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Faith for Exiles: Five Ways to Help Young Christians Be Resilient, Follow Jesus, and Live Differently in Digital Babylon

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In a series of groundbreaking studies that led to two bestselling books, David Kinnaman and his Barna Group uncovered the truth about why young people are increasingly resisting and rejecting the church. But the news isn't all bleak. Recent analysis of Barna's incredible store of data reveals a hidden hope: the church is already perfectly equipped to meet young people's de In a series of groundbreaking studies that led to two bestselling books, David Kinnaman and his Barna Group uncovered the truth about why young people are increasingly resisting and rejecting the church. But the news isn't all bleak. Recent analysis of Barna's incredible store of data reveals a hidden hope: the church is already perfectly equipped to meet young people's deepest desires and most pressing needs. In Faith for Exiles, David Kinnaman teams up with former executive director of Youth Specialties Mark Matlock to reveal five formational practices that have the power to cultivate resilient faith in the next generation. Drawing on groundbreaking insights and never-before-released data, Kinnaman and Matlock show readers that God has not given up on the American church. In fact, the church is needed now more than ever. Pastors, youth ministers, and concerned culture-watchers will find the hope they've been looking for as they navigate a rapidly changing, increasingly alien culture alongside young, faithful, thriving Christians exiled in digital Babylon.


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In a series of groundbreaking studies that led to two bestselling books, David Kinnaman and his Barna Group uncovered the truth about why young people are increasingly resisting and rejecting the church. But the news isn't all bleak. Recent analysis of Barna's incredible store of data reveals a hidden hope: the church is already perfectly equipped to meet young people's de In a series of groundbreaking studies that led to two bestselling books, David Kinnaman and his Barna Group uncovered the truth about why young people are increasingly resisting and rejecting the church. But the news isn't all bleak. Recent analysis of Barna's incredible store of data reveals a hidden hope: the church is already perfectly equipped to meet young people's deepest desires and most pressing needs. In Faith for Exiles, David Kinnaman teams up with former executive director of Youth Specialties Mark Matlock to reveal five formational practices that have the power to cultivate resilient faith in the next generation. Drawing on groundbreaking insights and never-before-released data, Kinnaman and Matlock show readers that God has not given up on the American church. In fact, the church is needed now more than ever. Pastors, youth ministers, and concerned culture-watchers will find the hope they've been looking for as they navigate a rapidly changing, increasingly alien culture alongside young, faithful, thriving Christians exiled in digital Babylon.

30 review for Faith for Exiles: Five Ways to Help Young Christians Be Resilient, Follow Jesus, and Live Differently in Digital Babylon

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Farley

    Of all the books I have read in 2019, this one has probably impacted me the most. My mind is informed, my heart is enflamed, and I am ready to make some changes in my life personally. Grateful for this read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    This is a must read for anyone working in Christian ministry today.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    Summary: The results of a Barna study identifying five defining characteristics of resilient young Christians who continue to pursue Christ in our generation. David Kinnaman has been studying youth culture for some time, especially trying to understand the reasons many young people are leaving the church, detailed in his book You Lost Me, reviewed here several years ago. This book is different. Based, as were his previous books on Barna research, he and his co-author Mark Matlock look at five key Summary: The results of a Barna study identifying five defining characteristics of resilient young Christians who continue to pursue Christ in our generation. David Kinnaman has been studying youth culture for some time, especially trying to understand the reasons many young people are leaving the church, detailed in his book You Lost Me, reviewed here several years ago. This book is different. Based, as were his previous books on Barna research, he and his co-author Mark Matlock look at five key practices that help account for a resilient Christian faith amid what they call "digital Babylon" in which are youth are often discipled far more on their screens than in their churches. The book walks through each of these five practices and the survey data that distinguishes "resilients" from prodigals/ex-Christians, nomads who are unchurched, and habitual church goers. These practices are: 1. To form a resilient identity, experience intimacy with Jesus. Resilients clearly identify as Christian, consider Christ central, experience intimacy with God and talk with Jesus. 2. In a complex and anxious age, develop the muscles of cultural discernment. They learn wisdom for living faithfully, with those who differ, stewarding their sexuality and their money. The Bible serves as an anchor for that wisdom and resilients spend far more time digesting Christian content. 3. When isolation and mistrust are the norms, forge meaningful, intergenerational relationships. Resilients connect meaningfully to a local congregation and have strong relationships with adults one and two generations ahead of them, especially those who genuinely care for them without ulterior motives. 4. To ground and motivate an ambitious generation, train for vocational discipleship. Resilients are equipped with a robust theology of work and calling and engaged Christianly in their workplaces. There is no sacred-secular divide and Christians are supported and equipped for workplace discipleship. 5. Curb entitlement and self-centered tendencies by engaging in countercultural mission. Resilients have a strong sense of mission worked out in countercultural practice in their lives. They live as exiles in Babylon discerningly seeking the peace and prosperity of the city. Life is about the big thing God is up to in the world and not one's personal fulfillment. The book both explores the practices of churches that have equipped resilients, including a special section on mentoring, and tells stories of many Millennials and Generation Z youth who are living the resilient life outlined in these pages. The book strikes the right combination of stories and statistics, empirically grounding and personally elaborating its conclusions. This is not the book to provide fodder for intergenerational criticism, but rather one that offers hope for what God is doing in the rising generation, and wisdom for those in preceding generations who want to bless, mentor, and release these resilient disciples. ________________________________ Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    The Barna Group research previously found that young Christians are avoiding Christianity and leaving the church. Rather than concentrating this time on those leaving the church, they focused on young Christians who remained vibrant in their faith. Kinnaman and Matlock have distilled their research down to five guidelines for passing on a lasting faith in a culture hostile to Christianity. It was no surprise to me that the first guideline is having a transformational experience with Jesus and es The Barna Group research previously found that young Christians are avoiding Christianity and leaving the church. Rather than concentrating this time on those leaving the church, they focused on young Christians who remained vibrant in their faith. Kinnaman and Matlock have distilled their research down to five guidelines for passing on a lasting faith in a culture hostile to Christianity. It was no surprise to me that the first guideline is having a transformational experience with Jesus and establishing a meaningful relationship with Him. Other guidelines include training in cultural discernment, meaningful intergenerational relationships, vocational discipleship, and countercultural mission. There is a need for young people to know how to think Christianly, develop a Christian worldview, have meaningful relationships, and be discerning in this pluralistic culture. This is a book every youth pastor would do well to read and probably all parents. The authors' writing style is a bit academic in nature but the material the book contains is worth the effort. I appreciate how they draw our attention to the current culture. A generation ago, the Bible was still recognized as an authority for truth and morality. It is no longer a prominent authority and Christian faith has been pushed to the margins. They describe the current culture as a “digital Babylon.” Just about anything we want, whether information, advice, or entertainment, is readily available. Maintaining a vibrant Christian faith in such a new environment is a challenge. We are in an era when we can no longer do church and youth discipleship the way we've been doing it for decades. Reading this book will give church leaders insight into a strategy to pass on a vibrant faith to young people. I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Joel Jackson

