In 2007 Gabe Lyons collaborated with David Kinnamen in unChristian a book that showed us the reality of societies views about those who label themselves Christian. Since I had a friend gift me a copy, I have quoted and referred friends and others to this important text and their advice for overcoming the poor impression that society has of Christians. In The Next Christians not only tells us how to overcome negative Christian stereotypes, but he tells us who will destroy them. Lyons leaves his reader excited for the next movement of God through the next Christians, the restorers. These next Christians struggle against the reality of the world seeking to restore creation to what it ought to be not what it is. The restorers place high value on truth, justice, and beauty. Lyons describes in detail the key characteristics of restorers including their high value on calling, community, countercultural behavior, active engagement with culture and a firm foundation in Jesus Christ. If Christianity has lost its relevance by removing itself from the center of culture, the restorers are our best hope to return saved people to the culture conversation.
The Next Christians is a phenomenal book. Lyons has an ability in his writing to connect all of the dots to things we have all seen in our churches and society in large. As he writes about examples of restorers he knows you begin to think of those in your own life. Those examples that come to mind only further show the truth of Lyons’ writing. Additionally, the book is easy to read due to the engaging material. Honestly, as I got to better understand some of those I interact with, I got excited. I was also challenged with questions about myself as a potential restorer, where I am fighting against the restorers, and how can my own background help sharpen restorers. Lyons’ words lead me to celebrate much of what I do, and also grieve my own non-restorative tendencies. What more can we ask of a book other than lead ourselves down a path of self reflection? The Next Christians also helps reinforce books like Not Like Me. The Next Christians provides a general behavioral overview of restorers, while Eric Bryant in Not Like Me describes the relational toolbox of restorers, though he never makes that claim. The Next Christians is an important book that we as the church need to be discussing and acting on so we can move the Jesus conversation back to the center of the cultural dialogue.
Review Copy Provided by WaterBrook Multnomah