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The Next Christians: Seven Ways You Can Live the Gospel and Restore the World

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Next Christians: New perspective

Have you grown up in the church and want to see it succeed in the years to come? Have you been hurt by the church or people who call themselves Christian? Are you tired of searching for a faith community, but only finding worship and churches that seem to be out of tou...
Have you grown up in the church and want to see it succeed in the years to come? Have you been hurt by the church or people who call themselves Christian? Are you tired of searching for a faith community, but only finding worship and churches that seem to be out of touch? Have you ever had a conversation about the future of the church and someone said "we just need more technology and guitars to get young people to come?" If you answered yes to any of these questions then it would do you well to pick up a copy of Gabe Lyons book The Next Christians.

Pretty much read this unless you think that the church is perfect and doesn't need to change a thing.

I received my free copy of Lyons' book The Next Christians in late January from Water Brook Multnomah Publishing Group. Because of work being crazy I haven't been able to get the review out as soon as I would have liked, but also it took longer than expected to read the book because it was packed with great stuff.

In the text Lyons looks at some of the traditional ways that Christians have addressed the tension between living a life of faith and the stumbling blocks that society places in front of us. Lyons outlines two main schools of thinking when it comes to this topic. There are the "Separatists" who distance themselves from society. I feel like this group has a very "us" vs "them" view of the world. This insider/outsider view is not at all helpful in sharing the Good News because the mentality to some degree is that I am saved and it would be nice if you were too.

The second group are the "blenders." The blenders engage culture and blend into it. The danger here is that theology and beliefs get sacrificed and watered down because of the blending. I would say that this is where many young people would place themselves after reading the work of Christian Smith (Soul Searching) and Kenda Creasy Dean (Almost Christian).

Lyons then proposes that both views fall short and then says that there is a third way that is emerging. The Next Christians are Restorers. This group works hard at restoring the church back to what it was meant to be. Throughout the years the church may have lost its way and has been missing the mark. This new group understands that faith in action and service is essential to restoring the church. Lyons takes a good chunk of the latter part of the book to give real examples of restorers in action.

From my perspective as a Methodist pastor this new way would make John Wesley proud. He said that "there is no holiness apart form social and personal holiness." As a practical theologian I feel like John would have fit right in with the restorers.

Well, that's enough from me about the book. Go and get a copy

posted by CMBishop on March 26, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

The Next Christians

I am immediately drawn to a book by its title. So, when I saw The Next Christians; The Good News About the End of Christian America by Gabe Lyons, I had to know what he meant by that. Lyons' previous work, UnChristian which took a look at the conducts and actions that t...
I am immediately drawn to a book by its title. So, when I saw The Next Christians; The Good News About the End of Christian America by Gabe Lyons, I had to know what he meant by that. Lyons' previous work, UnChristian which took a look at the conducts and actions that turned people away from the Christian faith is referenced several times in this book. It seems this book is the outflow of the previous work, whether that was the author's intention or not. Lyons begins his book by examining the decline of Christianity in America by taking a look at the present reality that Christianity is losing its influence, respect, and strength in America. In a sometimes pessimistic tone, he puts forth categories that Christians have placed themselves into (Insiders, Culture-Warriors, Evangelizers, Blenders, and Philanthropists). The second half of the book was much better than the first and carried a much more positive tone. Lyons speaks of the shift in the next generation of Christians from a faith that polarizes and pushes people away to a generation of Christians who are committed to the concept of restoration. He says this new generation of Christians will portray similar characteristics. These new Christians will be Provoked - not offended, Creators - not critics, Called - not employed, Grounded - not distracted, In Community - not alone, and Countercultural - not relevant. This section is by far the best part of the book. I am glad I stayed with it. The Next Christians is a helpful and insightful look into what the Christian faith was intended to reflect in this world.

posted by Steven_Ruff on December 4, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2012

    Book Title: "The Next Christians” Author: Gabe Lyons

    Book Title: "The Next Christians”
    Author: Gabe Lyons
    Published By: Multnomah
    Age Recommended: 17+
    Reviewed By: Kitty Bullard
    Raven Rating: 4.5



    Review: This book brings a necessary hope to Christians and gives a brighter outlook for future generations. The author writes in such a way that you don’t feel as though you are being preached at. He shares his vision in an insightful and approachable way that makes this book a genuinely great read.
    Christians that feel there is no hope for their religion left or for the love of God, should definitely get a copy of Gabe’s book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2012

    Great read, must read it all the way thru.

