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

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

by Gabe Lyons

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385529853
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/13/2012
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 292,120
Product dimensions: 5.24(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.74(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Gabe Lyons is the founder of Q—a learning community that mobilizes Christians to advance the common good in society and co-author of the landmark book, UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity and Why It Matters. Prior to this, he cofounded Catalyst, the nation’s largest gathering of young Christian leaders. As a respected voice for a new generation of Christians, he has been featured by CNN, the New York Times, Fox News, and USA Today. Gabe, his wife, Rebekah, and their three children live in New York City.

Read an Excerpt

Part I

The World Is Changing

One

Shadows of the Past

Seven years ago, I was twenty-seven years old and embarrassed to call myself Christian. This was especially odd because I was raised in a Christian home, graduated from a Christian college, and then served as vice president of a prominent Christian organization. By all accounts, I should have been one of Christianity's biggest fans.

Unfortunately, I began to notice that the perceptions my friends and neighbors had about Christians were incredibly negative. In fact, their past experiences with anything labeled "Christian" had sent them running in the opposite direction. Ironically, I came to empathize with their views. Having grown up in a Christian bubble myself, I witnessed countless instances when the lives of Christ followers were incongruent with Jesus's call to be loving, engaged, sacrificial, unselfish, and compassionate contributors to culture. The angst these experiences created would scare anyone from taking a second look at Jesus.

I was deeply burdened by this trend and about the loss of Christian influence in our culture. So, with just a few months of savings in the bank and our second child on the way, my wife, Rebekah, and I decided I should quit my job and pursue a new vocation. We resolved to launch a nonprofit organization and make our first project the commissioning of research that would help us understand the perceptions that sixteen- to twenty-nine-year-olds have about Christians.

The study confirmed many of our fears about the negative perceptions I had experienced. An overwhelming percentage of non-Christians sampled said they perceived Christians as judgmental, hypocritical, too political, and antihomosexual, among other things.

In the truest sense, the research revealed what happens when Christians act unchristian. The study was released in a book by the same name. It soon became a bestseller, confirming that our findings resonated with the general public.

But it also exposed something bigger that has been going on. The Christian faith is quickly losing traction in Western culture, not only as a result of unchristian behavior, as significant as that is, but because we haven't recognized our new reality and adapted.

In years since, our nonprofit has convened rising Christian leaders at various locations across America to have conversations about what they see occurring in the Christian movement and how they are uniquely living out their faith. We began to ask important questions about the role Christians should play in society:

What does mission look like in America in the twenty-first century?

How should the message of the Gospel go forward?

What does it mean to be a Christian in a world that is disenchanted with our movement?

Every generation must ask these questions as they seek to confront the unique challenges of their own eras. In modern times, thinkers like Richard Niebuhr, C. S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, Os Guinness, and Lesslie Newbigin have reflected on the relationship between Christians and culture in the twentieth century. Even now, a diverse group of future-thinking leaders are offering insight into how the next generation might navigate our current cultural waters.

Research shows that over 76 percent of Americans self-identify as Christian.1 Yet I wonder how many of us are proud to carry that label. Are we hiding our faith in our back pockets? My guess is that many feel much like I did at twenty-seven when they encounter non-Christians at work, in coffee shops, on campus, in their neighborhoods, at weekend parties, or working out at the gym. You may be dumbfounded that there are 76 percent of "us" and yet little unity in what we collectively represent.

After observing cultural trends, collecting data, and having hundreds of conversations with Christian leaders, I see a new way forward. There is a whole movement of Christians-evangelicals, mainline Protestants, Orthodox, Pentecostals, and others-asking these same questions and offering meaningful answers. They want to be a force for restoration in a broken world even as we proclaim the Christian Gospel. They want the label Christian to mean something good, intelligent, authentic, true, and beautiful.

***

During a gathering convened by our nonprofit, I was offered a rare invitation to visit the home of Billy Graham in nearby Montreat, North Carolina. Typically, it's best to keep an experience like that to yourself, where its magnitude will never tarnish, but I feel compelled to share it with you here because of the significance of what took place.

