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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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  • Posted March 26, 2011

    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 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

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2012

    Phenominal

    Lyons presents a view of christianity that young christians can be proud of. His insights into modern American perspectives are refreshing. Rarely do you find christian leaders who value knowledge outside the walls of the seminary. Lyons connects research with practice. He presents a case for a new perspective of how christians can interact with the world without perpetuating the negative stigma of the "christian" label. This is a must read for anyone who recognizes the flaws of the separatist culture many "in the world but not of the world" christians advocate. There is a better way to engage the world with a christian mindset. Lyons uses biblical doctrine and sociology to demonstrate how the next generation of christians fully understand thier place in the world.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Must Read!!!!

    Every now and then a book comes along that every Christian should read. This is one of those books. Gabe Lyons does an outstanding job of showing us how a new generation (the Next Christians) are restoring the faith of Christianity in America. Gabe lays a great foundation of where the Church is in America and what Americans think of the Church. He then breaks down Christians into one of two groups and further divides them into subgroups. He is spot-on with this assessment of these two groups. He then goes on to show us how to become a part of a third group -- the Restorers. The remainder of the book explores how the Restorers are on a mission to bring the good news of Jesus Christ back into the forefront of culture but in a way that is refreshing, innovative and . . . . actually working!

    The Church in America is messed up and broken. It needs fixed. It needs to get back to the total message of God's redemption, not just one or two aspects of it. The Next Christians shows how that we can engage the culture around us without putting people off with our "religiosity" that so many Christians come off with.

    We must face the fact that America is not a predominant Christian nation. We are facing the fact that our young people are leaving the Church in large numbers. The American Church isn't (and hasn't been) doing our job of representing God well in nation today. We must change and this book is a refreshing wind of fresh air on what we can do to become a predominant voice in our nation again. The Church can make a difference again in America....if we will rightly assess where we are, where we have gotten off track and how to get where we need to go. *The Next Christians* is a great roadmap for accomplishing that.

    Well written, an easy read, and very thought-provoking. A must read for every Christian serious about reaching people.

    (This book was provided to me free of charge by Waterbrook Publishing for my honest review and comments. All comments are mine.)

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  • Posted February 25, 2011

    Excellent

    This book should be required reading for every church staff in America. Insightful, challenging, and eye opening. It's not about numbers or size, it's about changed lives.

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  • Posted February 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A New Way God is Building His Church

    "The Good News about the End of Christian America." This is what readers see above the title of Gabe Lyon's book, The Next Christians. I first thought this was a bold and intriguing statement. I was almost offended. The end of American Christianity is good news? I will not lie, I was skeptical about this book by just reading the cover and looking at the table of contents. On the surface, the book seems to be about changing Christianity. However, my skepticism turned into belief as I read. This book is not about changing our faith, but restoring it. Gabe Lyons shows readers the new way God is using his people to build the church today. He writes about the ways that Christians are beginning to engage the culture. The Next Christians are described as: Provoked, Not Offended Creators, Not Critics Called, Not Employed Grounded, Not Distracted In Community, Not Alone Countercultural, Not "Relevant" There is a chapter for each of these characteristics in which Lyons explains what it means and gives examples of real people. As I was reading these chapters, excitement came over me. I was inspired and encouraged by the things that God's people are doing around the world. It looks like a movement that will spread like never before. Gabe Lyons holds this movement as equal to the Protestant Reformation. Christianity will never change, but the modes and methods by which it is made manifest does. One thing that I loved about the book was the repetition to keep the Gospel central to how we do God's work in the world. Lyons says that we must be telling people that they are God's creation, made in his image and that Christ came to save us from sin so that we can join back with him in the restoration of all his creation. Now that I have finished the book, I am propelled to join up with God in what he is doing in our world. Hopefully this book will inspire you in the same way.

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  • Posted February 3, 2011

    The Body of Christ is Alive Indeed!!!!!

    THE NEXT CHRISTIANS
    By Gabe Lyons

    For quite some time now, I had known that the nominal church "ain't what it used to be." There has not been an 'outpouring' of God's presence like the Welsh Revival and Azuza Street. The focal question in my mind was, "Is the church really dead?"
    Gabe Lyons answers that question in his book The Next Christians. As you read the book, you will find that the answer is both 'yes' and 'no.' Church as we grew up with has lost a lot of its impetus. However, Gabe brings out in his book that there are a lot of Christians that have taken a new approach to soul-winning. And, in so doing, the church, or should I say the 'Body of Christ' is actually very alive and very productive.
    The Next Christians defines a grass-roots movement of individuals that, more or less, call themselves 'Restorers.' They're main desire is to bring back relevance to the idea of a life changed and challenged by Jesus Christ. Gabe tells how these 'Restorers' think and act 'outside of the box' as bring a loving Jesus in touch with a hurting world.
    'Restorers' are not bound by the traditional church manner of reaching the lost. For example, in chapter five, 'Provoked, Not Offended,' he quotes Michael Metzger, "When confronted with the corruption of our world-Christians ought to be provoked to engage, not offended and withdrawn." For example, he tells how his friend Mike created an organization to invade the adult entertainment field. These 'Restorers' invaded the world's largest porn event in Las Vegas. They handed out free Bibles with covers that read "Jesus Loves Porn Stars." This book is full of examples of the 'behind the scenes' actions that these 'Restorers' are engaged in.
    I was highly encouraged by this book. It was a hard one for me to put down. As you read this book, you will be challenged to look outside of your own Jesus box to find new ways to reach the lost. It has changed my perspective on soul-winning.
    I was furnished a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted January 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Next Christian's Movement

