Part 1: Polling
The first part is statistic-heavy but provides some fascinating details. 63% of 20-29 year olds say they'd attend church if it 'presented truth to me in an understandable way that relates to my life now' (p.56). 89% said 'if someone wanted to tell me what she or he believed about Christianity, I would be willing to listen.' (p.55) But it's pretty telling that 90% believe 'I can have a good relationship with God without being involved in a church.' (p.54)
Part 2: Listening
The second part of the book was by far the most compelling for me. In this section the authors highlighted the four key values of the young adults they interviewed; community, depth (and content), responsibility and cross-generational connection. As someone right in the middle of the 20-29 age group I could totally identify with their findings. The church desperately needs to take these things on board, not just because it wants to reach young people but because the Bible has so much to say about them. The book is worth getting if only to read through this section and think through ministry in its light.
Part 3: Reaching
The third part of the book gives examples of how some churches have been reaching young adults. The authors identify nine common characteristics in their approach to young adult ministry, the key idea that really governs all 9 points is authenticity.
One of the important things to realise about this book is that behind the data is a philosophy of ministry far removed from the practice of many churches. The information it gives is extremely helpful but if pastors don't take away more from it than the need to join facebook it won't do them much good. Stetzer and co. give this challenge early on:
And let me add, you should not just read this book. You should spend some time listening to and talking to unchurched young people. (p.21)The findings presented in Lost and Found almost function as a proof for the missional approach. The research indicates that unchurched twenty-somethings are willing to talk but much less likely to come to church. To get them to church it will first be necessary to go to them. It's science.
One thing kept popping into my mind as I read 'I wonder how far we can apply this to Australians'. As I mentioned, I could easily relate to the key values in part 2 but there'd have to be some differences. I guess that's where I need to spend more time talking to people.
This research is loaded with implications for ministry. In the interests of not letting this review balloon more than it has I won't get started on them here (but stay tuned). Overall Lost and Found is definitely worth a read. Its findings ring true and it's heartening for anyone who cares about reaching young adults.