The Next Christians (eBook)
Turn on a cable news show or pick up any news magazine, and you get the impression that Christian America is on its last leg. The once dominant faith is now facing rapidly declining church attendance, waning political influence, and an abysmal public perception. More than 76% of Americans self-identify as Christians, but many today are ashamed to carry the label.
While many Christians are bemoaning their faith’s decline, Gabe Lyons is optimistic that Christianity’s best days are yet to come. In the wake of the stunning research from his bestselling book, unChristian, which revealed the growing disenchantment among young generations for Christians, Lyons has witnessed the beginnings of a new iteration of the faith. Marked by Lyons’ brutal honesty and unvarying generosity, Lyons exposes a whole movement of Christians—Evangelicals, Mainline, Protestants, Orthodox, Pentecostals, and others—who desire to be a force for restoration even as they proclaim the Christian Gospel. They want the label Christian to mean something good, intelligent, authentic, and beautiful.
The next generation of Christians, Lyons argues, embodies six revolutionary characteristics:
“When Christians incorporate these characteristics throughout the fabric of their lives, a fresh, yet orthodox way of being Christian springs forth. The death of yesterday becomes the birth of a great tomorrow. The end of an era becomes a beautiful new beginning. In this way, the end of Christian America becomes good news for Christians.”
In THE NEXT CHRISTIANS, Lyons disarms readers by speaking as a candid observer rather than cultural crusader. Where other people shout, Lyons speaks in a measured tone offering helpful analysis of our current reality while casting a vision for how to be a Christian in a world disenchanted with the faith. Both a celebration and a reckoning, THE NEXT CHRISTIANS combines current day models and relevant research with stories of a new generation of Christian leaders. If you are worried by what you see transpiring around you, this book will take you on a surprising social exploration in hopes that you too will restore confidence in your faith.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Gabe Lyons was at the top of the Christian food chain several years ago. He was a graduate of Liberty University, Vice President of a prominent Christian organization, and co-founder of Catalyst, the nation’s largest gathering of young Christian leaders. There was only one problem: he was embarrassed to be called Christian. So Lyons set out on a personal journey, leaving his comfortable job to found Q (qideas.org), a learning community that mobilizes Christians to advance the common good. He also commissioned stunning research, which became the basis of his landmark book, UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity and Why It Matters. As a respected voice for a new generation of Christians, he has been featured by CNN, The New York Times, Newsweek, and USA Today. Gabe, his wife Rebekah, and their three children live in New York City.
Praise for The Next Christians…
Praise for The Next Christians and Gabe Lyons
“Gabe Lyons leads an important group of younger Christians who are seeking to avoid both the triumphalism as well as the cultural withdrawal of former generations of believers. We all have a long way to go as we think out how Christ relates to culture in our day. As we do so, we would do well to consider many of the significant insights that Gabe offers in this book.”
—Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City
“The Next Christians is a revolution tightly packaged within a book. As a pastor, it was game changing for me and the people of my church…every person should read it. This is the future!”
—John Ortberg, best-selling author and pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church
“Gabe Lyons is one of the brightest young Christian leaders I’ve worked with and mentored. I’ve challenged his thinking; he has challenged mine—as he does again with his latest book, The Next Christians. I recommend this book, which will give you great insight into the hopes and aspirations of the next generation of Christian leaders.”
—Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview
“If I had to pick one leader for the next generation for Christians, it would be Gabe Lyons. If I had to pick one chapter from this book, it would be ‘Relearning Restoration.’ If I had to pick one sentence it would be this one: Christ didn’t come only to save us ‘ from something. He wanted to save Christians to something.’ Gabe Lyons gets it: restoration is the vision for the Next Christians, and I’m cheering them on.”
—Scot McKnight, New Testament scholar and author of The Jesus Creed
“The Next Christians is the best book you’ll read this year. Filled with stories of hope and grace, it’s a passionate call to join followers of Jesus everywhere in restoring the faith. You can’t afford to miss it!”
—Margaret Feinberg, author of Scouting the Divine and The Organic God
“At a time when a central challenge to faith is to be both faithful and fresh, Gabe Lyons’s is a voice I always listen to and benefi t from enormously.”
—Os Guinness, cultural historian and author of The Last Christian on Earth
“It seems an impossible task: restore a 2,000-year-old religion so that it no longer rejects, no longer chases, but actually leads a modern, pluralistic culture running at the speed of Twitter. Gabe Lyons offers hope for Christianity’s next one hundred years by profiling the next set of Christians transcending this epic challenge. I found his preview of Christian innovators inspiring post-Christian America persuasive and one of the most encouraging views of Christian faith in recent years.”
—Kevin Kelly, cofounder of Wired magazine
“The Next Christians is a must-read for anyone seeking to engage a broken world with the healing power of the Gospel. Provocative, yet massively optimistic, Gabe Lyons’s message challenges the ‘Christianity vs. Culture’ paradigm of the recent past with the hopeful template of ‘Christ as restorer of humanity,’ worked out through a new breed of Jesus followers, who are unashamedly running into the darkness—broken-yet-loved ambassadors for the One who makes all things new.”
—Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church and founder of the Passion Movement
“What Lyons gives us here, in spades and with proof texts, is the good news about the state of the Good News in tomorrow’s America. Those who have despaired that even the label ‘Christian’ might be tarnished beyond credibility, much less affection and influence, will find a thousand reasons to rejoice here. Chock-full of examples and stories, Lyons’s work also is full of brilliant insights and piercing applications of traditional verbiage to new ways of being in this world.”
—Phyllis Tickle, founding religion editor, Publishers Weekly
“We’re in an important time in Christianity. Leaders are considering the Gospel, its implications, and how we might live faithfully in the world we find ourselves. Gabe Lyons is an important voice in that conversation. In The Next Christians, he sets out a vision for Christians making a difference in the world. You should read this book and wrestle with his ideas as we consider together how we might be faithful to the Gospel in today’s world.”
—Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research; coauthor of Transformational Church
“The Next Christians is not about rehashing stale debates or reliving the culture wars. It is not about empty ideologies or even about branding a movement—it is about reading the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other and listening to God say, ‘Come change the world with me.’ ”
—Shane Claiborne, author, activist, and recovering sinner
“Gabe Lyons articulates a fresh and inspiring vision for bringing Christian faith forward in the new cultural paradigm of 21st-century America. May this become the predominant expression of Christianity for an up-and-coming generation of ‘next Christians’ and those of us who are counting on them.”
—Tom Krattenmaker, USA Today’s Board of Contributors and author of Onward Christian Athletes
“Gabe Lyons is a contemporary innovator who possesses relevant insight and profound foresight relative to Christ, culture, and the next generation of Christians. This must read book will inspire you and guide you to a new place of purposeful passion!”
—Charles Jenkins, senior pastor, Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church
“The prophet Isaiah declared that God would do a new thing. In The Next Christians, Gabe Lyons frames the narrative of a new Christian movement emerging in our lifetime. While addressing the challenges before us, Gabe presents the facilitative platform for the followers of Jesus to reconcile righteousness with justice under a canopy of compassion and love. This book will challenge us to embrace change as we welcome a fresh move of God’s Spirit.”
—Sam Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
“The Lord has given a great mind and incredible wisdom to Gabe Lyons to be able to speak with such clarity and such understanding of the times. You will be greatly blessed and will desire to turn the next page, only to come to the end and then wish to pass this book along to a good friend so that others can be as informed as you are.”
—Pastor Johnny Hunt, president of the Southern Baptist Convention