The slow ascent up the winding mountain driveway in Montreat mirrored my rising anticipation. Going to meet with this great evangelist in his storied log cabin home nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains didn't feel real-I was rapt with expectation.

The leaves were changing color and produced a kaleidoscope of hues-from green to brown, yellow, orange, and red-on the surrounding mountain faces. After passing through the entry gate protecting his mountaintop home, we were greeted by an older woman, a caretaker of sorts. That day, she had taken it upon herself to care for us as well. Her kind but weathered hands served up one of my favorites-chocolate chip cookies and an old-fashioned bottle of Coke. It felt surprisingly warm and hospitable, like a weekend trip to Grandma's house.

While waiting to be led back to Mr. Graham's study on this crisp autumn day in September, we sat in old rocking chairs on the back porch. (I later learned these chairs had been gifts from President Lyndon Johnson from his ranch in Texas.)

Taking in the picturesque view, I could understand why Montreat had been the place this man chose to call home for more than fifty years. The quiet, pastoral scene was splendid. With no other man-made structure in sight, it was an ideal place of respite for the family of a world figure. The simplicity of his log cabin, meadowlike backyard, well-worn antique furniture, and pictures of family and friends playing together gave me a glimpse into this beloved saint's humanity.

I couldn't help considering the countless accolades assigned to his life. He had audience with the world's most powerful leaders, providing spiritual counsel to seven U.S. presidents. His generous tone and compelling life have marked everyone who's known him. He shaped our world very personally by leading tens of millions of everyday people to Christ. Having traveled the world many times over, the eighty-nine-year-old evangelist had witnessed what God was up to in the world. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to converse with one of the most sought-after, respected, and revered leaders of the twentieth century. Our time together didn't disappoint.

As we walked back to his study, his companions-five dogs that kept him company day and night-greeted us. Though his body was undeniably old, his mind was sharp. Hearing had become a chore for him, so we raised our voices to introduce ourselves. I sat down in front of Mr. Graham in a chair whose previous occupants included world leaders, famous entertainers, and-just two weeks prior-a presidential candidate hoping to gain his support.

I came prepared to learn. I had no intention of saying much, planning instead to glean his wisdom. For what must have been thirty minutes or so, I quietly listened until I finally gained the courage to speak.

I carefully explained our work to educate and expose church and cultural leaders to the changes in our world, and more important, what opportunities lay ahead. Mr. Graham seemed genuinely curious to hear about what we do. I continued by telling him about some of the leaders our organization convened regularly, innovators within every sphere of society. From the arts to medicine and education, I explained that they were young and the best at what they did. I described how these leaders were leveraging their talent for the benefit of others-creating microfinance banks that were lending hundreds of millions of dollars to the poor, building wells throughout the third world, developing media campaigns to increase awareness about adoption, and so forth-and were serious about restoring culture. I had a hunch that these remarkably likeminded individuals were the next wave of Christians in the world, but I wanted to know if he agreed.

He reflected on everything I had been sharing with him before a smile walked the sides of his face. "Back when we did these big, large crusades in football stadiums and arenas, the Holy Spirit was really moving-and people were coming to Christ by hearing the Word of God preached," the evangelist said. "But today, I sense something different is happening. I see evidence that the Holy Spirit is working in a new way. He's moving through people where they work and through one-on-one relationships to accomplish great things. They are demonstrating God's love to those around them, not just with words, but in deed."

As he spoke, something began to crystallize inside me. It was as if all the observations I'd collected over a decade were being summed up in the sage words of this iconic figure. He had seen the best of what twentieth-century Christianity had to offer, yet was in tune with something new.

I left Montreat with a quiet confidence that day-not only because I had been in the presence of a great and godly man, but also because he had confirmed in succinct terms the things I'd been observing. Reflecting on his words challenged me to continue cultivating this mind-set throughout the body of believers across our developing landscape.

***

Not long after my conversation with Graham, Rebekah and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary with a trip to Europe. Since it was the off season, we were braced for the wet, dreary weather typical of London and Paris at that time of year. However, to our amazement, the region experienced a run of the warmest days on their calendar in a century. Instead of being wet, bundled up, and longing for the warmth of the cozy Hôtel du Louvre, we enjoyed long walks in the cool breeze-wearing sweaters and scarves, leaving the coats behind. It was enchanting. The architecture, museums, and cafés were brimming with energy. Experiencing millennium-old culture that was still full of life refreshed my soul.

