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Essential Church - A Must Read for all Youth, College, & Young Adult Workers

I just finished listening to the audiobook of Thom Rainer & Sam Rainer III's book Essential Church: Reclaiming a Generation of Dropouts and highly recommend it to all of those within churches who minister, volunteer, or work with middle school, high school, college, and young adults within the church. Although the focus is on studying dropouts (dechurched) from the church who are primarily in their 20s, the value of the research is remarkable for the spiritual formation of those teenagers who are still in church and preparation for the many life-changes they will hit as they exit their high school years. In this book, the authors explore why young adults leave "nonessential churches" and contrast it with "essential churches" that effectively close the back door in retaining believers active participation in the local church. Christians today cannot help but notice the trend of those who leave the church in their late teens or early 20s only to return when they begin a family or encounter a significant life-event. It is perplexing and troubling to those of us who understand and value the local church as God intends it. In the first century the followers of Christ were inextricably connected with the local church. In the 21st century we have a generation of Christians who views church as optional. Those of us connected and committed to God's work through the local church MUST work to help bring those claiming Christ back into the fellowship and protection of the flock. It may require some tough self-evaluation and changes within our churches, but the potential reward in the lives of believers and winning of the lost is incalculable.

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