Worth Reading: The Next Christians
The religious landscape of America is changing and with it the attitudes and beliefs of the next generation of Christians are changing. Without a doubt the church in the future will look much different. In the book, The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America, Gabe Lyons gives us a glimpse of what that church might look like as he describes the new generation of Christians. Using quotes from the book, here’s a list of questions to see if you fit into their number:
- Do you wish to separate from or blend into the world; or thoughtfully engage?
- Are you OFFENDED by the world, or PROVOKED to engage and transform?
- Do you wish to run from the problems of the world or run to them as an agent of change?
- Are you bent toward CRITICIZING and throwing rocks at people in the world, or CREATING a new cultures through transformation?
- Are you CALLED or EMPLOYED? Do you separate your work from your identity as a Christian? Are you simply working a job, or serving in a vocation?
- Are you easily DISTRACTED by the goods and gadgets in the world or are you GROUNDED and disciplined in a growing relationship with God as you engage the world?
- Do you enjoy being ALONE and hiding from close relationships or are you defined by intentional relationships and COMMUNITY?
- Do you hang out with your own kind or do you engage the diverse community around you?
- Are you striving for RELEVANCE and popularity or to COUNTER the culture through transformed living?
- Do you feel called to restore the brokenness of the world?
The Next Christians are not separatists but restorers and transformers, provoked to engage the problems in the world as change agents and creators of beauty. Their vocations serve as a launching pad for living out God’s calling on every Christian to make disicples. They don’t allow the world to distract them, but desire to be deeply GROUNDED in the faith and engaged in intentional COMMUNITY with others. They understand that relevance is not leadership, but countering culture with the values of Christ.
If you’re a Christian leader I encourage you to read this book and ask if you are seeing this in your current ministry context and how your church may need to adjust as a new generation moves into leadership roles. We know the numbers, 80% of teens leave home after high school, and leave the church. This book will help you understand how they are thinking about the world and how we may can provide a path for involvement for them.
Here’s a few more of my favorite quotes:
- when the faithful saturate their schedules with Christian events at Christian venues with Christian people, the world has a hard time believing we hold the rest of the world in high esteem.
- The Gospel is a radical call to a stark existence, not a shallow assimilation.
- Christ death and resurrection were not only meant to save people from something. He wanted to save Christians to something.
- Provoked Christians know that Christian faithfulness often means living dangerously on the front edges of pain in the world.
- Where your talents and your heart come together, this is where God has called you to be.
- Understanding Scripture is difficult. Passively watching television or quickly clicking through Internet links and Facebook updates is much easier.
- Serving others together is the key ingredient in creating community.
- the Christian has a calling and a responsibility to think, work, and live in terms of how the world ought to be…