One portion of our travels that I was particularly excited about was our rail trip from London to Paris on the famed EuroStar. I had read about its top speeds of 190 miles per hour as it glides under the English Channel and through the French countryside en route to Paris's Gare du Nord. When we boarded the train, I knew we were in for a great experience.

As I leaned back in my seat, the headrest curved perfectly around my neck-like an apparatus designed for intense flight, somehow befitting such a modernized tour of these storied countries. The ride across Britain was routine and somewhat metropolitan. Then as the train entered the Channel Tunnel, it picked up speed. The blur of lights gave the impression of flying through space. By the time we emerged in France, I felt transported. Leaning back in my seat, I stared out at the countryside as it sped past me like an abbreviated survey of French history. I'd flown over this landscape at high speed before, but never through it.

The foreground was an imperceptible blur of vegetation broken only by the occasional buildings and bridges. My eyes were drawn to the horizon as a steady succession of towns and villages rose into view along the way. We passed through Calais, then Lille, as we made our way toward Paris.

A pattern seemed to be emerging. In each community I saw a town center surrounded by trees and an occasional cottage. And at the heart of every town I could see a church steeple appear among the treetops and above the storefronts. It was consistent with what I knew of ancient urban architecture, that the steeple was designed to be the tallest structure in a city, representing the sacred belief that the church should be the closest point between heaven and earth, God and humanity.

Miles apart, those communities now seemed lined up almost side by side, as if to make a collective statement for my observation: The church used to occupy the center of culture in the West. For a brief moment, I reminisced about what once was. Not too long ago, children would frequent their church for much-needed education and moral training. In this prime location, new families were welcomed to town and volunteer needs were addressed before singing and prayer meetings would resume. Houses of worship were also places of great artistic and musical innovation. Many of history's greatest creative minds birthed their monolithic works within these hallowed confines.

Indeed, where the church in Europe once held a place of significant influence, by the end of the twentieth century it was almost completely irrelevant.2 Even the design of their communities bore evidence to it. The steeples that once stood for spiritual enlightenment have been reduced to minor tourist attractions. They better serve the needs of visiting amateur photographers than the lost souls of the people in their own communities.

Some culture watchers say that when we survey the contours of Europe's religious landscape, we are staring America's future in the face. While there is no way to verify these predictions, from my experience and all the evidence I've collected surrounding the church and citizens of our country, America isn't far behind.

What began as a creeping intuition that led me to launch a new organization had become a nagging reality that significant changes were under way. My trip to Europe and Montreat seemed to represent the two ends of our current situation. In Montreat, I met with a vanguard from Christianity's past who recognizes how the faith is presently shifting. In Europe, I seemingly caught a glimpse of America's more secular future. Positioned between these poles was the empirical research we had commissioned and the hundreds of conversations with a new generation of Christian leaders. Each situation echoed the sentiment that many Christians have lost confidence in their faith. Our movement, as a whole, was quickly declining in the West.

I believe this moment is unlike any other time in history. Its uniqueness demands an original response. If we fail to offer a different way forward, we risk losing entire generations to apathy and cynicism. Our friends will continue to drift away, meeting their need for spiritual transcendence through other forms of worship and communities of faith that may be less true but more authentic and appealing.

Maybe you know someone like my friend Dan. He grew up around the church and considers himself a Christian. At the age of thirty-four, he finds himself at the center of huge international business deals. Dan's a rainmaker type, and when his complex transactions are successful, they can raise the GDP of entire nations! But as we were catching up on our lives that day, he dropped a bomb on me. He said, "I hope this won't shock you, but I don't call myself a Christian anymore. I follow Christ as faithfully as I can, but I don't ever want to be associated with what that word, or that 'brand,' has come to represent in the world."

 

 
 


From the Hardcover edition.

