Reaching Millennials by David Stark
Created by itsa on 6/27/2016 8:47:25 PM

Stark, David. Reaching Millennials. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing, 2016.

 

Reviewed by Craig Kraftimage

Stark picks up on a timely subject and expands on the work of Kinneman (un-Christian), Hiemstra (Hemorrhaging Faith), and others by presenting a clear understanding of how American Millennials view the institution we call church. He concludes that most American Christians need to have “a very different mindset, attitude, and behavioral pattern… if we are going to engage outsiders with the claims of Christ.” We need to focus on the gospel and seek to remove the obstacles and barriers that are perceived by our current culture. The second half of the book presents a methodology to help churches adapt their strategy and mindset to present the gospel to millennials.

I found the book to be insightful and thought provoking. It challenges readers to consider the differences between law, tradition, culture and gospel in the shaping of faith, society, and ethics. He refers to the helpful “Wesleyan Quadrilateral” to help the reader understand how our theology and knowledge of God is formed through Scripture, reason, tradition, and experience. Stark wants his audience to wrestle with the truth of the gospel and how the message of Jesus should be presented, contextually, with today’s youth and younger adults.

 

A review copy of this Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and Baker Books in exchange for an honest review.

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Resource Article Archive
6/27/2016 8:47:25 PM
  Reaching Millennials by David Stark
   
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A conversation, bridging generations, about critical issues facing the church today.

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Stiller, Brian. In Insider’s Guide to Praying For the World. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2016.

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This simple prayer guide provides 52 daily readings and prayers as the reader is introduced to various nations and people groups. 

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This past week I was given a copy of No Place Left by one of my team members. I was challenged and encouraged as I read through the author’s portrayal of what could happen when a small group of people decide to take the great commission of Jesus seriously. I couldn’t put the book down!
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6/27/2016 8:47:26 PM
  Imagine Heaven
   

A Review of John Burk’s new book, Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences. God’s Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits You.


 

Burke, John. Imagine Heaven. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2015.

Reviewed by Craig Kraft

 

Have you ever wondered about eternity and what happens to us after we die? image

After reviewing over one thousand Near Death Experiences (NDE), Burke provides a thought provoking look at what the Bible says, illustrated and illuminated by personal testimonies of individuals from around the world who have tasted death and caught a small glimpse of the afterlife.

Contrary to what is usually depicted on TV, not all NDE’s involve a bright light and pearly gates. Burke carefully examines the similarities and differences the the accounts of 100 individuals to develop a pretty vivid picture of what we will experience when we close our eyes for the last time on earth. Some stories portray a heavenly reception while others are quite hellish.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it to be both rational and relevant. It helped provide some answers to questions I had at the time of my mother’s death when she described having conversations with Jesus and Angels.

A review copy of this Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and Baker Books in exchange for an honest review.

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  Stronger: How Hard Times Reveal God’s Greatest Power by Clayton King
   

King, Clayton. Stronger: How Hard Times Reveal God’s Greatest Power. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2015

Reviewed by Craig Kraftimage

We live in a time when big and successful men, especially leaders, are supposed to be strong and composed, at least that is what we think. King shows us his softer side by exposing the pains, traumas, and suffering that God has used in his life to make him stronger.

King helps us look at our struggles from a different perspective. When we put God at the center of the equation, we can find hope and meaning in the darkest hours of our lives. King shares some of those dark moments from his own life and reminds the reader of the importance of being vulnerable with others and acknowledging that God is in control of every situation of our lives.

I recommend this book to those who may be struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel or wondering how God could ever use their current trial to bring about something positive.

*A review copy of this Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and Baker Books in exchange for an honest review.

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  Into The Fray by Matt Mikalatos
   

Mikalatos, Matt. Into the Fray: The Story of Acts Retold for Today. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2015

Reviewed by Craig Kraftimage

I must admit that it seemed odd to read the old familiar story of the book of Acts in modern language. Something about Jesus’ body being loaded in an SUV and buried in a Crypt and his assertion being described as “Jesus flew off to Heaven,” seemed odd and irreverent at first, but as I journeyed along with the Author through the exciting events of the book of Acts, I was drawn into the story as if it were today’s headlines.

Mkialatos does an incredible job of engaging the reader within the drama of the Acts of the Apostles. It is a fresh new telling of the old story that catches the reader off guard and helps him hear and see things that he may not have noticed before. It is an exciting story from cover to cover and a great way to introduce the birth of the church and the work of the Holy Spirit through those who followed Jesus. Hearing the story afresh just might encourage us to tell the old story again and again to a new audience, who are ready to hear the good news.

