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“Gabe Lyons leads an important group of younger Christians who are seeking to avoid both the triumphalism as well as the cultural withdrawal of former generations of believers. We all have a long way to go as we think out how Christ relates to culture in our day. As we do so, we would do well to consider many of the significant insights that Gabe offers in this book.”
—Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City
“The Next Christians is a revolution tightly packaged within a book. As a pastor, it was game changing for me and the people of my church…every person should read it. This is the future!”
—John Ortberg, best-selling author and pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church
“Gabe Lyons is one of the brightest young Christian leaders I’ve worked with and mentored. I’ve challenged his thinking; he has challenged mine—as he does again with his latest book, The Next Christians. I recommend this book, which will give you great insight into the hopes and aspirations of the next generation of Christian leaders.”
—Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview
“If I had to pick one leader for the next generation for Christians, it would be Gabe Lyons. If I had to pick one chapter from this book, it would be ‘Relearning Restoration.’ If I had to pick one sentence it would be this one: Christ didn’t come only to save us ‘ from something. He wanted to save Christians to something.’ Gabe Lyons gets it: restoration is the vision for the Next Christians, and I’m cheering them on.”
—Scot McKnight, New Testament scholar and author of The Jesus Creed
“The Next Christians is the best book you’ll read this year. Filled with stories of hope and grace, it’s a passionate call to join followers of Jesus everywhere in restoring the faith. You can’t afford to miss it!”
—Margaret Feinberg, author of Scouting the Divine and The Organic God
“At a time when a central challenge to faith is to be both faithful and fresh, Gabe Lyons’s is a voice I always listen to and benefi t from enormously.”
—Os Guinness, cultural historian and author of The Last Christian on Earth
“It seems an impossible task: restore a 2,000-year-old religion so that it no longer rejects, no longer chases, but actually leads a modern, pluralistic culture running at the speed of Twitter. Gabe Lyons offers hope for Christianity’s next one hundred years by profiling the next set of Christians transcending this epic challenge. I found his preview of Christian innovators inspiring post-Christian America persuasive and one of the most encouraging views of Christian faith in recent years.”
—Kevin Kelly, cofounder of Wired magazine
“The Next Christians is a must-read for anyone seeking to engage a broken world with the healing power of the Gospel. Provocative, yet massively optimistic, Gabe Lyons’s message challenges the ‘Christianity vs. Culture’ paradigm of the recent past with the hopeful template of ‘Christ as restorer of humanity,’ worked out through a new breed of Jesus followers, who are unashamedly running into the darkness—broken-yet-loved ambassadors for the One who makes all things new.”
—Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church and founder of the Passion Movement
“What Lyons gives us here, in spades and with proof texts, is the good news about the state of the Good News in tomorrow’s America. Those who have despaired that even the label ‘Christian’ might be tarnished beyond credibility, much less affection and influence, will find a thousand reasons to rejoice here. Chock-full of examples and stories, Lyons’s work also is full of brilliant insights and piercing applications of traditional verbiage to new ways of being in this world.”
—Phyllis Tickle, founding religion editor, Publishers Weekly
“We’re in an important time in Christianity. Leaders are considering the Gospel, its implications, and how we might live faithfully in the world we find ourselves. Gabe Lyons is an important voice in that conversation. In The Next Christians, he sets out a vision for Christians making a difference in the world. You should read this book and wrestle with his ideas as we consider together how we might be faithful to the Gospel in today’s world.”
—Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research; coauthor of Transformational Church
“The Next Christians is not about rehashing stale debates or reliving the culture wars. It is not about empty ideologies or even about branding a movement—it is about reading the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other and listening to God say, ‘Come change the world with me.’ ”
—Shane Claiborne, author, activist, and recovering sinner
“Gabe Lyons articulates a fresh and inspiring vision for bringing Christian faith forward in the new cultural paradigm of 21st-century America. May this become the predominant expression of Christianity for an up-and-coming generation of ‘next Christians’ and those of us who are counting on them.”
—Tom Krattenmaker, USA Today’s Board of Contributors and author of Onward Christian Athletes
“Gabe Lyons is a contemporary innovator who possesses relevant insight and profound foresight relative to Christ, culture, and the next generation of Christians. This must read book will inspire you and guide you to a new place of purposeful passion!”
—Charles Jenkins, senior pastor, Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church
“The prophet Isaiah declared that God would do a new thing. In The Next Christians, Gabe Lyons frames the narrative of a new Christian movement emerging in our lifetime. While addressing the challenges before us, Gabe presents the facilitative platform for the followers of Jesus to reconcile righteousness with justice under a canopy of compassion and love. This book will challenge us to embrace change as we welcome a fresh move of God’s Spirit.”
—Sam Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
“The Lord has given a great mind and incredible wisdom to Gabe Lyons to be able to speak with such clarity and such understanding of the times. You will be greatly blessed and will desire to turn the next page, only to come to the end and then wish to pass this book along to a good friend so that others can be as informed as you are.”
—Pastor Johnny Hunt, president of the Southern Baptist Convention
From the Hardcover edition.
