The Next Christians: Seven Ways You Can Live the Gospel and Restore the World
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Number of Pages: 272
Vendor: Multnomah Books
Publication Date: 2012
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"I recommend The Next Christians, which will give you great insight into the hopes and aspirations of the next generation…."
Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship
"Provocative, yet massively optimistic!"
Louie Giglio, pastor and founder of the Passion Movement
Gabe Lyons is optimistic that Christianitys best days are yet to come. His best-selling book, UnChristian, revealed the pervasiveness of cultures growing disregard for Christians. Now, in The Next Christians, Lyons shows how a new wave of believers are turning the tide by bringing the truth of the Gospel to bear on our changing, secular society.
"Restorers," as Lyons calls them, approach culture with a different mentality than generations past. Informed by truth, yet seasoned with grace and love, these believers engage the world by drawing it to the sensibility and authenticity of the Christian life.
You can be one of these "next" Christians and change the negative perception of Christianity by living a life that is faithful to the Gospel, yet credible and coherent to your friends and neighbors.
"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 Ive worked with and mentored. Ive challenged his thinking; he has challenged mineas 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 didnt 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 Im cheering them on."
Scot McKnight, New Testament scholar and author of The Jesus Creed
"The Next Christians is the best book youll read this year. Filled with stories of hope and grace, its a passionate call to join followers of Jesus everywhere in restoring the faith. You cant 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 Lyonss 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 Christianitys 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 Lyonss 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 darknessbroken-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 tomorrows 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, Lyonss 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
"Were 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 todays 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 movementit 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 Todays 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 Gods 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
Chris LandWichita Falls, TxAge: 25-34Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5Great info about the next generationApril 9, 2012Chris LandWichita Falls, TxAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4Many Christians are concerned about the future. Not about when Jesus is coming back, but about the future of Christianity. We keep reading reports of young Christians leaving the faith especially teens after they leave High School. Some would say, "Christianity's worst days are ahead of us."
Gabe Lyons has another opinion. He believes that Christianity's best days are ahead. This is what Lyons' latest book The Next Christians is all about. The subtitle to the books refers to the seven ways Christians can live the gospel and restore the world.
The book is divided into three parts. The first part deals with the changing world around us. Lyons talks about all the cultural shifts that has happened in our world especially what is now the new normal. The second part deals with what Christians can do to bring about change in their world. One chapter deals with Christians accepting their job as a calling not an employment. Lyons wrote, The next Christians don't work at jobs; they serve in vocations. They see their occupational placement as part of God's greater mission. This view is natural and holistic, and fits within the everyday rhythms of most people's lives.
The last part of the book, which also contains the final chapter of the book, talks about the next big shift that is going to happen with the church. That next big shift is Christians rediscovering the gospel. Lyons said that Christians need to relearn and fall in love again with the historic, beautiful, redemptive, faithful, demanding, reconciling, all-powerful, restorative, atoning, grace-abounding, soul-quenching, spiritually fulfilling good news of God's love.
This book offers great insight into what Christians in the next generation need to do be more effective in the coming years. Great book for all pastors, youth pastors, young adult pastors, and all who care about what Christians in the near future need to do.
ewarren4 Stars Out Of 5How to Engage the Next ChristiansMarch 20, 2012ewarrenQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4Much research and study has been executed regarding "The Next Christians." Not just by Lyons, but by others such as Ed Stetzer, Tim Elmore, David Kinnaman, and many others. This is likely the most studied generation in history.
Lyons' approach in "The Next Christians" is different though. He is hopeful of them which is a rarity. But his hope is not in the generation, his hope is in God. He believes, and knows, that our cultural milieu did not come as a shock to God. God knew it was going to happen because God is omniscient.
Don't let that get your hopes up too high though. Even Lyons is ready to admit that "Christian America" is dead. Pluralism, postmodernism, technology, and so on have all had their grips on the minds of Americans, and the rest of the World, for some time now. It has been a works in progress. Some saw it developing, others were duped, but no one has successfully led a defensive against the secular attack on the Christian faith. However, the criticisms most give Gen Y is the same reason Lyons sees hope.
Just as every generation has been fed up with their predecessor, with the exception of Gen X who to this day still do not seem to care about much. Gen Y, "the next Christians," seem to care a great deal though. They've seen what pessimism and apathy breed and they don't like it. While they have a lot of issues that must be dealt with, Lyons does not see them as all together bad. They are disordered and are in need of restoration. For this to occur, Lyons suggests we need to reevaluate our dependency on the Holy Spirit who has the power to change lives unlike us.
Ultimately, Lyons points out "seven channels of cultural influence" he suggests we need to restore. Christians can do this by discovering their calling and pursuing it out of faith and dependency on God.