    Using the sound research typically produced through The Barna Group, David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock explore how millennials understand and live out their faith. Their previous book, "You Lost Me" considered those millennials who have left the faith and how the church should approach this reality. In "Faith For Exiles," Kinnaman and Matlock explore the opposite reality. While many millennials have left their faith in Christ, many still remain and they are living out their faith in positive and h Using the sound research typically produced through The Barna Group, David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock explore how millennials understand and live out their faith. Their previous book, "You Lost Me" considered those millennials who have left the faith and how the church should approach this reality. In "Faith For Exiles," Kinnaman and Matlock explore the opposite reality. While many millennials have left their faith in Christ, many still remain and they are living out their faith in positive and healthy ways. The church needs to consider the five areas of faith expressed throughout this book, learn from faithful millennials, and discover how faith is relevant for this generation. This young generation has much to teach the increasing aged church in the USA. The five areas of vitality in the faith of millennials are intimacy with Jesus, having muscles of cultural discernment, forging meaningful, intergenerational relationships, training for vocational discipleship (living out the Christian faith in the workplace), and engaging in countercultural mission. All of these principles are Biblical sound. The church should sit up and notice faithful millennials and truly consider how they challenge the church to live faithfully for Christ. I received this book as part of Baker Book Group's Blogging Program.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Beth Fender

    I disagree with the authors theologically. I would have worded many of the research questions differently. I’m not entirely on board with the wording of their definition of discipleship, though resilient faith sounds good. My “worldview” simply doesn’t match theirs. And I flat out disagree with their assumption that part of making disciples is teaching them what to think. All that said, I find common ground with the authors around most of their 5 practices (especially 1, 3, and 4). I deeply appr I disagree with the authors theologically. I would have worded many of the research questions differently. I’m not entirely on board with the wording of their definition of discipleship, though resilient faith sounds good. My “worldview” simply doesn’t match theirs. And I flat out disagree with their assumption that part of making disciples is teaching them what to think. All that said, I find common ground with the authors around most of their 5 practices (especially 1, 3, and 4). I deeply appreciate their research based methodology and the distinction they draw between habitual church attenders and resilient, faithful disciples. I appreciate their bluntness in pointing out that we must become resilient disciples if we hope to make them. I find hope in the statistic that 10% of young Christians are resilient disciples. Serious discipleship never was attractive to everyone. I would be curious to know what percentage of Boomers or Gen X (a generation the authors stubbornly refuse to acknowledge throughout the book) would qualify as resilient disciples. And I agree that we (church leaders) must do better at learning with and from Millennials and Gen Z rather than dismissing or criticizing them.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elisha Lawrence

    A book written about young people that's filled with hope...We need more books like this. This is my 2nd Kinnaman book (Good Faith 1st) and I'm grateful for his work in research with Barna. He exegetes his research and synthesizes it into creative instruction for the church. Faith for Exiles gives 5 ways that churches should care for the young people in their churches. As a college pastor, this was thought-provoking. He gave a simple formula...Hope+Realism=Resilience. This formula and the 5 insi A book written about young people that's filled with hope...We need more books like this. This is my 2nd Kinnaman book (Good Faith 1st) and I'm grateful for his work in research with Barna. He exegetes his research and synthesizes it into creative instruction for the church. Faith for Exiles gives 5 ways that churches should care for the young people in their churches. As a college pastor, this was thought-provoking. He gave a simple formula...Hope+Realism=Resilience. This formula and the 5 insights into how to disciple young people into resilient Christians were fantastic. I can see those 5 points as clear goals for the students I work with. I'm refreshed in my desire to see people change and hopeful that God can move among young people!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nigel Fortescue

    A super helpful examination of what makes a resilient disciple in the 21st Century based on research interpreted through Scripture. Recommended read for anyone in pastoral ministry. My take away is to “Make it real”! I struggle in sermon and home group application sometimes to make the abstract hit home with depth and substance. What this book underlines is the need for me to work harder at teasing out the practicalities of authentic faith. The new generation don’t need bling. They need deep exe A super helpful examination of what makes a resilient disciple in the 21st Century based on research interpreted through Scripture. Recommended read for anyone in pastoral ministry. My take away is to “Make it real”! I struggle in sermon and home group application sometimes to make the abstract hit home with depth and substance. What this book underlines is the need for me to work harder at teasing out the practicalities of authentic faith. The new generation don’t need bling. They need deep exegetical insight that points them in the direction of the real Jesus with personal and authentic examples of what that looks like in the wild. A challenge and an opportunity.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Scarlett Elsik

    This is a book the church needs in this generation. It is exceptionally prophetic, filled with wisdom and research. It shines light to where our generation struggles with discipleship and what will happen if there is no change. It gives incredible research and practical steps that have the potential to change ministry programs and entire churches. Get ready to take notes. You will want to write this stuff down.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Hegeman

    This is an excellent combination of pastoral theology, strategic planning, and statistical data. Altogether guiding a really needed and helpful discussion on how we as followers of Jesus continue in resiliency in a culture where we are becoming more and more "exiles" in a land not our own. I'd highly recommend this to anyone who is caring spiritually for people in this current cultural climate (especially to youth and young adults pastors who are forming models of ministry).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tim Littleford

    Just super helpful. Helpful for lead pastors, helpful for church eldership, helpful for youth and young adult leaders, helpful for parents. Helpful for anyone who wants to resiliently follow Jesus for the long haul in this "Digital Babylon" and help others to do the same. I will reference this book for a long time. So good.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Daunavan Buyer

    This is a great book. As a young adults pastor I encourage all of my friends who work with youth or young adults to pick it up and seek to put some of these practices into your ministry! It’s super practical and research-based... with lots of ideas.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mike Wardrop

    An extraordinary, important book of research and wisdom on how Christians can live faithfully in a post-modern world of ‘exile’.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Slous

    Should be required reading for anyone wanting to disciple the next generations with CHRIST-centred, OTHERS-focused faith.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Monaco

    AMEN. Come Lord Jesus. Anyone with young people in their life wanting to encourage them toward Jesus needs to pick this up and inhale it deeply.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jared Townley

    Following his previous book “You Lost Me”, Kinnaman shares 5 principals for following Jesus in the cultural moment that he describes as Digital Babylon. This book is a beautiful combination of data and practical suggestions based upon that data for living as a follower of Jesus in the 21st century.

  17. 4 out of 5

    George P.

    Many Christians in America feel alienated from their culture. David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock explain why when they describe changes happening in North America and elsewhere as a transition from “from faith at the center to faith at the margins.” Moving from the cultural center to the cultural margin is a profoundly disconcerting experience. No wonder, then, that so many of us look to Biblical stories about the Babylonian exile to formulate our response to an increasingly post-Christian America. Many Christians in America feel alienated from their culture. David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock explain why when they describe changes happening in North America and elsewhere as a transition from “from faith at the center to faith at the margins.” Moving from the cultural center to the cultural margin is a profoundly disconcerting experience. No wonder, then, that so many of us look to Biblical stories about the Babylonian exile to formulate our response to an increasingly post-Christian America. This includes Kinnaman and Matlock, whose new book is titled, Faith for Exiles: 5 Ways for a New Generation to Follow Jesus in Digital Babylon. Kinnaman is president of Barna Group, a leading research company; Matlock is principal of WisdomWorks, a leadership consulting firm. According to them, digital Babylon describes America’s “accelerated, complex culture that is marked by phenomenal access, profound alienation, and a crisis of authority.” This definition draws on Kinnaman’s earlier book, You Lost Me, as well as subsequent Barna research. The earlier book asked why young adults raised in church were leaving the faith. Faith in Exile asks why they’re staying. Kinnaman and Matlock focus on the experience of young Americans, ages 18 to 29, who grew up Christian. They offer a fourfold typology of these young adults: * Prodigals “do not currently identify as Christian” (22 percent of total); * Nomads “identify as Christian but have not attended church during the past month” (30 percent); * Habitual Churchgoers “describe themselves as Christian and…have attended church at least once in the past month, yet do not meet foundational core beliefs or behaviors associated with being an intentional, engaged disciple” (38 percent); and * Resilient Disciples are “Christ followers who (1) attend church at least monthly and engage with their church more than just attending worship services; (2) trust firmly in the authority of the Bible; (3) are committed to Jesus personally and affirm he was crucified and raised form the dead to conquer sin and death; and (4) express desire to transform the broader society as an outcome of their faith.” The authors believe that the goal of a church’s discipleship ministry today is “to develop Jesus followers who are resiliently faithful in the face of cultural coercion and who live a vibrant life in the Spirit.” In other words, the goal is to develop resilient disciples. Faith in Exiles drills down on the quantitative and qualitative data that underlies Barna’s research and identifies five practices that characterize resilient disciples. They are: 1. To form a resilient identity, experience intimacy with Jesus. 2. Ina complex and anxious age, develop the muscles of cultural discernment. 3. When isolation and mistrust are the norms, forge meaningful, intergenerational relationship. 4. To ground and motivate an ambitious generation, train for vocational discipleship. 5. Curb entitlement and self-centered tendencies by engaging in countercultural mission. Though the five practices emerged from Barna’s research, Kinnaman and Matlock show they are consistent with Scripture and illustrate them with anecdotes from everyday life. As a parent and as a Christian minister, these five practices resonate with my own experiences and goals. One of the tendencies I have noticed among my fellow Christians is a tendency to retreat behind the barriers of safe, institutional Christianity. Somewhat ironically, the most vibrant, effective Christians I know resist this tendency. They are “in” the world, but not “of” it, to borrow language from Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer in John 17:16, 18. If our children or church members never venture beyond the four walls of the Church, they will never develop the spiritual, intellectual, and missional muscles that Christ exercised and expects His followers to develop. So, who should read this book? Pastors and other church leaders, of course, who are charged by Jesus Christ to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). I also think Christian parents could benefit from reading the book, however. I know I have. Book Reviewed David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock, Faith for Exiles: 5 Ways for a New Generation to Follow Jesus in Digital Babylon (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2019). P.S. If you liked my review, please click “Helpful” on my Amazon review page.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Steven Evans