    Started this book and thought, I don't agree with this book. But I kept reading & they explain why the think the way they do & it started making sense. Really made me think about the way I evengalize to young people.

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  • Posted May 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Got me thinking!

    Incisive, reflective; this book made me think and re-think my pre-set notions of what I believe about Christianity and how I live it out.

    Gabe Lyons gives a big-picture view of Christianity in America today based on research, surveys, and thoughtful analysis. What I like most about it is its non-offensive tone: while the truth might not necessarily be pretty, Lyons paints it honestly and somehow manages not to make it seem like an attack or accusation.

    Maybe it's because he presents it logically and writes as though he's half-musing, half-discovering as he goes along, as if you're putting the pieces together at the same pace.

    Best of all, the book points to the evidence of God at work in our world today, to the hope that He's changing it in ways we never would've thought possible, and to the invitation He gives us to join Him in His work.

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  • Posted March 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Customer Review

    I got a chance to review "The Next Christians" by Gabe Lyons. This of course is my first review so forgive me I will get much better at it as time goes by.

    I began reading this book and was absorbed by it.Like Gabe has written there are many different walks of faith, and many ways that people have grown up being Christian over the years. Add the changes that have taken place and it really is a whole new religion. I grew up learning one way but knowing there had to be more then this. " The lesson here is that Christians who remove themselves from the world in hops of self-preservation miss out on carrying the love of God forward to those who might need it most."

    I came from a Separatism Church and found it too binding, how can you possibly reach out if you don't talk to others and look down at everything they do. My parents wanted more too, but sadly died before I could share this book with them. My father would have been inspired.

    I have many pages folded and saved to use in a bigger blog that I write, and hope to spread the word about this book and the inspiration he has given me. I have always been different then most people and have always strived for something better for everyone. I hope you will take the time to read "The Next Christians" by Gabe Lyons.

    A free copy of this book was provided to me by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing for review purposes.

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  • Posted March 18, 2011

    Next Christians' Lifestyle Evangelism Xtreme to Restore the Faith

    "Gabe Lyons was at the top of the Christian food chain several years ago. A graduate of Liberty University, he was vice president of a prominent Christian organization and cofounder of Catalyst, the nation's largest gathering of young Christian leaders. There was only one problem: he was embarrassed to be called 'Christian.'.He also commissioned stunning research, which became the basis of his landmark book, UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity and Why It Matters." Lyons has been featured by CNN, the New York Times, Newsweek, and USA Today.

    Lyons seems to smack and shake up all Christians and Christian organizations so they will understand the severity of the "Christian" world as we might think it is. He spends ample time drawing from his previous book and research findings to make it clear to Christians that the "West" is certainly not a Christian nation. This is clearly evident with a look at the culture in which we live. Little about our culture could be called Christian. He summarizes Christians into two categories when talking about how they deal with culture: Separatists and Cultural. Separatist are primarily those who criticize and judge the culture and withdraw themselves from culture altogether. These Christians have only created gaps and more isolation from the people Jesus intended to reach. Cultural Christians are primarily those who get involved in outreach projects such as soup kitchens or weekend warrior kinds of service. These latter Christians feel that they are being in the culture and are trying to be relevant, but never bring the full saving power of Jesus' restoration for the culture. Both have created this problem and are losing the battle of Christians and culture. His alternative category are those he calls Restorative Christians.

    His solution is to understand the fullest sense of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is to bring restoration to all people and the earth to a pre-Fall state of creation, the way God first designed it.

    "Instead of simply waiting for God to unveil the new heaven and the new earth, the rest of us can give the world a taste of what God's kingdom is all about - building up, repairing brokenness, showing mercy, reinstating hope, and generally adding value."

    Lyons spend most of the book sharing story after story of people who have done just that. People who have changed the culture of music, the arts, business, education, government and injustices from the inside of where these cultural problems occur. Rather than merely serving those affected by these cultural hurts, they jump head in and go to the deeper level to influence and see change happen in those channels of culture directly. The tendency of this book is to see a call to stand up for the common good of humanity and the earth without ever sharing the Jesus-Christ-forgiver-of-our-sins-Gospel. Only towards the end of the book does Gabe seem to head that tendency head on. Thankfully, he did recognize and address that tendency. In fact, I enjoyed his sections on what a Christian needs to make sure they put into their life if they are going to tackle such a calling. That Christian must develop good spiritual disciplines and be constantly a part of a community of faith.

