Good interview here with Gabe Lyons, author of the new book “The Next Christians”:
Couple of sample questions from the interview:
Even though you see “Christian America” as over, you argue we shouldn’t lament this development, but rather, see the opportunity for the Christian movement within it. How so?
I am incredibly encouraged by what I see transpiring around us. First, we have to remember that the Christian faith always thrives under these conditions. Post-Christendom is not unlike pre-Christendom. But tangibly, I am seeing a whole generation of believers who are recovering the gospel and living transformed lives. “The next Christians” are living out their faith in the workplace and the public square in new ways. They are provoked to engage the world and creating new organizations and projects to restore the world’s fallen state. These Christians are revitalizing old churches and planting new ones. If these next Christians are the future of the faith–and I believe they are–we just might be witnessing the beginning of the faith’s next great expansion.
How can pastors better encourage, affirm and shepherd these next Christians you describe?
For starters, they must be aware that this generation isn’t running from Jesus, they are running towards deeper meaning and connection between their faith and all of life. This should be one of the most exciting developments for a pastor to hear. However, it does mean a pastor’s priorities might have to change in how they interact with this generation. Instead of trying to pull them “into” the church–they need to discover how to work alongside them to empower them “outside” the church in how faith intersects with their passions and work. This next generation needs their pastor to live in the tension with them, to help them institute practices in their life that will keep them grounded and anchored to Christ in a world that is screaming for their time and attention in everything but a rooted faith.
I like Lyons’ ideas and will be adding his book to my ever increasing reading stack.