    This book had some practical applications that were helpful. First the description of Digital Babylon is an apt one. I've found identity in Christ to be foundational in ministering to the younger generation. Cultural discernment is necessary - you have to know the pressures to respond to them. Forging intentional inter-generational relationships is extremely valuable (the elders are supposed to teach the younger) and often missing. Showing others what Christianity looks like in the workplace has This book had some practical applications that were helpful. First the description of Digital Babylon is an apt one. I've found identity in Christ to be foundational in ministering to the younger generation. Cultural discernment is necessary - you have to know the pressures to respond to them. Forging intentional inter-generational relationships is extremely valuable (the elders are supposed to teach the younger) and often missing. Showing others what Christianity looks like in the workplace has been a passion of mine. And lastly we do need to hear the counter-cultural call of Christ. So I agree with their diagnosis of the problem. But this book is primarily founded on Barna group social survey results. Therefore 1) it reads like a technical report in many places which is not great. However as a writer of technical reports, that is a practice that is hard to break from. But 2) where I have trouble is that the authors do not move from reliance upon the survey results to identify the problem back to the Bible for answers. Rather, the survey results were used to inform what resilient Christians look like and build the "5 proven ways" to follow Jesus in digital Babylon. The assumption underlying the book seems to be that a social survey will inform us as to the best way to figure out how we should disciple. Well then your Christianity is only going to be as good as your survey. The social surveys they conducted do a good job of identifying problems, but not addressing them. I just would have liked to have seen a stronger turn away from the survey results and toward the Bible. For that reason this one is 2.5 stars for me according to the Goodreads metric. It was ok with some things to like.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chris Branscome