This happens in relationship and community. Lyons, referring to Phyllis Tickle's book "The Great Emergence," believes we are about to enter into a huge shift in Christianity. He points out the great shifts that occur about every 500 years and we are due if this is the case. So be alert. This next generation may be bring the birth of the greatest shift in Christianity since the Reformation.
I recommend Lyons' book though I cannot agree on everything. He makes a lot of great points and observes "the next Christians" quite well I believe.
*I received this book from the publisher to provide a review. I was not required to give positive feedback.
Elliot Ritzema5 Stars Out Of 5Updated and expanded paperback editionMarch 16, 2012Elliot RitzemaQuality: 4Value: 5Meets Expectations: 4The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons is built on one crucial insight, with two corollaries. The insight is that the culture wars are over. The corollaries are that 1) Christians lost, and 2) that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Sure, you sometimes hear people trying to whip up support for another offensive in the culture wars. There is no shortage of "Christian Nation" and "Take Back America" rhetoric, but generally speaking these salvos come from people who are over 50 or so years old. They grew up in a time and place where Christianity had more cultural power than it does now, and they think that because they experienced it in the past, it just takes a little wielding of political might to experience it again. However, those who are youngerâ€”those whom Lyons calls "the next Christians"â€”have a different perspective. They grew up in a time when Christianity had already started its slip away from the center of society, and they believe that fighting a culture war is a destructive responseâ€”and not just to the "other side."
This is my second go-round with The Next Christians. I read the hardcover version last year (here is my review), and picked up the paperback version when it came out earlier this month. I'm glad that I did; Lyons has made the book stronger with the addition of a new chapter.
The paperback is mostly the same as the hardcover, but includes a new subtitle ("The Good News About the End of Christian America" is replaced by "Seven Ways You Can Live the Gospel and Restore the World") and a new chapter on a seventh characteristic of the Next Christians: "Civil, Not Divisive." That means the characteristics of the "next Christians" are that they are:
Provoked, not Offended
Creators, not Critics
Called, not Employed
Grounded, not Distracted
In Community, not Alone
Civil, not Divisive
Countercultural, not "Relevant"
The "Civil, not Divisive" chapter is a welcome addition. Too often, Christians in the public square subscribe to the "but they started it" school of political engagement, using fear-mongering and tit-for-tat tactics to gain support. Jesus calls us to a better, more gracious, way. The chapter also contains the important idea, which I originally heard from Tim Keller, that politics is downstream of culture (78). That is, it is changes in culture that make political change possible. Putting all of one's eggs in the basket of political change is a short-sighted philosophy.
Along with a different political outlook, the "next Christians" have a fuller understanding of the gospel. Lyons writes, "The next Christians believe that Christ's death and Resurrection were not only meant to save people from something. He wanted to save Christians to something. God longs to restore his image in them, and let them loose, freeing them to pursue his original dreams for the entire world. Here, now, today, tomorrow. They no longer feel bound to wait for heaven or spend all of their time telling people what they should believe. Instead, they are participating with God in his restoration project for the whole world" (53).
"Restoring the world" can sound a bit grandiose, but I think Lyons is merely trying to direct attention to the grand calling given to humans by Christ. He isn't saying that restoration can happen apart from Christ, and he isn't saying that evangelism isn't important.
My main critique is that Lyons's cultural analysis can be a bit oversimplified at times, but I don't think that is out-of-bounds for a popular level book. He has put his finger on a cultural shift among Christians in the West, and wants to help define and encourage it. I think he's on the right track.
Note: Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah for a review copy of this book. I was not asked to give a positive review.
pkerry319Waukee, IAAge: 45-54Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5Thought Provoking and ChallengingMarch 6, 2012pkerry319Waukee, IAAge: 45-54Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 3Meets Expectations: 4It is always a tricky business when someone tries to make predictions about the future of Christianity. I am reminded of the many trends and fads that have swept the church in my brief forty plus years of life. We are a culture of fads and trends, always running after the newest and the latest and the greatest. I was tempted to take this attitude with The Next Christians.
Instead, I found myself being challenged to think not about fads and trends, but about substance and philosophy of ministry that left me with many questions about the way we do church in my context. The key concepts of restoration and the common good run like a thread through a presentation of seven expressions of Christianity that are becoming a heartbeat for the western church in the 21st century.
Missing from this presentation is supernatural workings of God in signs, wonders, and miracles that I also feel are impacting and will continue to impact a culture that has become less and less influenced by Christianity. Names like Bill Johnson and Randy Clark are conspicuously left out of this presentation, which is a major oversight in my mind.
Overall, I would highly recommend this to any ministry leader who is trying to identify how to engage in the culture of the 21st century in a genuine expression of the Kingdom of God. You will definitely be challenged and provoked to think and act in ways that are more consistent with the heart of Christ.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
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