you have to cover up where you’ve been.”
Authenticity is a popular theme in this book (as in so many books coming from young writers today). Batterson spends time explaining the Johari Window http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johari_window, as a good tool for maintaining authenticity. This classic tool describes four quadrants of life that exist for each of us based on what you know about ourselves, and what others know about us. He believes the Soulprint resides in that quadrant described as those things you don’t know about yourself and that others don’t know about you. Only God knows these things about you.
This small book, taken from a series of messages he delivered at his church, is full of personal stories and observations. It is clear that Batterson is striving for that authenticity about which he writes. It is a good read for anyone asking the “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” questions.
Note: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. To download a free copy of the first chapter of this book (and a bunch of other books), go to http://www.scribd.com/waterbrook.