Table of Contents

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

Acknowledgments 223

Notes 225

Index 243

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Next Christians 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
CMBishop More than 1 year ago
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
Steven_Ruff More than 1 year ago
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.
RavenswoodPublishing on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Book Title: "The Next Christians¿Author: Gabe LyonsPublished By: MultnomahAge Recommended: 17+Reviewed By: Kitty BullardRaven Rating: 4.5Review: 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.
alan_pierce on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Great book, I've long thought that Christians have lost influence in culture, but more importantly we have lost respect in the public forum. I'm defining respect as being something earned, influence as being something wielded (often through political power). The first question this book addresses is whether Christians should even aspire to effect society. The answer in the negative would create sectarian, secluded Christians who avoid "the world" e.g. the Amish. The answer in the positive leads us to more questions. Should Christians then try to make "the world" more like "the Church" or should Christians seek to gain respect in the greater culture (or what the author refers to being a "restorer"). This I think is the key question of this book. Although it might not be phrased in quite this way. The author exhorts Christians to focus on first things first, being counter-cultural, but not for the sake of evangelism. The first-things-first approach would encourage counter-cultural Christians for the sake of greater faithfulness to the scriptures and relationship with God. The evangelism should naturally follow as a secondary goal. I would agree. It is clear that the Bible beating, religious-right, moral majority have done greater harm for the Gospel than good. Most Christians statistically are barely distinguishable from the rest of secular society. They look at pornography as much, or more than the average person, have an equivalent divorce rate, and are just as charitable as their secular counterpart. Except, they are looked at as anti-homosexual, judgmental, hypocritical and generally are known more for what they're against than issues they support. I would recommend this book to any Christian because I think it is perhaps quite prophetic about future of the direction of the Church in the Third Millennium A.D. The only reason why I decided only to give four stars instead of five is that I think the author could have done a better job at emphasizting that his principles could be taken too far. People could be so focused on being "next Christians" that they compromise the gospel, his example of the creator of the "to write love on her arms" cutting Jesus out of the story on the inside of the shirt to continue to be sold by Hot Topic. Jesus is the whole point of Christianity, and the author here never states that there are ever any lines in the sand to be made in how we as Christians make our stand within society for Christ. The early church advanced, not simply because their exemplary lives within society (as the author notes), but also on the bloody backs of martyrs. Compromising how we communicate the gospel for the sake of effecting our world in positive ways should only advance so far. The great commission is every single Christians' responsibility, not just those gifted with the gift of evangelism or teaching. The basic gospel story is something every Christian should be able to explain and the sharing of which no Christian should be afraid to share boldly.
deusvitae on LibraryThing 24 days ago
The author's analysis of current trends among certain groups of mostly Evangelicals. He suggests that "Christian America" is past, and in the new era, there are three types of responses-- separatist, cultural, or restorative. Separatism involves those who separate themselves entirely from mainstream society and are full of critiques; the cultural are those who conform to society in many ways and dilute the gospel message. The author champions those whom he deems the "restorationists" as the way forward for Christianity.He defines restorationists as those who are provoked, not offended; who create, not criticize; who are called, not employed; who are grounded, not distracted; who are in community and not alone; and who are countercultural, not relevant. These are believers who seek to work within society's framework to reflect Jesus there, remaining grounded and attached to Jesus and a group of His followers, and who witness to Him in word and deed.Much of what the author says about the "restorationists" is well and good, and does represent what is likely the most viable way of advancing Christ's purposes in our society. In regards to "culture changing," I would suggest Davison's "To Change the World" as a helpful critique of how that process happens if it even happens intentionally. I am unaware of how well the author knows his church history and the 200 year old "Restoration movement" that has been going on, attempting to restore Christianity back to the spirit of its Author and those who first advanced it. It sounds as if people are attempting to get back to such things in some ways but not others. It is my hope that those whom the author calls "restorationists" attempt to get back to the New Testament in doctrine as well as praxis, and that those who seek to restore New Testament Christianity get out and strive to do such things within our society.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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mirandi More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Molly_P More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DSpivy More than 1 year ago
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.
Michael_Wilson70 More than 1 year ago
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.)
ideation-context More than 1 year ago
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.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sblumer More than 1 year ago
"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
pastorben More than 1 year ago
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.
carbs_reader More than 1 year ago
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.
delightedtoshare More than 1 year ago
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 remem
Pasco More than 1 year ago
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.