Gabe Lyons recently released a book entitled The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America.
We have not yet read it, but we like what we are hearing about it, given his emphasis on several themes that form the core of the DNA message. For example:
Man as Imago Dei: the next Christians … emphasize seeing the image of God in every person they encounter, even if that person wouldn’t acknowledge it. They don’t only care about social good, but see that as part of a holistic faith that naturally opens the door to much deeper conversations with their friends about the meaning of life, who we are as human beings and what God’s best is for his creations.
Vocation as a calling: These [next] Christians aren’t manipulated by a governing thought in many American churches that the truest mission for Christ takes place in “full-time ministry” in a local church, para church or missions opportunities. Rather, they are enthusiastically applying the good news of Jesus Christ in the places and careers to which they feel called. They believe that true mission is to bring the truth and restoration power of the gospel into the places they are already showing up. … pastoral leadership is going to have to get really good at knowing how to come alongside the people in their congregation and help them understand how the implications of the gospel play out in their vocation, in their setting – whether they’re a professor, a business leader, an entrepreneur.
Wholistic ministry of the church: The end of Christian America has pushed us into a new era of faith, one marked by believers possessing this restoration mindset and applying it maturely into every area of the world in which they show up. If the Great Reformation put scripture into the hands of Christians giving them direct access to Christ through his Word and their prayer life–this next shift is taking the themes of scripture beyond the pew and into every arena of public life.
Go here to read the interview we have excerpted.
Lyons describes a reality that transcends the North American continent. DNA co-founder Bob Moffit just returned from South Africa where he was teaching a group of committed young Christian leaders. About this group Bob writes:
Most of them would agree that what Gabe Lyons is describing is not only an American phenomenon but is reflective of young Christians’ views in Africa as well. The young Christian leaders I met with for the last three days told me that their disciples are eager to follow Jesus but clearly not in the context of the institutional churches they know. I encouraged them to think of local church not only in terms of the institutions we most commonly think of, but to be aware that local church can be envisioned as two or three intentionally meeting together to fulfill the functions described of local churches in the New Testament. If the old wine skins don’t work in today’s younger faith culture, this new generation of followers of Jesus may need to form new wine skins that they believe are truer to the intentions of Christ for his Body.
– The DNA team