For many young people, the church feels too exclusive and detached from the realities they encounter on a daily basis. It has built a bubble around them to protect them from influences that run counter to the Christian message like casual sexual attitudes and the teaching of evolution. And it does not welcome those who have doubts or offer help for the emotional struggles so common to young teens.
The solution, according to Mr. Kinnaman, is a church environment that provides vital connections between generations. One example, proposed by the author of The Casual Christian, another book that addresses the issue of building vital Christian community, is something called “Faith Families.”
The Faith Family is composed of several families and individuals who live in close enough proximity to one another that they can conveniently provide personal nurture and caring as well as discipline when needed. There is no schedule of activities. Each group has mentors similar to those Paul established in his churches—older men teaching young men and older women teaching young women (Ti 2:1–10). In this way, values and a common culture pass from one generation to the next and the socialization of young people is intentional rather than left by default to the television, computer, and school system. Inter-generational ties are maintained and strengthened in a way that promotes respect and caring for elders and guidance and encouragement for young people.