    We all know that screens, the internet and social media have dramatically altered the way we see ourselves and the world. Faith For Exiles sets out to help us disciple those who have grown up in this "digital Babylon" and have been thus altered. First, the authors give us an overview of the implications of living in a digital age and how it has affected our culture, and particularly how it has impacted how our culture perceives Christianity. Next, we are given a profile of "Resilients," Christia We all know that screens, the internet and social media have dramatically altered the way we see ourselves and the world. Faith For Exiles sets out to help us disciple those who have grown up in this "digital Babylon" and have been thus altered. First, the authors give us an overview of the implications of living in a digital age and how it has affected our culture, and particularly how it has impacted how our culture perceives Christianity. Next, we are given a profile of "Resilients," Christians whose commitment to following Jesus has remained strong in spite of the societal pull away from Him. The two authors are closely connected with the Barna Research Group, whose formidable data mining resources are brought to bear on helping us understand what makes "Resilients" so resilient. Based on the factors that have influenced these committed disciples of Christ, the authors offer advice about what needs to be done as we help to disciple others, particularly youth, in order to help them develop the same level of commitment. In one sense, there is nothing new here. Humans have always tended toward narcissism and laziness. The most effective means of discipleship have always been the most effective means. The advice offered in this book for fruitful disciple-making is the same as what would have been effective 100 years ago. And as long as we're talking about the shortcomings of this book, it could have been more concise. Additionally, where the research and statistics are concerned, it's sometimes (but not always) difficult to discern when discussing the factors that accompany Resilients which is the cause and which is the effect–the factor or the resilience, though the authors do point this out. However, it is true that that digital media and the internet have brought about a very real change in how our inherent self-centeredness and desire for instant gratification plays out. While those traits have always been there, the digital culture validates those traits and redefines them as virtues. For understanding discipleship among those who share this worldview, Faith for Exiles contains much good information and advice, backed up by good research. If you are a parent of Millennials or younger, or if you are in a position of influence over younger people and have a desire to help them grow into disciples whose relationship with God can withstand massive cultural resistance, there is some great insight here. If you are older than Millennials and haven't spent much time trying to understand the worldview of the generations who are younger than you, Faith for Exiles will give you some excellent guidance.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    They had me at the Tolkien quote on the front page. I’m a long time fan of Daivd Kinnaman’s work and a newbie to Mark Matlock’s, having read, and incorporated into my doctoral thesis, pretty much all of Kinnaman’s titles. It did not disappoint. While many of us in church leadership wring our hands over the exodus of young people from the church, documented so well in the books mentioned above, the authors offer here a portrait of the kind of young believer who stays—thus affording us a chance to c They had me at the Tolkien quote on the front page. I’m a long time fan of Daivd Kinnaman’s work and a newbie to Mark Matlock’s, having read, and incorporated into my doctoral thesis, pretty much all of Kinnaman’s titles. It did not disappoint. While many of us in church leadership wring our hands over the exodus of young people from the church, documented so well in the books mentioned above, the authors offer here a portrait of the kind of young believer who stays—thus affording us a chance to change the equation, if we pay attention. This is good news for both church leaders and parents. Parents of littles—don’t believe you have to wait for this information. Discipleship begins young, very young, and having a front-row seat to learn all you can now about how kids stay faithful matters. Kinnaman and Matlock begin with the accurate premise that we no longer live in the Promised Land. We are exiles in Babylon who must look to the prophets for our wisdom more than the Exodus. Our culture is not Christian, but God wants us to be Christians in our culture. Digital Babylon, as the title explains, is not a concrete place but an interwoven haze of electronic environment that overhangs and fogs us all. The younger generation are both more aware of its potential and more susceptible to its siren call. The authors first make the case for the dangers ( as well as the potential) of digital Babylon, and they make it well. Those of us who did not come of age surrounded by electronics, available 24/7, conscious of our pubic image at all times, do not understand this, no matter how much we research it. The focus of the book, however, is not on the problem but on the solution. How do we raise what they refer to as “resilient Christians”—young people who remain in church, retain their active faith, and recharge their world while in Babylon? Five things stood out as they interviewed the ones who stay. Resilient Christians, those whose faith remains strong and active, have five characteristic practices that the book outlines and illustrates. These aren’t difficult practices. But they are deliberate, intentional, and time-consuming. They do require changing our framework from entertaining and evangelizing to discipling and serving. I’ll finish with this quote one of the greatest truths of discipleship, yet one we forgo time and again when it comes to young people. “In digital Babylon, faithful, resilient disciples are handcrafted one life at a time.”

  21. 4 out of 5

    Christen Fox

    Faith for Exiles: 5 Ways for a New Generation to Follow Jesus in Digital Babylon by David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock is an eye-opening book that addresses the power of technology on Generation Z and the digital, secular world we live in. First off, this book is a genius collaboration co-written by Christian author and president of Barna Group (Kinnaman) along with Christian author, minister, youth leader, and former executive director of Youth Specialities (Matlock). Their unique perspectives and Faith for Exiles: 5 Ways for a New Generation to Follow Jesus in Digital Babylon by David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock is an eye-opening book that addresses the power of technology on Generation Z and the digital, secular world we live in. First off, this book is a genius collaboration co-written by Christian author and president of Barna Group (Kinnaman) along with Christian author, minister, youth leader, and former executive director of Youth Specialities (Matlock). Their unique perspectives and personal experiences bring valuable insight to the concept of relating today’s world as a digitial Babylon. Using Babylon as a link to our modern world today is not an entirely new comparison but is still one that is valid and applicable. The bottom line is that the problems Christians faced in the Bible may be different than what we are experiencing today but nonetheless they are the same in how they are impacting and influencing a generation for better or for worse. Still, like many biblical legends who fought against the currents of culture and proved faithful and resilient to the God of all creation, we can be encouraged today to rise up and proactively pursue a God-centered, biblically driven, counter-cultural life. Using research and practices observed over the past ten years, Kinnaman and Matlock developed five patterns of intentional behavior that can guide and cultivate disciples in a culture-driven, tech-obsessed world. These practices include 1) experiencing intimacy with Jesus by forming a resilient identity in Him, 2) developing and strengthening cultural discernment, 3) creating and maintaining intergenerational relationships and mentorships, 4) encouraging and training vocational discipleship, and 5) engaging in countercultural mission within an entitled, “selfie”-centered society. I personally found much benefit from the plethora of research included throughout this book. I also thought Faith for Exiles was authentic in both its findings and in its approach to prepare young Christians to be on mission with Jesus and thrive in a culture where Christianity is not the popular choice. I would recommend this book to youth leaders, pastors, parents, grandparents and anyone interested in discipling, mentoring and impacting Generation Z. * I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review