Author's Note xi
Part I The World Is Changing
1 A Fading Reality 3
2 The New Normal 13
3 A Parody of Ourselves 29
4 Relearning Restoration 49
Part II The Restorers
5 Provoked, Not Offended 71
6 Creators, Not Critics 91
7 Called, Not Employed 109
8 Grounded, Not Distracted 127
9 In Community, Not Alone 147
10 Civil, Not Divisive 165
11 Countercultural, Not "Relevant" 181
Part III A New Era
12 The Next Big Shift 205
Posted March 26, 2011
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
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Posted December 4, 2010
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.
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Posted September 20, 2012
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 10, 2012
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.
Posted April 29, 2012
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 15, 2011
When I learned this author was the same guy who wrote "unchristian" I was very excited to able to read his follow-up book. I was expecting a great book that demonstrated who the Christians of the future will be and also how the 18-35 crowd fits into the New Christianity.
This book falls flat and is slow, a bit boring, drags on, and never gives a good view of the future for Christianity. It's like the author had enough material for a short 5 page paper and he blew it into a book to make some dough. I was quite disappointed. This book goes into who the author thinks are the Next Christians. (Well, if he's right, I think, Christianity is in for more bad news, because I think this author misses the mark on this one). The author thinks the Next Christians are those who don't pull away from the world and live in a Christian-only world (like listening to Christian music only, no smoking, no tattoos, Christian-school, Christian-t-shirts) and don't lose themselves in the world as Cultural Christians (adopting the world's ways) but the New Christians are those who seek to restore the world to the beauty of the Garden of Eden and engage the world with beauty, grace and love. He defines the New Christian Restorers as having 6 characteristics: Being provoked, not offended; being creators, not critics; being called, not employed; being grounded, not distracted; being in community, not alone; being countercultural, not "relevant". I disagree with this author.
Being one of the 18-35, I feel like I understand very closely what my fellow 18-35ers are feeling and believing. I see Christianity moving away from organized religion and its human power struggles and corruption and towards a personal spiritual relationship with God. More and more Christians are ashamed of being called "Christian" and we are instead adopting the label "Spiritual" in preference because we can't stand to be associated with those judgmental hypocrites we meet at church. We are staying home and still very willing to be friends with and help our fellow non-Christians. I was disappointed with the author's conclusions and also that he wasted 6 boring chapters going into each of the 6 characteristics that he defines New Christians as holding. I believe the 18-35ers want to KNOW GOD above all else and want that spiritual relationship and everything else is just salad dressing. :)
I won't say the book was bad, because there is a place for this material, it's just not very inspiration or all THAT educational. I think most Christians could skip this book and do much better reading Skye Jethani's book "With" about living WITH God in a personal relationship, rather than living FOR God (achieving great deeds in God's name to give you self-importance). Also books by Frank Viola are very good for understanding why the new Christian generation cannot stand Christians. Also the book: "Why Men Hate Church" would be helpful for anyone interested in this subject matter.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for this review but I did really give my hones
Posted May 17, 2011
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.
Posted May 4, 2011
I'm a big nerd when it comes to information. I like to hear how statistics tell us what's happening in our society, and I like to read about how we can learn from that data. I really enjoyed the book "UnChristian" because it had great information for both the nerdy and non-nerdy alike. This follow-up, "The Next Christians," was a bit more difficult to get through.
Hearing more about the positive directions that Christianity is moving was a welcome relief as I combed through Lyons' illustrations of what a new Christianity can look like through the loving actions of a caring people was great. Some of the angles and excerpts were not all that new material--which isn't a bad thing for a book, but it wasn't what I expected.
While "The Next Christians" wasn't a refreshing wave of news, it was a solid experience in seeing what's working and what isn't among people in the world who think religion and faith has nothing to offer them. Go ahead and order the large latte when you settle in to read this one because you will find yourself wrapped up longer than you plan to be.
Please note I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Posted April 24, 2011
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.)
Posted April 23, 2011
I think Gabe Lyons book "The Next Christians" gives people a profound insight into the next generations of Christians. For so long the church has only been preaching a small part of the story that focuses only on the fall and redemption. The full story, however, is the also contains creation and restoration. This book shows that there is hope for the future in term of the church becoming the healing community God desired from the beginning. I love especially his chapter on being grounded. I think ever young person, teenage and college age should take notes on this chapter because I think this is one reason why so many fall from the faith-they are not grounded. This book also made me want to read the book UnChristian which was a book Lyons co-authored that was sort of a precursor to this book. This book I think right along with books like David Platt's "Radical" every Christian should read as we prepare for the next age.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 31, 2011
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.
Posted March 18, 2011
"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
Posted March 18, 2011
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.