    I am always skeptical when a new book comes out, especially in a time where it is increasingly vogue to comment on a new movement within the Christian community. God is definitely moving, and he definitely is at work in this present day, bringing forth a small number of grounded leaders who have a vision to engage the culture we live in. This book outlines some trends that have either separated Christians from society from culture all together, or have allowed us to blend in with no real distinction, and sadly no real imprint on the culture we are supposed to be introducing Christ to.

    Gabe Lyons makes it clear that this movement has just begun, and it is up to this current generation of Christians to start taking the walk seriously and embrace a radical brand of faith and fellowship that actually brings about lasting change.

    Gabe Lyons calls this next group of Christians "restorers", because in whatever setting, they are searching out a way to be the hands and feet for the God who became a man to serve, searching to restore communities, and the many facets of society, in order to make God's name and identity famous. The book, "The Next Christians" is about servants who aren't trying to be relevant but counter-cultural, and in a way that is grounded in community, a knowledge of the scripture, and prayer and fasting. He makes it clear that the next Christians will not be perfect, and never will make that claim, but will definitely contend and make it apparent by example, through good deeds and big hearts, that there is a perfect God and a perfect Savior.

    This is a must read if you are looking to share the true Gospel, and live out the real Gospel in your life. Encouragement, words of wisdom, personal experience, and testimonies are all shared in this uplifting book which charged me to continue going forth to proclaim the truth about God's everlasting kingdom.

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  • Posted December 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Our Generation is Restoring the Faith your Generation Destroyed

    That's what the subtitle reads. The previous generation obviously destroyed or manipulated it, I am not sure. I am also not saying that Gabe Lyons makes that claim in his latest book, The Next Christians - he does not.

    The short of the book is young Christians are living out the Christian faith differently than the way their parents did and this should encourage the Church. Though the book is simple and straightforward I did not find any of it novel or new. He takes the general characterization of believers - easily offended, critical and independent and shows how younger Christ followers are instead living as agents of change or restoration in their communities.

    The book is a primer. In my opinion it is a simple way to live out the Christian faith; the basics of missional living, if you will.

    At one point about half way I felt that Lyons was putting too much emphasis on good works and not enough on the repentance side of the Gospel. He was highlighting the need for the Gospel to include a perfect creation as well as the restorative aspect of Christianity. This is in addition to the truncated message of man's fall and Christ redemptive work that is more commonly communicated. The problem was he was, I felt, skewing biblical text within the context of his writings to emphasize what the Scriptures were not.

    For example Gabe finishes a section titled Engagement not Condemnation with John 3:17. It would not be hard to get the idea that John 3:17 teaches that Jesus 'saved the world' through social justice. I only say this as a warning. I felt that the book was making a disproportionate emphasis on half of the gospel (restoration) at the cost of diminishing the other half (redemption) when in fact he does not do that. If you start to get that idea or feel that way - keep reading. It gets better. Much better.

    Beside this minor misleading which one could argue is the readers fault, not the authors I did find his story telling a bit difficult. Gabe Lyons is excellent at stating facts or information in an interesting way. He is not as good when he recounts stories. I understand the stories were illustrative but I felt the descriptive parts of the narratives were a bit forced. Another minor issue.

    If you are engaged in the missional conversation and understand what that whole lifestyle looks like you may find the book a bit ho-hum. If you are searching for a simple example of the Christian life this is a great resource. Pastors or ministers may consider encouraging those they influence to read and discuss the contents of the book. Good read, great information.

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  • Posted December 23, 2010

    The Next Christians- a GREAT read

    When I first heard about this book I knew that I wanted to read it. I love learning about trends among Christians and the Church, especially the Church in America. What I expected was good news about where the Church and Christians were going and some good stories about what they are doing, and some bad news about where we're still falling short. The Next Christians contained all of that, but I got so much more.

    For me, this turned out to be a book that helped me grow spiritually. Specifically, Lyon's six characteristics of Restorers gave me a great picture of how things should be in my life. I was specifically challenged and moved by the chapters on Called, not Employed and Grounded, not Distracted. The book is worth reading just for those two chapters.

    I was also appreciative of his discussion of the full Gospel. There is much talk about the Gospel, but very little definition of what the Gospel actually is. I love the idea that the full Gospel involves Creation, the Fall, Redemption and Restoration. We usually leave out Creation and Restoration, and that is one reason why I think folks are disinterested in Christianity. We're not sharing and living out the full Gospel.

    This book is an easy read with great stories. I highly recommend it. This book was provided courtesy of Blogging for Books.

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