  22. 5 out of 5

    Karl Dumas

    The other day I was collecting money at a charity event and someone asked if we could take anything but cash. If the right person was there, we could use an app on his phone to take credit cards, but for the most part we were taking cash. As we waited for the guy with the app to come back, we started talking, and this young man informed me that he had recently been at a crypto-currency conference, and tried to explain what it was. I just learning about things like venmo and square and this guy i The other day I was collecting money at a charity event and someone asked if we could take anything but cash. If the right person was there, we could use an app on his phone to take credit cards, but for the most part we were taking cash. As we waited for the guy with the app to come back, we started talking, and this young man informed me that he had recently been at a crypto-currency conference, and tried to explain what it was. I just learning about things like venmo and square and this guy is talking about money that doesn’t really exist except, apparently, in cyber space. There’s about 45 years difference in our ages, we’re both Americans, we both were speaking English, but we might as well have been from different planets. And that seems to be a major problem for our society and for our churches today. Different generations have different languages, different values, different aspirations, different work ethics, and yes, even different meaning for words that have been in use in this country for decades, even centuries. Faith for Exiles: 5 Ways for a New Generation to Follow Jesus in Digital Babylon by David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock addresses this issue in a research-based way, and look at what’s happening in local churches as the younger generations become totally immersed in technology, and older generations are quickly becoming left further and further behind. For some people it appears that the gap is so wide that it appears there is no way to bridge it, but Kinnaman and Matlock have hope that the Church will prevail. The differences are not as great as they mean seem at first blush. It will just take some willingness to see things through the eyes of another generation, and then trust that Christ has got this. I received a copy of this book from the publisher as a member of the launch team. I was expected to read the book and share my thoughts about it on my blog and by writing a review. Although I did not find this book as helpful as some of the other books I’ve read by Kinnaman, I would still recommend it to pastors and ministry leaders

  23. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Liles

    There are a slew of voices every where telling us which way to go and to grow. First off we have our parents and friends, next we have extended family like grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles and even cousins. But what can we do to help our next generation grow up in a world of technology and in this digital world? David and Mark both answer that with this book Faith for Exiles. It comes to my attention, even as a programmer myself, that there is a time and place for technology to take a back seat There are a slew of voices every where telling us which way to go and to grow. First off we have our parents and friends, next we have extended family like grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles and even cousins. But what can we do to help our next generation grow up in a world of technology and in this digital world? David and Mark both answer that with this book Faith for Exiles. It comes to my attention, even as a programmer myself, that there is a time and place for technology to take a back seat and to re-prioritize our family time. Granted, even in my youth we did our best to find ways to disengage in our own way, and today's youth is no different. From topics such as depressions, suicide, sex, babies, etc., so forth and so on, many of us believe and think it's okay to simply stop talking to those who love us the most: primarily our families and then next our friends. Society is built on these two things. The world we live in may hinge on the future as well as technology and the digital world being "normal" in a sense, but our focus needs to be helping each other. David and Mark do a wonderful job in the regard of letting us know what we can do to help those who are in need of a Savior: to pray for them, to make friends with them, to re-engage others so they see their value and their worth. The digital age doesn't and can't offer the kind of blessings and healing that only Jesus Christ can and that means we need to step up as disciples of a risen Lord waiting to see where our faith is: Him or this decaying world. I received this book complimentary from Baker Books for a fair and honest review. I can say this much -- it's a wonderful book to help us re-engage those in society to finding a better way, one in which we prosper and help one another to heal and to keep our eyes simply on Christ, not this world.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Evelyn Fonseca

    David Kinnaman of Barna Group and Mark Matlock team up to bring us this important book on the importance of raising the new generation upon deeply rooted faith. This book focuses on the 10% of youth who, in contrast to the majority of their generation, have not left the church and are grounded in their faith. As a late-twenty-something myself, this book is somewhat relevant to me. Many things discussed here, I saw during my HS and college years. Faith for Exiles uncovers 5 foundational ways throu David Kinnaman of Barna Group and Mark Matlock team up to bring us this important book on the importance of raising the new generation upon deeply rooted faith. This book focuses on the 10% of youth who, in contrast to the majority of their generation, have not left the church and are grounded in their faith. As a late-twenty-something myself, this book is somewhat relevant to me. Many things discussed here, I saw during my HS and college years. Faith for Exiles uncovers 5 foundational ways through which youth need to be raised in, in order to produce resilient Christians. The authors refer to the current age as Digital Babylon since we rely heavily on technology for everything. The youth, especially who were born into and grew up surrounded by the technology, do not know life before it. This can have devasting consequences on their Christian upbringing. We have seen large numbers of youth leave the church and it's more often than not based on lax Christianity and upbringing. This book is definitely more on the academic side but the information provided through statistics is very important and youth pastors/ parents and all who work with youth would benefit from reading it. I count myself in the 10% who have never left the church or my faith and many reasons why I can attest to are because of several points discussed here. I was blessed to have grown up in a real Christian home with adults who displayed genuine Christian character and led me into a deeper and meaningful relationship with God. So I agree with all the points discussed here. I recommend this book! I received a copy from Baker in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jen Bradbury

