I came across this book a few months ago when a ministry associate brought this book up in a conversation about the future of the church and what a church native to the Millennial generation would look like. Intrigued, I picked up a copy and was excited to hear from this ministry veteran about what he sees coming up next. On the whole, I enjoyed the book, but I would be hard pressed to say that it felt revolutionary to me. Robinson writes this book in three parts: the first is largely a biography of his experiences in the Jesus People movement and what the last major revival looked like. Next he unpacks how church as it presently operates is in a dissolution process. Last, he offers his reflections on what a church that appealed to Millennials more deeply may look like.
There were parts of this book that I really enjoyed–actually some of my favorite elements were the biographical components which offered an "insider window" into the Jesus People movement. When it came to the second and third parts, I found myself less engaged. The section about Church unraveling probably stood out as a prophetic call before the last three years, but in the post-COVID reality, it didn't come across like a prophetic summons to change so much as making a case for what is obviously true. This speaks to Robinson's credit: his prophetic call was accurate! Unfortunately, that accuracy makes the book come across a little dated now.
The sections about the future shape of the Church were less than gripping for me as well. I was really glad that Robinson comes across clearly as a boomer that believes in the next generations (a refreshing change from what feels more like a consistent critique) What it was lacking, in my opinion, was that Robinson doesn't seem to suggest anything of deep change. The solution offered is a kind of "rewrapping" the Church with a more Millennial-friendly set of values (a higher dose of social justice and environmental work), rather than the deeper & more fundamental overhaul that I believe is needed (see for example my recent article, From Organization to Ecosystem). I think Robinson is headed the right direction, I'm not sure he's imagining a change fundamental enough to capture the hearts of the next generation. I suppose time will tell as we watch whatever God is doing next!
People looking to explore the idea space of future shapes of Church.
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