I am intrigued by books with unusual titles. I tend to gravitate toward titles that are eye-catching, off-the-wall, or hard-to-believe. When I saw the title of Gabe Lyons’ new book “The Next Christians; Seven Ways You Can Live The Gospel and Restore the World”, I knew it was a book I wanted to read. I wondered who the “next” Christians were. My question was answered in the very beginning of the book. Lyons’ basis for the book comes from a research project conducted by his non-profit organization where he discovered “the Christian faith is quickly losing traction in Western culture, not only as a result of unchristian behavior, as significant as that is, but because we haven’t recognized our new reality and adapted.” The New Christians would be those who, in the future, will act, react, and love differently than those today. Lyons goes on to say “They want to be a force of restoration in a broken world even as we proclaim the Christian Gospel. They want the label Christian to mean something good, intelligent, authentic, true, and beautiful.”
Lyons sets the stage for the bulk of his work by taking a look at the five labels that Christian wear today. First, he describes the Insiders. Their lives revolve primarily around “Christian” activities, influences, and people. Next, he describes Culture Warriors. These Christians are about causes and believe that being Christian and American are synonymous. Next, Lyons describes Evangelizers. Their sole purpose in life is getting people saved no matter what, no matter how, and no matter where. Blenders are described next. They do their best to ride the fence between Christian beliefs and modern culture. As a result, they become uncomfortable in both. He then describes the Philanthropists. These Christians place a high value on doing good works and service.
Lyons uses the term “restorers” to describe the “Next Christians”. He describes their passion in the following way, “telling others about Jesus is important, but conversion isn’t their only motive. Their mission is to infuse the world with beauty, grace, justice, and love.” The majority of the book is spent giving the seven descriptions of what the “next” Christians will look like. Briefly, “restorers” are:
Provoked – Darkness and brokenness do not offend them, rather urge them to act.
Creators – Instead of criticizing the past, they create a new, more focused future.
Called – Secular jobs are places of service.
Grounded – Christ is the center of their lives. He’s their anchor.
Community – Individualism is the not the best venue for connection.
Civil – Meaningful conversations are essential in communicating with those of opposing views.
Countercultural – Passion exists to replace the negative image of Christianity with a positive one
Lyons has written a great book. It is humorous in parts, witty, angering, and instructive all at the same time. It is an easy read. This book would be beneficial for Christians of all ages and generations. I highly recommend.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”