A Seat at the Table: A Generation Reimagining Its Place in the Church

Shawna Songer-Gaines, Author, Timothy R Gaines, Author
Shawna Songer Gaines & Timothy R. Gaines. Beacon Hill Press (www.nph.com), $14.99 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-0-8341-2835-4
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The problem of twenty-somethings leaving the church isn't a new one, but insights from co-pastors Gaines and Gaines could finally help church leaders fix the generational gap. Through the stories of a handful of young people who have left their churches, the authors demonstrate that older generations of Christians have classified young people as a homogenous group that should be placed into existing structures set up for their benefit (e.g., the "singles group"). This inability to acknowledge young people's individuality and organic interactions combined with a lack of trust (e.g., one church leader told young members "they were not qualified to lead a Bible study") have kept young people from finding their place in churches. These insights should give readers plenty to chew on, though they will have to get past the authors' excessive number of rhetorical questions and loose, repetitive writing. Still, Gaines and Gaines have reignited a tough discussion that should both humble churchgoers and help them refocus on serving one another instead of catering to divisive debates. (Oct.)
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