    "Acting on this 'restoration' perspective can create the dangerous potential to be drawn in, to participate in the very evil Christians are so passionate to renounce. Christians must not neglect their ow

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  • Posted March 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Recommended

    The Next Christians could almost be the sequel to Gabe Lyons coauthored work Unchristian. While Unchristian left me unsatisfied with nothing more than humbling numbers and statistics about the dismal state of Christianity, The Next Christians seems to provide not only an interpretation to the downfall of Christian America, but also a response.
    Lyons sees the end of Christian America as a positive change. Too long Christians have either decided to become separatists in culture by making their own sports leagues, music, and books, or they have blended too much into mainstream culture looking no different than the rest of the world. Lyons sees many Christians now adopting a new attitude, one that is more reflective of the gospels. "The Next Christians," as Lyons calls them, are not separatists or blenders they are restorers. Jesus came to earth to restore the purpose and calling of humanity, and those who follow him are called to practice the same restorative behavior. Jesus engaged with those he was seeking to restore, his hope was that true intimate relationships with others would cause his holiness to rub off on others. Jesus' life, death, and resurrection were not only for forgiveness, but also for redemption.
    Lyons does a wonderful job of bringing out the true purpose of Jesus and his followers. The Christian faith is one that identifies brokenness in themselves, others, and the world around them and then looks to restore the person or world to its created purpose. The Next Christian is a book not just for confessors of Jesus, but for anyone who has looked at the world and came to the conclusion that it needs to be restored.
    A free copy of this book was provided to me by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing for review purposes.

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  • Posted January 25, 2011

    the next Christians by Gabe Lyon

    I was very anxious about reading 'The Next Christians,' and was not disappointed. Right from the beginning, in the chapter 'A Fading Reality,' Gabe Lyons unpacks how America has left behind the stronghold of being, "A Christian nation," and is now largely a pluralistic society. He does a masterful job of walking the reader through our history, and in a refreshing way, guides through how key decisions and actions took us off the path of Jesus and onto a more religious path. Then in the "New Normal," he develops where we are currently. A wonderful look into the birth of the suburbs and how it reshaped the everyday life of the common American family. How it moved the church from the center of life to the fringe. I think this particular chapter raises questions of where we live, why we live there, and what role those decisions play in the daily working of our faith.I highly recommend this book and look forward to the journey ahead! "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review"

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  • Posted January 25, 2011

    The Next Christians for the next (generation of) Christians especially

    <div align="left">This book, I feel, is in line with a growing trend of works seeking to interpret some of the shifts we are seeing in Christianity today. Though many of the thoughts conveyed throughout may be new to some, to many the information and assertions Lyons shares with his readers here is simply added to much that has already surfaced and continues to grow. </div>
    <div align="left">I like Lyons' style as it combines easy to understand, fact-based reasoning with poetic description that one might more easily relate to the novelist.</div>
    I believe that this book would be best in the hands of a seeking non-Christian or early-staged, new Christian follower as they will have a better understanding of Christian engagement in general as they navigate the unclear waters that many of us "old-timers" simply accept with a grain of salt.</div>

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  • Posted January 24, 2011

    The Next Christians Are The Brightest Hope We Have Of Restoration

    The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons is an honest look at Christianity and it's place within modern cand ulture society. It examines it's past and points to it's future with the rise of a new generation of believers Lyons calls "The Next Christians". This is a generation that for the most part doesn't want to be called Christian. It's not out of a rejection of Jesus that they say this. The Next Christians are not ashamed of Jesus. They are ashamed of what Christianity has become. They are ashamed of the baggage that it brings. They view "Christianity", in it's current form as more of a brand than a relationship with Jesus. They want nothing to do with brands. They want Jesus.

    For quite some time now I've been reading the gospel of John. As I read the words of Jesus and look deeper into how He teaches us to live... I see less and less of modern Christianity. I've blogged and written much about this in previous posts. The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons is a refreshing look into this new generation who has had enough of dragging Jesus through the dirt. They are a generation seeking His face and His face alone.

    Gabe Lyons, like me, is a graduate of Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. He went to high school at the school started by Thomas Road Baptist Church, the church where I now pastor on the middle school staff. This is a culture in which it's easy to become part of the "Christian" culture. It's easy to be comfortable around loads of other Christians. It's easy to have zero idea of the world around you in an area like this. Gabe wasn't content with that. He wanted to follow Jesus. Not the culture, Jesus.

