Gabe Lyons

 In Blog, Influence

These are my summary reflections from the Catalyst East Conference in Atlanta, GA.  The theme this year was “The Tension is Good”, so the speakers mostly used their talks to explore various tensions we all feel in Leadership.  I don’t summarize every speaker.

Gabe Lyons helped to start the Catalyst Conference, but left several years ago to pursue Q.  He co-authored the excellent book unChristian and released just last week his equally excellent follow-up The Next Christians, which fleshes out many of the ideas he presented at Catalyst.

The next Christians are engaging cultural tensions in a whole new way.

Our world is changing.  But what is it changing into?

  1. Post-Modern – a skepticism towards certainty
  2. Post-Christian – the Church has moved from the center of culture to the margins.
  3. Pluralistic – the Judeo-Christian worldview is no longer exclusive.

When engaging culture, Christians fall somewhere along a spectrum between two poles:

  1. Separate
  2. Enculturate

Those who have captured the heart of the Gospel do neither.  They take a third path.  The Next Christians seek to restore.

80329357 What is a restorer?  How is s/he different from the poles of the spectrum?  Consider this as the outline of the Gospel story:

Creation –> Fall -> Redemption –> Restoration

Separatists tend to focus on the Fall/Redemption aspects of the story, ignoring that creation and culture are good, and that it’s all going somewhere.

Encultureists tend to focus on the Creation/Restoration pieces without taking Sin seriously enough.

A Restorer listens to the whole story.  S/he is provoked by brokenness to step-up and get involved.

Gabe has elsewhere categorized culture in seven different spheres, and pointed out that the Church (the religion sphere) is the only sphere that regularly gathers the other spheres.  Every person in your church already works in the world, in the other spheres.  This means that your church is an unmobilized army already on mission.

What are you doing to train and equip them to become restorers?

Our job isn’t just to show up and state the Good News; it’s to embody the Gospel so people might catch a glimpse of what the Gospel looks like.

Recommended Posts
  • Thanks for this summary, JR. I’m 2/3 of the way through Next Christians and so far, it is an greatly expanded version of the talk. It’s an important naming work. It really captures, organizes, and structures the ziegiest among people like us. I get the sense that it discusses one of the way younger emergents are crystalizing. I can’t recommend it enough.

  • Our Executive Pastor just burned thru it and bought a copy for each person on staff AND our Leadership Team. So it’s going to be a very large part of my immediate (and long-term) future, methinks. I look forward to discussing it w/ u once I have a chance to read it!

Drop Me a Line!

Got a question? Comment? Let me know what's on your mind!

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt