Item description for Churchnext: The Reflective Christian & the Risk of Commitment by Eddie Gibbs...
Overview What will the church be next? Change is now. Competition from nontraditional and Eastern religions join with the pressures of both modernism and postmodernism to squeeze Christianity.
Publishers Description A 2001 Christianity Today Book of the Year What will the church be next? CHANGE IS NOW. Competition from nontraditional and Eastern religions join with the pressures of both modernism and postmodernism to squeeze Christianity. While new church models have sprung up to meet these challenges, they each have strengths and limitations. Eddie Gibbs, a well-known church strategist and practitioner, candidly analyzes these models while proposing nine areas in which the church will need to transform to be biblically true to its message and its mission to the world. With vigor and insight Gibbs shows how we can move from living in the past to engaging the present from being market driven to being mission oriented from following celebrities to encountering saints from holding dead orthodoxy to nurturing living faith from attracting a crowd to seeking the lost Here is a book that brings together deep understanding of the quantum shifts taking place in our culture along with concrete suggestions for implementing a proactive mission strategy.
Awards and Recognitions Churchnext: The Reflective Christian & the Risk of Commitment by Eddie Gibbs has received the following awards and recognitions -
Christianity Today Book Award - 2001 Winner - Church/Pastoral Leaders category
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Eddie Gibbs (DMin, Fuller Theological Seminary) is director of the Institute for the Study of Emerging Churches at the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts and a senior professor in the School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He is the author of numerous books, including Emerging Churches and the critically acclaimed ChurchNext (winner of a Christianity Today book award), and is cohost of the popular Church Then and Now Web site.
Reviews - What do customers think about ChurchNext: Quantum Changes in How We Do Ministry?
Relevant as next week's newspaper Dec 27, 2006
Examining the thunderous changes that have beset our world as it moved from the traditional to the modern and now to the post modern, the author identifies nine areas in which the church must transform to meet those cultural and paradigm changes. He goes on to examine the implications of these changes for church leadership. Along the way, we are constantly reminded of the outlook of the up and coming Generation X, for if we fail to reach that generation, we will have come one step closer to the extinction of the church.
Barna is quoted as noting that, even in the case of the baby boomers, 24% of those who consider themselves Christians do not attend a church on even a once a month basis. Though a number of factors are suggested for this decline, one particular notable observation was that people are not looking so much for worship that is relevant as they are for worship that is real (Page 155).
Wonderfully relevant as next week's newspaper, Gibbs brings out principles that are applicable for both the large and the small church and even for personal living as he points out the many ways we have been influenced by modernity and post modernity. We live in an increasingly post literary age; one that is oriented toward the visual. This means that we must learn to speak the language of our culture, not only in words, but in ways that communicates through that visual medium.
A particularly telling point is made regarding the course of future seminary education: The issue is not whether theology per se is important, but what kind of theology. It must be theological training that provides the skills to apply the biblical texts to contemporary situations (Page 99).
Gibbs calls us to develop an apostolic mindset in the way we do ministry and in our making of disciples as a lifelong process. This involves having a vision of people-centered ministry that decentralizes control and utilizes networking to get people involved in ministry that changes from an inviting to an infiltrating mindset.
In describing a return to Celtic Christianity, the author describes the emphasis of life as a journey and how such Christians see themselves as hospites mundi, guests of the world. Emphasis is placed on the going rather than on arriving at one's destination at some holy place, believing that "Is shall not find Christ at the end of the journey unless he accompanies me along the way." (Page 137).
Super Dense Reading Feb 21, 2006
This book has some great content. However, getting into can be very difficult as the writing is so dense and hard to sink your teeth into. Definitely not a Donald Miller style writer. However, as said, the material is very good and challenges you to ponder some great questions. The chapter titles should be good enough to entice most readers.
The great thing is... there is a new version/edition of the book just printed in 2005. It is co-written by someone else (sorry can't remember) and comes at the discussion from a more 'American' point of view rather than British. From looking it over, it is practically a whole new book, completely rewritten but maintaining the same chapter titles. This is the book I wish I had purchased and I was a little upset that this site did not inform me of the update. Too bad.
For the content, the book gets at least a 4.5. For the readability, scartching at a 2.
