Creating safe space for the ‘religiously-disconnected-but-still-interested’ young adult is a passion for David Zahl, whose media initiative, Mockingbird, is finding a steadily growing audience.
Mockingbird (found at mbird.com) seeks to connect Christianity with everyday life. It’s a publishing venture that majors in blog posts, short books, and live conferences.
In this interview David tells us what’s resonating with young adults and what established churches might learn from it.
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It started out 5 years ago as an outreach to un/de-churched young adults in NYC. Since then David Zahl has learned a lot about young adults. Here are my notes from the interview:
Meaning Not Argument
Quit the fighting and get on with tackling life’s more important questions of purpose and meaning. David says churches do well when they aim to identify with their brokenness and Christ’s healing.
Style Loses Over Substance
Quit trying to learn ‘contemporary music’ – and just be yourself. David says young people will only be interested in what the rest of the congregation is interested in – so quit trying to be someone you’re not, and be your best self.
Christianity is not a place where good people get better, but where the sinful find redemption. Sanitizing salvation is a no-no.
About David Zahl
David Zahl is the Director of Mockingbird Ministries and editor-in-chief of the Mockingbird blog. Born in New York City, David graduated from Georgetown University in 2001, and then served as an itinerant youth minister with FOCUS (Fellowship Of Christians in Universities and Schools). In 2007 he founded Mockingbird in New York City. David and his wife Cate currently reside in Charlottesville, VA with their son Charlie, where David also serves on the staff of Christ Episcopal Church as their College and Young Adult Minister. He is also a licensed lay preacher. Most of his favorite films have been directed by Woody Allen, Whit Stillman and Wes Anderson, and his favorite theologian is probably a cross between Johnny Cash, Flannery O’Connor and his brother Simeon.
David edited the Mockingbird publication Grace in Addiction: What the Church Can Learn from Alcoholics Anonymous, co-edited The Gospel According to Pixar, and has authored numerous teaching programs, including Good News for People with Big Problems and The Gospel According to the Office, all of which are available on the Mockingbird website (www.mbird.com). His current projects include a book-length version of Grace in Addiction and These Pretzels Are Making Me Thirsty: Essays and Observations from Mockingbird.
Sponsor I Mentioned
Turnaround 20/20 – Learn from experts who have conquered obstacles to growth and watched God turn things around. Turnaround 20/20 is a unique congregational development conference that brings together 20 experts who speak for 20 minutes each. People like Nelson Searcy, Charles Arn, George Hunter, and Elmer Towns will focus on a specific area of congregational development and are out to spark new ideas and innovations for you and your church. Turnaround 20./20 is Tuesday, October 23 in Nashville, TN.