    I love geeking out on research. And when that research is related to youth ministry, it’s even better. For that reason, I was excited to read David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock’s Faith For Exiles: 5 Ways for a New Generation to Follow Jesus in Digital Babylon. This book builds off previous research from Barna and explores five practices that contribute to the development of resilient faith in emerging adults. For Kinnaman and Matlock, “resilient faith” is defined like this: “The goal of discipleship I love geeking out on research. And when that research is related to youth ministry, it’s even better. For that reason, I was excited to read David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock’s Faith For Exiles: 5 Ways for a New Generation to Follow Jesus in Digital Babylon. This book builds off previous research from Barna and explores five practices that contribute to the development of resilient faith in emerging adults. For Kinnaman and Matlock, “resilient faith” is defined like this: “The goal of discipleship today is to develop Jesus followers who are resiliently faithful in the face of cultural coercion and who live a vibrant life in the Spirit.” In so many ways, Faith For Exiles offers the good news regarding the faith formation of this generation. Faith For Exiles is an engaging and compelling read based on the premise that today’s American Christians have much to learn from the exile stories found in Scripture. As Kinnaman and Matlock explain, “Christians whose understanding of the world is framed by the Bible can think about our experience as living in a shift from Jerusalem to digital Babylon… In digital Babylon, where information (and any thing we could ever want or need) is instantly available at the godlike swipe of a finger, Almighty God has been squeezed to the margins.” As someone who does ministry in the local church, I found myself not only informed by Faith For Exiles but also challenged by it – especially the questions posed by Kinnaman and Matlock. I’m still contemplating what my answer to this question means for my ministry: “What if we envisioned culture as a character in the story of a person’s faith formation?” Thanks to my own research regarding what high school teens believe about Jesus (published in The Jesus Gap ), I was particularly interested in Kinnaman and Matlock’s finding that to form a resilient identity, you need to experience intimacy with Jesus. While this sounds simplistic, it jives with my own findings – especially the idea that “the church has responded to the identity pressures of our culture by offering young people a Jesus ‘brand experience’ rather than facilitating a transformational experience to find their identity in the person and work of Jesus.” Without a doubt, Faith For Exiles should be required reading for anyone who cares about the faith formation of young people. It would also be particularly helpful to read and discuss this book with a team of youth workers… Although as a youth worker, I would like nothing more than to also get Faith For Exiles into the hands of my senior pastor. Its findings have the potential to not only shape my youth ministry – but our church as a whole. **************************************************** I was honored to receive a copy of Faith for Exiles from Baker Books and chose to review the book. All opinions are my own.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Micah Roddy

    In ancient Babylon, the Israelites lived in a pluralistic, and many ways more accelerated culture than their homeland. Yet in this complex and diverse land, the Israelites were encouraged to be fruitful as they lived in exile. This ancient Babylon is very similar to the new “Digital Babylon” Gen. Z and Millennials are living in today. There is no shortage of publications on what churches are doing wrong to retain church dropouts; Faith For Exiles; 5 Ways for a New Generation to Follow Jesus in D In ancient Babylon, the Israelites lived in a pluralistic, and many ways more accelerated culture than their homeland. Yet in this complex and diverse land, the Israelites were encouraged to be fruitful as they lived in exile. This ancient Babylon is very similar to the new “Digital Babylon” Gen. Z and Millennials are living in today. There is no shortage of publications on what churches are doing wrong to retain church dropouts; Faith For Exiles; 5 Ways for a New Generation to Follow Jesus in Digital Babylon takes a different approach. Instead of looking at what the Church has done wrong, the latest findings from a Barna Study conducted over a ten year period focuses on what the church has done right. David Kinnaman (You Lost Me, Good Faith), president of Barna Group, and Mark Matlock (Smart Faith, Real World Parents), Principal at WisdomWorks, examine the research from the Barna Study to find out what churches are teaching young adults who stay connected and become “Resilient Disciples”. Throughout the research Barna categorized the participants into four groups; Ranging from Prodigals, those who no longer identify as Christian to a Resilient Disciple that not only attends church regularly but believes in Biblical authority and seeks to change the world around them as they grow closer to Christ. While only 10% of those surveyed are considered a Resilient Disciple, Kinnaman, Matlock, and the Barna Group identify five key traits that all Resilients share that could be a correlation for their lasting Faith. Through these five traits, that are all discipleship based, the Church can strengthen Faith for those in Exile in a Digital Babylon.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anssi Grekula

    The book is based on Barna Group's quantitative and qualitative social research: surveys and interviews of American millenials and iGen/Gen Z representatives. The research side seems solid, and quantitative findings are deepened by interview observations. Definitely a tricky topic to research, as it requires a lot of theological expertise and vocabulary as well. I was curious about the authors' thoughts about the "Digital Babylon" of the title. Well, I got the screen time, the algorithmic behavio The book is based on Barna Group's quantitative and qualitative social research: surveys and interviews of American millenials and iGen/Gen Z representatives. The research side seems solid, and quantitative findings are deepened by interview observations. Definitely a tricky topic to research, as it requires a lot of theological expertise and vocabulary as well. I was curious about the authors' thoughts about the "Digital Babylon" of the title. Well, I got the screen time, the algorithmic behaviour manipulation (referencing Jaron Lanier), and some other quite well established characteristics. I would've enjoyed a more thorough description of the Digital Babylon. Audiobook format made following the statistics a bit tricky. However, the content was mostly interesting. Accompanying PDF was mostly tables of survey result percentages. The vocation part was interesting, as "resilient exile" Christian young adults seem to aspire for careers in (1) entrepreneurship/business, (2) STEM, and (3) creative/arts. The authors are making a connection to Skye Jethani's thoughts in Futureville: "[in Genesis, ] God ordains work to accomplish three things: [1] to generate abundance, [2] to bring order, and [3] to cultivate beauty." (Faith for Exiles accompanying PDF p. 19). My question is, where are things such as education, care (as in care for elderly, changing diapers, being a nurse or medical GP), cleaning, etc.? How about housekeeping of stay-at-home spouses? Are they overlooked by the Resilients, Jethani, or Genesis? I'm sure it's useful for pastors and church leaders who are struggling with questions of relevance and diminishing attendance.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mary Lou

