The necessity of reaching the millennial generation with the Gospel and the proper method by which to accomplish that has been on the rise in recent years. While much of this discussion has been helpful and even enlightening to this reviewer, some of the concepts presented have been less than helpful. This conversation often revolves around how to “best” reach people, but in my estimation it is primarily a conversation that centers on who has the best statistical evidence for their position rather than developing a cogent methodology on to reach this age group with the Gospel. While that statement may be overly generic, this is my sense of the current overall conversation. Thankfully in the past few weeks, I’ve also seen an increase in books and articles that seek to engage in more than just statistics, writings that pursue actual engagement on how to best reach this age group. One of these helpful books is The Post-Church Christian: Dealing With the Generational Baggage of Our Faith by father and son J. Paul Nyquist and Carson Nyquist.
The first five chapters of this book are written by millennial Carson Nyquist who seeks to represent the millennial perspective on the Church. The second part of the book is by Paul Nyquist, who represents the baby-boomer generation. The book concludes with an exploration of the future leaders of the church by Paul Nyquist and Restoring Faith and the Church by Carson Nyquist.
The strength of this book is in the second section. While the first section seeks to explain the millennial viewpoint, as one who is just outside what would be considered millennial, I found that I didn’t connect with much of what Carson was saying. This is not to say that what he said is bad as I think some of his ideas about what others outside the Church think about Christianity are good. I liked how Carson focused on how we can build relationships with fellow believers and those outside the faith with the Gospel. With that said, to me it seemed he was saying the same thing that others have already said. As I stated, this is not to take away from what Carson said, but the strength of this book is in the second section where Paul seeks to speak to millennial Christians as a baby-boomer Christian about how to best engage our culture with the Gospel.
As I read the second section of this book, I didn’t feel like Paul was talking down to those who are younger than he is at all. This is a huge plus for this book. Being 32 and someone who is younger, I look up to many older godly pastors and ministry leaders. I look to their faithfulness to the Gospel and the Word of God and how what they believe informs how they live out their lives. To me this is essential when looking for someone who is going to guide me on any topic. Thankfully, Paul provides sound doctrine and a model for how my generation can follow Jesus Christ in faithfulness to the Word and the Gospel. Paul starts out by explaining the importance of the local Church. This topic is no small issue for my generation as well as other issues such as the reputation of the church, those who have been hurt by the church, and using our freedom in a godly way for the Gospel. All of those are hot button issues in my generation and likely remain so for some time given we are Christians who live in a post-Christian society.
I was attracted to this book because it sought to have a conversation between a father and a son. As I read this book, I was not disappointed by the conversation that occurred. My age group has been decimated by absentee fathers so seeing a father and son contribute their thoughts in book form I believe is helpful for this generation. Moreover, this is a father and son talking about some of the most important issues facing the church. They avoid talking past each other, instead, they rightfully engage their respective age groups and each other’s generation. This kind of genuine dialog gives me hope for the future. What my age group needs is mentors, those who have walked the hard paths of ministry and life as those who are younger like myself take up leadership in the United States and around the world in local churches and ministries. What we need are mentors who have been there and done that, men who have walked the old paths for many years and can pass on what they have learned.
The Post Church Christian: Dealing With the Generational Baggage of Our Faith is a very good book on a number of fronts. First, this book is about the local church. Second, this book is about the Gospel. Third, this book contains many insights some of which you may agree with and some you may not. This book will spur your thinking causing you to consider the implications for your own life and ministry. Finally, this transparent and well-written book helps navigate the generational divide through a conversation with a father and son who understand each other but who see things differently. This is exactly the type of conversation we need to have with one another, specifically, a multi-generational conversation focused on the Bible, grounded in the Gospel, and for the Church. I highly recommend this book and pray church leaders, ministry leaders, seminary students, and small groups will read, digest, and discuss this book together.
Authors: J. Paul ,Nyquist and Carson Nyquist
Publisher: Moody (2013)
I received this for free from Moody book review program for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”