25-year-old Carson Nyquist is the co-author of The Post-Church Christian: Dealing with the Generational Baggage of Our Faith. In it, he shares stories of growing up in the evangelical church while his father, the President of Moody Bible Institute, responds to these experiences. Here Carson talks about why his generation is leaving the Christian church and what he thinks it will take to draw them back.
JM: Your father is the President of Moody Bible Institute, a prominent evangelical college. What did you learn from each other through working on this project? Did you uncover differences and/or realize that you agreed on more than you expected?
CN: I learned that he, and his generation, have a history. A history that is full of passionate, courageous people who want to follow Jesus. [They were] a generation that pushed social and cultural norms to reach people and spread the message of Jesus. And that what sometimes annoys me today, in my culture, was once a dynamic idea for reaching people with the gospel. They had ideas that pushed against their parents’ standards – just like mine do today.
I think he learned a lot about my generation. About how we think, how we dream, and what we value. In the process of writing we had many conversations, covering topics like tattoos, alcohol, language and vocation – each areas where we think differently. In the end, we didn’t agree on everything. We still don’t. But now we have a more open relationship where we can talk about those things. That, in my mind, is a great goal for any intergenerational relationship.