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The Shape of Faith to Come - eBook
B&H Publishing Group / 2008 / ePub
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When seekers meet churchgoers, do they see people who think and act like true followers of Christ? Based on his survey of 2,500 Protestants, Waggoner says probably not. Calling all Christians to true discipleship, he challenges leaders to teach believers how to obey God, deny self, share their faith, build relationships, seek God wholeheartedly, and more.
Various studies suggest Christians in North America are not qualitatively different in their character and practices than non-believers. While some churches are growing numerically, many wonder to what impact. Can we determine if our churches are producing Christians who look, think and act like true followers of Jesus Christ?
In The Shape of Faith to Come, research expert Brad J. Waggoner and his team measure the beliefs and actions of 2,500 active Protestant churchgoers from across the country against seven key standards of Biblical spiritual formation:
"Descriptive and prescriptive, this work will be seen as one of the best books ever written on what is really taking place in the discipleship process of Christians."
Brad J. Waggoner is president and publisher of B&H Publishing Group. A former dean of the School of Leadership & Church Ministry at Southern Seminary, he holds a Master of Arts degree from
If you are looking for an encouraging read for the holiday season, The Shape of Faith to Come by Brad Waggoner is not it. However, if you are looking for a book that adequately diagnoses the current state of the church and the individual members of your church, this is a must read. Waggoner and the folks over at LifeWay Research interviewed 2500 people who attend church at least once a month and asked them a wide range of questions to get some bearing on their spiritual maturity. Many of the findings may shock you. For instance, Waggoner and his team found that across the wide spectrum, a full 42 percent of those surveyed could not agree strongly with the statement Eternal salvation is possible through Gods grace alone; nothing we do can earn salvation. Even among Southern Baptists in particular, only 75% could affirm the above statement. In what is an even more frightening number, only 32% of the respondents strongly agreed that salvation is exclusive to Jesus alone. Southern Baptists were not much better with only 46% of SBC respondents affirming an exclusive view of salvation.
From the hard truths, the research team waited a full year and re-surveyed the original group to compare their growth over the course of a year. The last part of the book represents the findings in this area, and some were surprising.
Not surprising was the following conclusion by Waggoner and his group: Statistically, the number one issue correlated to higher maturity scores was the discipline of daily Bible reading. Being consistent in this discipline can be challenging, but it is doable. Waggoner concludes with a clarion call to pastors to be intentional and responsible in their ministries, Intentionality means that various people will have very specific responsibility for different aspects of the disciple-making strategy. Ultimately it is the pastors responsibility to make sure that intentions get executed.
If you are interested in the current state of the church, this is a must read for you. You will not enjoy this book, but you will find it beneficial to your ministry. As Jim Collins says, at some point we must face the brutal facts. - Craig Thompson, Senior Pastor, Malvern Hill Baptist Church
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