The Next Christians

By May 10, 2012#Life

In my quest to read twenty-four leadership books this year, I received a free copy of Gabe Lyon’s latest book, The Next Christians, as a promotion from a book publisher.  Mr. Lyons had previously co-authored UnChristian, which explored American culture’s disconnect with Christianity.  In The Next Christians he attempts to “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.”

The heart of the book is the exploration of what it means to be a “restorative” Christian.  Lyons presents the distinction in seven descriptions:

  1. Provoked, not offended
  2. Creators, not critics
  3. Called, not employed
  4. Grounded, not distracted
  5. In Community, not alone
  6. Civil, not divisive
  7. Countercultural, not “relevant”

Each of these stems from his observations of how the church at large is failing to effectively display the love of Christ.  His approach doesn’t convey itself well if indeed he is trying to persuade Christians to his brand of Christianity.  The book becomes the very holier-than-thou voice it’s so desperately trying to avoid.  If you’re able to get past him playing Jesus to the American pharisaical church, you’ll find the heart of a missionary trying to reach his culture and some great insights to avoid becoming a white-washed tomb.

Even with some great truths captured within (see chapter 11, “Countercultural, not relevant”), The Next Christians ultimately falls short by neglecting the essential component of reaching a culture for Christ: spirit-led living.  It’s an afterthought lost in Lyon’s observations that left me bored midway through his “seven ways you can live the gospel and restore the world.”  It might be worth a skim, but in the search for great reads, it left this Christian saying, “Next.”

Author Matt

I'm a husband, father, leader, and geek whose time is wrapped up in faith, family, film, and travel. I guess I'm a little like the equivalent of a utility player in baseball. I'm happy with not being the best at something as long as I'm always trying to get better.

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