    “Screens disciple” is a key concept in Kinnaman and Matlock’s book Faith for Exiles. Their focus is on the power that the digital age is having on Millennials and Gen-Xers – from their “sky-high levels of church skepticism,” (p.112) to ways they “carefully curate what our own individual brand is: Brand Me” – as well as brand Jesus (p.49-50) to how “digital Babylon glitzes and blitzes our days so completely that we never get around to pursuing the deeper things of life (p.17). They claim: “Our te “Screens disciple” is a key concept in Kinnaman and Matlock’s book Faith for Exiles. Their focus is on the power that the digital age is having on Millennials and Gen-Xers – from their “sky-high levels of church skepticism,” (p.112) to ways they “carefully curate what our own individual brand is: Brand Me” – as well as brand Jesus (p.49-50) to how “digital Babylon glitzes and blitzes our days so completely that we never get around to pursuing the deeper things of life (p.17). They claim: “Our technology outdistances our theology” as “Almighty God has been squeezed to the margins” (p. 19, 20). Therefore, in order to raise resilient disciples in this context, they offer 5 practices “to develop Jesus followers who are resiliently faithful in the face of cultural coercion and who live a vibrant life in the Spirit” (p. 30). Their five practices balance a deeper walk with God within the context of church discipleship and a wide countercultural mission and thus provide tangible ways the church can engage [rather than lose] the young people they long to reach. The book is applicable globally, though the authors’ research has a definite North American base, and is a must-read for all Christians who also want to “develop Jesus followers who are resiliently faithful in the face of cultural coercion and who live a vibrant life in the Spirit” (p. 30). 5 stars M.L. Codman-Wilson, Ph.D., 10/4/19

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Pascoe

    I was honored to be a part of the book launch for this incredible resource and highly recommend it for parents, ministry staff, leadership, or anyone who is interested in generational differences.  The authors’ definition of discipleship “to develop Jesus followers who are resiliently faithful in the face of cultural coercion and who live a vibrant life in the Spirit” is just the type of ministry I am eager to be a part of. I am also a proponent of intergenerational ministry, which too often is I was honored to be a part of the book launch for this incredible resource and highly recommend it for parents, ministry staff, leadership, or anyone who is interested in generational differences.  The authors’ definition of discipleship “to develop Jesus followers who are resiliently faithful in the face of cultural coercion and who live a vibrant life in the Spirit” is just the type of ministry I am eager to be a part of. I am also a proponent of intergenerational ministry, which too often is overlooked and underappreciated by traditional churches (and secular organizations, alike) as our modern culture adheres to the myths that the “lazy” younger generations have nothing to offer and that the “crabby” older generations just don’t understand. We must step past these stereotypes and build better communications, especially in faith-based realms.  It is not effective or realistic to tell our young, new or exploring Christians to “think out of the box” and embrace STEM in school and work, then refuse to let go of the “because I said so” mentality in our places of worship.  If we expect the legacy of faith to endure for generations, new Christians need to own it.  We need to help them do that by helping them explore their faith where they are.  What has been done before isn’t necessarily going to be what is needed now—and the truth is, as this book clearly points out, it’s probably not. “The reality is that we in the older generations need knowledge and, yes, wisdom from younger believers, just as they need these from us. ...they must be instrumental in shaping the church …in digital Babylon” (from page 173).  The five practices in this book, combined with applicative narrative and quality research you can expect from Barna, is a must for anyone looking to help build a foundation for communication between generations of faith.  Regardless of your theology or your place in ministry, the information provided will help you be a better parent, youth director or leader in the digital age.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cyndee Ownbey

    While I’ve read several excellent books about Gen Z and the millennial generation, the majority of the content has been descriptive, not prescriptive. While I’ve gained a greater understanding of those we long to reach, I also find myself wishing for a “to-do” list. I’ve found it in this book! Kinnaman and Matlock sprinkle practical ideas through Faith of Exiles that we can implement in our churches to encourage and equip young adults. As a mom of two young adults that straddle the Gen Z and mille While I’ve read several excellent books about Gen Z and the millennial generation, the majority of the content has been descriptive, not prescriptive. While I’ve gained a greater understanding of those we long to reach, I also find myself wishing for a “to-do” list. I’ve found it in this book! Kinnaman and Matlock sprinkle practical ideas through Faith of Exiles that we can implement in our churches to encourage and equip young adults. As a mom of two young adults that straddle the Gen Z and millennial generation, I have a front-row seat to what life can be like for young Christian adults. The stories shared in Faith for Exiles, reflect what our sons have seen and experienced. As a women’s ministry leader, I highly recommend this book. Many women’s ministry teams are struggling to reach younger generations. Gen Z and millennials seem uninterested in our women’s ministry offerings. They rarely attend, and our efforts to reach out often fall flat. We may even assume the faith of these young adults is stagnant or lukewarm. Faith for Exiles reveals that’s not always true and offers advice for how we can better reach the next generation.

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