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Barna Group President David Kinnaman joins Foursquare NextGen leaders and senior pastors to explore ways to reach the next generation for Christ. It can be a tricky proposition, and Kinnaman says we need to answer some important questions, such as, “How can we disciple a generation where Jesus is a Facebook friend to many and not necessarily a Savior?”

Evidence shows that people mentally check out of church around age 16, says David Kinnaman, president of The Barna Group. But it’s a problem he believes we can do something about.

In this provocative audio download, Kinnaman engages Foursquare pastors and youth leaders in a Learning and Connection Track recorded live at Foursquare Connection 2012 in Phoenix.

Some of today’s youth see themselves as “exiles,” Kinnaman says, individuals who are stuck between culture and the church. “Their faith doesn’t connect with the field they are called to,” he notes. The challenge Christian leaders face is finding a way to reconnect exiles to their faith in a vibrant, relevant way.

Another common group identified by Kinnaman’s research— a group that represents 4 in 10 Christian young people—is “nomads,” youth who say they haven’t lost their faith but admit they have wandered away from their roots in the church. Some Christians give up on nomads, thinking they have completely turned their backs on God.

Kinnaman gives the example of pop star and public bad girl Katy Perry, who recently told Rolling Stone Magazine that she likes to pray in tongues. The comment sparked controversy among churchgoers, but also prompted Kinnaman to remind Christian leaders that, after all, Katy was raised in church.

So what do we do with the next generation—exiles, nomads and others—who need Christ and a caring Christian community?

Kinnaman joins Foursquare National NextGen Representative Kelly Fellows and National Missional Coach Bill Gross in an honest look at the realities we face, and the journey many young Christians take inside and outside the church.

Tough questions are asked, including, “Does Christianity really matter in an era of complexity?” To some, Christianity doesn’t fully make sense in a complex world. But Kinnaman says we need “prophetic imagination to view what is really occurring in this generation.”

Kinnaman believes the kind of Christianity our kids live out is going to be global, less prosperous, ethnically and politically diverse, and sometimes difficult. He says the next generation is going to be in the world but not of the world, just as Jesus instructed.

Research suggests that nomads need a new vision of what church looks like, and that they want more than just a worship service on Sunday mornings. The Barna president asserts that responsive Christian leaders will reshape their ministries to focus more on mission, so that young people can become what they should be in Christ.

Kinnaman encourages leaders to focus on individual lives rather than trying to reach the entire generation. Instead of reaching the masses, he says, “we need to think in terms of helping individual young filmmakers, journalists, teachers and scientists become what God wants them to be.” He says we must utilize the older generation, a natural resource of the church, to help the next generation mature in Christ and in their God-given calling to succeed.

One of the challenges in listening to this audio download is that you can’t see the PowerPoint presentation that includes a list of “nine takeaways” that Kinnaman references from his book You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church … and Rethinking Faith (Baker Books). Seeing the list is not absolutely essential to benefiting from this audio session, but it would help to have the book in hand as you listen. The session concludes with an extended time of questions and answers as Kinnaman interacts with Foursquare NextGen leaders.

To see more from Connection 2012, click here.

Integrated Strategies for NextGen Ministries and Discipleship (105 minutes)

Effective ministry with children, youth and young adults is the subject of these interactive sessions where NextGen leaders share their ideas, challenges and solutions

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Churches of under 150 people - Part 1 (117 minutes)

Facilitator: Southwest District NextGen Representative Marcus Ellington

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Churches of 151-300 people (113 minutes)

Facilitator: Mid-Atlantic District NextGen Representative Lesli Klingenmeier

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Churches of 301-750 - Part 1 (117 minutes)

Facilitator: Pacific Coast and Valleys District NextGen Representative John Cox

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Churches of 301-750 - Part 2 (119 minutes)

Facilitator: Pacific Coast and Valleys District NextGen Representative John Cox

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Churches of 750 or more people (124 minutes)

Facilitator: Youth Pastor Ryan Brown of New Life (Canby Foursquare Church) in the North Pacific District

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