They Like Jesus But Not the Church is almost a vital book to have if you are ministering to people 35 and under. Dan Kimball does so in the area of Santa Cruz, CA and in having many discussions with people he has struck up friendships with (from people who cut his hair, to people in coffeehouses) he shares their insights into the Christian faith.
I have had some discussions with people of late that are a bit confused as to authors and speakers using the words emerging & Emergent. When an author or speaker refers to the emerging church or to emerging Christians (as the subtitle of this book reads, insights from emerging generations), he or she is referring to people 35 years old and younger. So when Mr. Kimball talks about how to reach emerging generations, he is talking on how to Biblically win lost people 35 or younger. The Emergent Church or Christians are something totally different. Emergent is a loosely formed group of friends who generally do not take the Bible as truth and are a new breed of liberal Christians - doing very good things, such as community activism, social justice, reaching out to the poor and needy, but sometimes at the expense of the gospel.
Mr. Kimball is not in that Emergent crowd. He is very intentional & almost apologetic in his writing, making sure he does not come off as trying to cater to or change the gospel so that emerging generations will come to Christ. He is quite conservative theologically, but liberal in his outreach.
The book is broken up into the three sections. The first talks about the differences in the mindset of emerging generations as opposed to other generations. The second section is the largest & exposes six areas where emerging generations have the most distaste for the church (but not Jesus - or at least their idea of Jesus). The third section then tackles how we can bridge the gap while maintaining our integrity towards the gospel.
This book is an invaluable resource for churches. The comments from the people Mr. Kimball interviewed speak to a deep hunger that this generation has for spiritual truth & we can give them that truth, if we change some of our methods (not beliefs). Mr. Kimball has a forthcoming book which is speaking directly to the people who he describes in this books as those who like Jesus but not the Church called I Like Jesus But Not the Church. He also speaks about a curriculum that will be available in the Fall of 2007. I eagerly await both.