In his most recent work, “The Next Christians: How a New Generation is Restoring the Faith,” Gabe Lyons shares what he calls “good news about the end of Christian America.” Over the last few years a number of books have emerged that look at the changing face and nature of Christianity both in the United States and around the world. Philip Jenkins, Phyllis Tickle and others have been exposing the shift taking place in the midst of Christianity. Lyons adds his experienced and wise voice to this growing chorus attempting to articulate the restless spirit of a new generation of Christ-followers.
Lyons begins his exploration by confessing his own embarrassment to be called a Christian because of the negative perception the label held for society. Out of this general framework Lyons begins to explore and articulate what is different about what he calls the ‘restorers’ of the faith. Through the book he makes it clear that there is much hope to be had for the future of Christianity and the church. Many of the descriptions of the ‘restorers’ centers around the creation of culture, community and the fulfillment of calling.
“The Next Christians” offers the church a glimpse of hope in the midst of a season of change. Lyons agrees with Phyllis Tickle that a shift is taking place within the faith and in this work he articulates why this shift can be a good thing and not something to fear. Lyons makes it clear that this shift is one towards restoration of the ‘first things’ of the faith. Pastors should especially take note of Lyons’ conclusions.