I hope you had a fantastic Christmas and New Year! Getting back in the swing of things is always tough for me. In an effort to start this year off well and give myself, and you, some structure I have planned a short series of writings. Today’s postis simply the introduction. There will be five weeks of posts that follow thisone and build on one another. I hope that’s cool with you.
So, I am reading a book called The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons. I am reading along with four other guys as part of a weekly breakfast gathering, which I invited myself to join… They had an existing breakfast schedule and I weaseled my way in. Anywho, this was the next book on the list and I am really enjoying it. The author does not explicitly state that he is referring to Millennials, but I think he is. Ultimately, Lyons is outlining the decline of today’s church in a traditional sense. He highlights the “judgmental, hypocritical, non inclusive” nature of modern Christianity, or at least how outsiders view it. But what he does pretty quickly into the book is point out that there is a new generation of believers that are taking a different approach to Christianity. One that isn’t so counter to Jesus but seems counter-cultural based on where we are today. He calls this group Restorers. Now, to be clear I am not drawing a straight line between Millennials and Restorers but it is among the Millennial generation that you find this attitude talking hold.
The question that Lyons poses, that in my opinion is the one that Restorers are trying to answer is “did Jesus die only so we could get out of this place and go somewhere else?” For me, this sparks a whole world of thoughts and reshapes my outlook. In 2018, I underwent a fair amount of spiritual and emotional growth as evidenced in these blog posts. All of this was sparked in some way by a similar question to the one above, “what is my role as a follower of Christ?” Because Jesus did come and die for me how then should I act in response to that? 2018 was a representation of me trying to navigate that question. I wanted to be more in tune with what God was asking me to do. I am confident that writing is a part of His plan. As I start this year with more structure in this area I want to take several weeks to break down what I am reading in The Next Christians.
So, real quick, let me define a Restorer. As outlined in the book a Restorer is someone who brings their faith into everyday activities. This means that whether they are at work, the gym, on vacation, at church, at home, anywhere they go they are trying to bring their faith with them. Restorers “don’t separate from the world or blend in; rather, they thoughtfully engage.” This is radically different than the labeled version of a Christian that condemns or one that hides their faith around certain groups. It sounds more closely related to Jesus. Restorers don’t hide nor do they condemn, they engage. They ask questions and have meaningful conversations about the inclusivity of God’s nature. Some synonyms for Restorer or restore are rekindle, revive, rejuvenate, and rise. Restorers are not necessarily doing anything new, but they are bringing things back in line with Jesus. He came to love all people and create a new covenant. Restorers are simply trying to be more like Christ. The question now is:
How do we become Restorers?
While I don’t know that I have earned the label Restorer, I am certainly trying. Over the next five weeks I am going to lay out my understanding of how this plays out in our lives. Below are the five weeks in order:
Part 1 (1/14)- Create Culture
Part 2 (1/21)- Holistic Nature
Part 3 (1/28)- In Practice
Part 4 (2/4)- In Community
Part 5 (2/11)- TBA (not done with the book)
*** Also, Iam reserving the right to change/update this as we move along this five-week journey***
I would love your input, insights, and questions as we go.
God, will you move through us in the next five weeks? Will you teach us how to live a life that is thoughtfully engaged? Lord, I ask that you would prepare our hearts for the message that you have planned and the questions that may arise. Thank you for this time and this space. Amen.
Reference: The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons