Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Review: The Next Christians

I just finished reading The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons and I would say that it was fantastic. This is his follow up book to UnChristian and I would highly recommend both books.
He breaks this book down into three parts: The World is Changing, The Restorers, A New Era
Part I: The World is Changing
He starts off the book by talking about the shift that is taking place in America today. Through research Lyons states that the church is now longer the center of culture in the West. Christian America is changing, but Lyons goes on to introduce the next Christians that are emerging, he calls these Christians "restorers". He talks about how the next Christians are trying to restore life to what God intended it to be. That is why Christ came, to satisfy our sin debt so that we could experience a new way of living: restoration. Lyons says "They recognize that Christ's redemptive work is not the end or even the goal of our stories; redemption is the beginning of our participation in God's work of restoration in our lives and in the world. Understanding that one idea literally changes everything." I could agree with him more.
Part II: The Restorers
In part 2, Lyons unpacks a few attributes or themes of these next Christians, they are:
provoked, not offended
creators, not critics
called, not employed
grounded, not distracted
live in community, rather than alone
He unpacks each of these themes and gives examples of people he knows who are living these themes.
Part III: A New Era
In part 3 he wraps up his book by talking about what is possible in the future. He reminds the reader that the first thing for the Christian to do is to recover the Gospel, in a way to relearn and fall in love again with good news of God's love. He drives home that we are easily sidetracked with distractions but the truth of the Gospel is the main thing.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was both challenging and encouraging. It is a call to examine the daily choices that I am making and how my daily life does impact the Kingdom of God. We, the church, are called to restore God's plan here on Earth. Gabe Lyons not only challenged me with this book but he also gave solutions and examples of how restoration could look in my community, state, country and world wide. It is exciting to read some of the stories of people making a difference in the world and encouraging to know small choice also make a difference, maybe not in the world but in my neighborhood!

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