Posted February 25, 2011
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 22, 2011
Lyons latest offering, THE NEXT CHRISTIANS: HOW A NEW GENERATION IS RESTORING THE FAITH seems a logical sequel.  This book examines who Christians are perceived to be, and what a hypothetical new generation of Christians would look like were they to shatter the status quo. First the points of agreement.  Christian America is on it's way out, at least according to the trend.  At best we are still, or becoming more so the "Silent Majority."  There is not much room for Christian ideals in the politically correct arena which contains, well everything.  Some might argue that the term "politically correct" is actually "anti-Christian."  Regardless, Christianity is no longer the default.  People are viewing Christians with more and more vitriol. In this book, Lyons addresses this truth head on and explains that the "next Christians" will no longer fit the stereotype. They will live out the entirety of God's story.  The author insists that the standard issue evangelical today focus only on the cross, while giving no credence to the creation.  They view salvation as an alternative to hell rather than the restoration of what was lost when man fell in the garden.  He calls the next Christians "restorers." Gabe Lyons calls on the next Christians to change the world.  To always be creating a positive.  To not live life inside a Christian bubble, but out there with the rest of the world.  To do life in community with everyone regardless of faith.  What can we be doing to help, to restore? I agree that the church needs to barbecue a few sacred cows.  I found myself chuckling when Lyons poked fun at the Christian t-shirt crowd, inferring that no one was ever lead to Christ because your t-shirt judged them. I wonder if the author might have gone too far down a path paved with good intentions.  He takes a troubling stance on the "gay movement" for example.  Multiple pages are devoted to outlining the success of the gay movement's campaign to take America's view of homosexuality from disapproval to "hey, why not?"  To be fair, Lyons does not openly embrace homosexuality and even states, "I'm not suggesting we celebrate the rise of the gay movement.  Perhaps you're offended that I've even used it as an illustration." What is troubling is he leaves the reader feeling that he is not at all opposed to some of the information he references.  Such as "Within the cultural channel of the church, major denominations like the Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ opened leadership roles for gays and lesbians." Gabe Lyons points out some very valid points in this book. Things we as the church universal are doing wrong.  Things we should be doing but we are not.  He calls us to restore, to love, to pray, read scripture, and observe a sabbath.  Amen brother.  I feel though he is perhaps too "progressive" in some ways however.  I do not believe he places enough importance on salvation.  I also believe the church must take a clear stand on some issues, amoung them abortion and the same gay movement Lyons calls "fun and engaging." Should we love those we disagree with? Yes.  Serve them?  In any way we can.  The way Jesus would, without judgement.  One sinner to the next.  We must rememWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 3, 2011
"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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 3, 2011
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.
Posted February 1, 2011
Gabe Lyons is one of the cofounders of the national conference "Catalyst" and the co-author of the Christian bestseller unChristian. He has become something of a spokesperson for the post-emerging evangelicals that he calls The Next Christians in the book of the same name.
I am not sure what I expected from Lyons' book. For one thing, I had no idea who he was - which reveals just how out of touch I have become, although the jury is still out on whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. I suppose that I expected something along the lines of an evangelical attempt at being Brian McLaren.
Lyons delivers a varied narrative of the lives and ministries of a number of young evangelicals who have chosen to transform the world through compassion and through recognizing that God has placed them where they are for a reason. Where are they? In drug houses, in Hollywood, in distinctly "unChristian" settings.
And if you don't see that right away, just wait until the next chapter because he will remind you - time and time again.
In all seriousness, Lyons does overdo things a bit. The Next Christians is a parade of stories too similar for me to differentiate, and I found myself getting confused as to whom he was referring to at any one time. In my opinion, a slightly closer and more disciplined editing would have made this book a much better work.
Don't approach The Next Christians as if it will necessarily present you with a lot of new information. It is far from the best introduction to the theme of the younger evangelicals (Robert Webber's book The Younger Evangelicals does a much better job at that), but it is a good collection of stories worth telling if for no other reason than I think they foreshadow good things to come for the Church at large.
I received a free copy of The Next Christians from Waterbrook Multnomah and was not compensated in any way for this review.
Posted January 31, 2011
My latest review for Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group is "The Next Christians The Good News About the End of Christian America" by Gabe Lyons. The book teaches how to be engaged, modern Christians. It's an optimistic outlook into the future of Christianity.
I like how the book explains the different types of Christians, mainly separatists, cultural and restorers. I've always resonated with the restorer type, but I never knew there where others with the same view (Considering, I live the South where most Christians are separatists). Lyons explains that we need to become engaged Christians for Christianity to prosper.
An engaged spiritualist, according to Wikipedia, is a religious and/or spiritual person who actively engages in the world, in order to transform it, in positive ways while finding nurturing, inspiration and guidance in their spiritual beliefs and practices. The term was inspired by Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, states Wikipedia. Thich Nhat Hanh is widely known in the Buddhist community for his efforts in connecting Buddhism and Christianity with his book, "Living Buddha, Living Christ" (A very good book I might add.).
Gabe Lyons seems to lead Christianity in that same direction. He reiterates in the book a speech by Max Kampelman, a Jewish conscientious during WWI, who stresses, "But when we see the world in terms of how things ought to be we can dream for the impossible-and work to see it become reality."
I was deeply inspired by the book. It gives a modern plan on how to restore faith to our country and, ultimately, the world. We can all get back to the basics of Jesus's calling to be loving, engaged, sacrificial, unselfish, and compassionate contributers to culture with the help of this book.
Posted January 29, 2011
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.