    Lyons cites the "death of Christian America" as a falling on May 15, 2007. The day Jerry Falwell, the pastor/founder of Thomas Road Baptist Church/Liberty University/The Moral Majority, died. I remember that day clearly. I had been on staff since December of 2006. I was just out of college and had many opportunities to interact with Dr. Falwell, or "Doc", as we called him around the church. It was a dark day indeed. Lyons cites this day as "emblematic of a passing era".

    The era arising is one where pluralism and post modernism lead way to a larger post-Christian nation in which the general populous is spiritual and seeking God, yet the god they seek on a given day can change based on their needs. The Next Christians see this is an opportunity to show the love of Christ. The see opportunity in the midst of a nation slipping away from the God who loves it so.

    The Next Christians follows this generation's characteristics. It looks at the life of Jesus and finds this generation trying more than ever to be the light of Jesus and to share the gospel with so much more than words. They are our brightest hope we have for restoration.

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  • Posted January 3, 2011

    Living in a Post-Christian World

    At the Catalyst Conference in October, Gabe Lyons, co-founder of Catalyst and co-author of UnChristian, spoke about the kind of Christians that are making a difference for Christ in the post-Christian culture that we are living in. Most of what he spoke about at the conference is found in his new book, The Next Christians: How a New Generation is Restoring the Faith. While UnChristian highlighted the negative perceptions that people have of Christians, The Next Christians features the kind of Christians who are helping people to change their perceptions.

    Gabe gives six characteristics of Christians who are restorers. Restorers are focused on bringing about restoration to the world because they believe that not only does the gospel bring good news about life after death, but it offers good news in the here and now. The Gospel provides hope today, as well as tomorrow. He has observed that these types of Christians are:

    - provoked, not offended

    - creators, not critics

    - called, not employed

    - grounded, not distracted

    - in community, not alone

    - countercultural, not "relevant"

    I think the most important emphasis that Lyons makes is that "the next Christians are offering a new way forward- a way to act, live, and bring others along with them into the new reality of how things ought to be" (203). When he was discussing this observation, I kept on thinking of Shane Claiborne and his "Another World Is Possible" video series. Instead of focusing on how things are, he encourages us to imagine how things ought to be (as inspired by Scripture). In the same way, Lyons gives examples of people who are living that out.

    While this book did not provide new information to me, it did provide encouragement to me to continue to pursue living a life of restoration instead of separation. Lyons did a great job of communicating the need for Christians to care about and live well in a post-Christian world out of a love for Jesus and a deep hope in the gospel message. Many college students and young adults that I interact with do care about social justice issues and caring for those around them, however, all too often it comes out of something besides a deep love for the Gospel message found in Scripture. Lyons says it beautifully:

    "The first thing for the Christian is to recover the Gospel- to relearn and fall in love again with that historic, beautiful, redemptive, faithful, demanding, reconciling, all-powerful, restorative, atoning, grace-abounding, soul-quenching, spiritually fulfilling good news of God's love" (192).

    What about the Gospel is most impacting to you right now?

    p.s. I received this book, The Next Christians, free from Waterbrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program.

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  • Posted December 2, 2010

    A new version of Robert Weber's "Younger Evangelicals"

    I was looking forward to this book as soon as I saw that Lyons was writing it. He previously co-wrote UnChristian, a look at the characteristics of Christianity that turn people off. It was a very academic and well-researched piece of work.

    The Next Christians started out just a little pessimistic for me.. He carries a quite negative view about Christianity right now - although I would mostly agree with his take. It's a portrait of the church that I've seen before among younger people.

    The second part is what really caught my interest. It was quite similar actually to another book I've read called Younger Evangelicals by Robert Weber. It is essentially a sociological look at what Christians will look like for the next few decades. For people like me (twenty-somethings) these characteristics are relatively easy to spot. I can this book being quite useful however for church leaders that may be ready to start handing off the baton to us young whipper snappers.

    Lyons discusses our generation as being creative, communal and counter-cultural. (Is it a coincidence these are all "C" words? Probably not.) My question for the author is what are the next steps? Awareness is absolutely the first step to anything, but what next? Will our mode of church change? Will the way we do social justice change? What about the Christians who don't fall into these categories? There are certainly Christians who will retain the characteristics of past generations. I dare say they might even comprise the majority of Christendom in America. Lyons may well be speaking to a very particular brand of Jesus followers.

    What do you think?

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