Very academic... but worth the read. Dec 14, 2005
Eddie Gibbs distinguishes himself and his writing in a genre that is already burgeoning with repetitive and less-than-helpful texts as he takes a hard look at the dominant expressions of Christianity in the postmodern transitional period of the past forty years and then proceeds to evaluate them from a missiological perspective.
The academic credibility of Gibbs findings are complimented by his wide-angle approach to the issues, which leave the reader with a solid and well-rounded analysis of the issues concerning the emergence of the next generation church. Gibbs divides his work into nine major sections, with each exploring a polarizing concept critical to the shaping of the postmodern church.
Although I cannot fully agree with all of Gibbs conclusions, he does an excellent job of presenting the issues and suggesting the dominant themes of transition for the North American church. These themes deserve a greater investigation in a theological sense, but to do so (for the most part) would be out of place in this book, which finds its primary purpose in defining the catalyzing issues of 21st century christian-spirituality.
I personally have found myself enriched by Gibbs' in-depth and thoughtful analysis on the implications of pursuing authenticity in the context of leadership, structure, and spiritual experience; these themes, finding their apex in chapters 3-5 are quite possibly the crown of Gibbs work in this book. They reflect an honest personal search on behalf of the author, and offer truly relevant points for consideration.
Dealing with Chaos by Changing to Mission Church Mar 5, 2003
The more I read, the more I became interested in what Gibbs had to say. In fact, it wasn't until the final chapter where he tends to put it all back together again that I saw where he was going.
He aptly describes the chaos of culture by one that is wavering between modern and post-modern, a world without a center or a circumference. As he writes: "a balkanized world of warring factions." To this disjointed complexity, add five generational groups: builders, silent ones, boomers, GenX, and bemused millennials.
Previous attempts, visions, strategies, programs, traditions are inadequate in themselves to deal with such quantum change and choas. What is needed the book suggests is a whole new outlook and orientation: one that basically (in author's view) returns to first century apostolic church which was driven by small group of believers committed to Lord that replicated themselves throughout the world. Appointed and empowered by apostles, they were not influential or socially prominent, but operated on the margins and infiltrated all society and turned their world upside down with the gospel.
He offers many compelling critiques of previous church growth strategy, but never totally dismisses them as unbiblical, but primarily as pragmatically not working.
He replaces such with "a mission orientation" which is faith led, and not a paradigm per se to be copied in detail, step-by-step, but contexualizing its principles of quick striking, infiltrating and making the gospel relevant to changing cultural setting.
Much is to be challenged of this, e.g. his fine reference points for the missional church - faithful to the gospel, inspired by the hope of Christ's return, informed and enriched by heritage are softened in this reader's mind by the addition of: "relevant to its ministry setting." He does unload this by explaining it as finding ways to get the gospel across in terms and language culture will accept as relevant. The problem with this is that doctrine is separated from the practice thereof, allowing and glorifying in permiscuity doctrinally speaking. As one astute observer wrote: "It is when the church begins to accomodate theology to the culture in which it exists that the church loses its moorings and begins to drift away from the truth."
He to his credit critiques much of what is wrong with worship these days, however in some cases places too much on work of people in worhsip, rather than God's work to people.
I was torn between three and four stars, so really 3.5. Worth reading and continuing thought about what he offers. Much of analaysis that is helpful to the church, and some fine challenges to all branches. What lacks is Biblical talk about apostasy in the end times and growing tendency to not tolerate sound doctrine but seek and demand teachers who tickle their consumer, individual, rights demanding ears.
Shooting Your Own Foot Jun 27, 2001
Did Gibbs or any of the audience he is targeting stop to think that they are trying to "save" or salvage something that longs for change. God is a God of love - period. There are many paths to love and to make another wrong is to live in the arrogance and ignorance of a belief system that the world is flat, that women are to be subsurvient, and that particular races are less refined than others. All beliefs that were KEY when the Bible was scribed. If you are willing to except the change of these things, why can't you see that what was heresy (holistic practises, herbs)hundreds of years ago is now recognized for its value today. Stop trying to "fix" people from expansion and personal growth. The experience of God is wondrously beyond definition.