Russell Rathbun, pastor of House of Mercy, has authored a new book, nuChristian: Finding Faith in a New Generation. Rathbun’s title riffs off Kinnaman and Lyons’ book, unChristian, both visually and topically. Rathbun knows what he’s talking about because he is one of the founding pastors of House of Mercy in 1996.
Judson Press sent me a review copy, which I read with appreciation because Russell seemed to be writing to traditional churches, providing guidance on how to engage with young adults. Rather than a book review, I asked Russell if he would respond to a few questions. He graciously agreed, and here’s the interview:
Chuck Warnock: As I was reading the book, I could see our congregation, comprised primarily of older adults, really benefitting from your insights on how to connect with a new generation. Who did you write the book for, and do you anticipate it being studied by established congregations?
CW: Some of my members would have a problem with your statement, “Love people; don’t save them.” In our church, most of our members “got saved” as the result of an evangelistic, revival-type meeting or message. How would you help an established, traditional church that is accustomed to “crisis” conversions become open to a more gradual process of transformation?
CW: If your book was intended as a kind of answer to books likeunChristian by Dave Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, what would you say are the key steps a congregation needs to take to connect with a new generation? I realize you took a whole book to answer this question, but if you had to summarize in one or two statements, what are the core elements?
CW: You’re really doing this stuff you write about, and you use House of Mercy as examples of how you have reached a new generation. What issues is House of Mercy facing now that present new challenges to you?
Thanks, Russell. Check out reviews of nuChristian at the book’s website.