*A review copy of this Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and Baker Books in exchange for an honest review.

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  Bill Donahue - The Irresistible Community
   

Donahue, Bill. The Irresistible Community: An Invitation To Life Together. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2015

Reviewed by Craig Kraftimage

An insightful and creative read. Donahue takes the reader on a journey back to the last supper, in the presence of Jesus in the upper room, and invites us to experience community the way the disciples experienced it with Jesus.

Donahue recreates the experience from the perspective of the Disciples who were there and demonstrates the importance of community for each one of us. This book is a creative look at how to develop meaningful communities where people can find a sense of belonging, service, and fulfillment in life and ministry.

*A review copy of this Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and Baker Books in exchange for an honest review.

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6/27/2016 8:47:26 PM
  Christ of the Indian Road
   

E. Stanley Jones.  Christ Of The Indian Road. New York: Abingdon Press, 1925.

I don’t usually read a lot of books that are 90 years old, but this one was worth it.  Jones wrote this book to stimulate western thought about what it means to be a follower of Christ.  Challenging prevalent views that missionary endeavor included the transformation of culture to something more “civilized,” Jones argues that a follower of Christ in India should look and act differently than a follower of Christ in Australia, Canada, America or Great Britton.  Jones is convinced that the core of missions is Christ and that it is the missionaries responsibility to introduce individuals to Christ rather than to a foreign culture or construct of church.  He argues in 1925 for an incarnational ministry among the Indian people.  He says that for Christian missions to be effective in India, then we need to focus on introducing Jesus and Jesus only.  Speaking with Gandhi and other Hindu leaders, Jones identified that Indians liked Jesus but they did not like many of his followers.  One Hindu philosopher said, “I have one word to speak to you: If you Christians had lived more like Jesus Christ, this process of conversion would have gone on much more rapidly.”  (p.115)  He also quotes a conversation he had with Mahatma Gandhi.  He asked, what must Christians do to see Christianity naturalized in India?  Gandhi responded, “I would suggest, first, that all of you Christians, missionaries and all, must begin to live more like Jesus Christ.” 

The message was to the church and mission community of 1925, but it is just as relevant today as it was back then.  Jones recognizes that being a missionary does not mean being God’s lawyer, ready to fight for his influence and defend him against all attacks, but to be his witness.  This is a very helpful book in recognizing what it means to be a witness of Jesus Christ across cultural divides.

 

Review by Craig Kraft

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6/27/2016 8:47:26 PM
  Boundless: What Global Expressions Of Faith Teach Us About Following Jesus
   

Bishop, Bryan. Boundless: What Global Expressions of Faith Teach Us About Following Jesus. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2015.image

Reviewed by Craig Kraft

While many Christians are debating the value and dangers of contextualization in missions and evangelism, Bishop takes us beyond the rhetoric to meet the people and experience the faith of several followers of Christ that don’t fit the traditional western mold. Bishop introduces us to the contextualized worship and belief of believers from Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, and North American First Nations people. He examines how the core of the gospel is understood by these new believers and how it is lived out within their unique cultural setting.

The book provides several good examples of ethnohermeneutics, the practice of interpreting the message of the Gospel within the ethnic context of the learner, using the tools and beliefs that are common to that culture.

What I appreciate most about Bishop’s book is that he goes beyond the simple identification of how “they” are different from “us.” He helps the reader develop a greater understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus by demonstrating the deep faith and committed obedience of “Disciples” who have met Jesus in very different ways and have learned to walk with Him within the confines of their own culture. I strongly recommend this book to the church in Canada and the United States. It will broaden our understanding of our new neighbors. We can learn a lot from our brothers and sisters around the world.

 

*A review copy of this Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and Baker Books in exchange for an honest review.

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  How To Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird – Amy Lively
   

Lively, Amy. How To Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2015image

Reviewed by Craig Kraft

Lively has taken the Lord’s command to “Love your neighbor” and put it into very practical terms. Most of us struggle with this simple command. We wonder what it looks like, we don’t know who most of our neighbors are, and we don’t want to be branded as crazy Christians. We think it is all about inviting people to church, but it is not. Lively demonstrates a simple approach to loving her neighbors and her neighborhood in a way that is “normal.” It stretches us out of our comfort zone and uses our home or yard as a place where people may meet Jesus through us.

The book is written by a woman and primarily to women. However, as a man, I still learned a lot from the author and was challenged to consider how intentional I am in my relationships with others in my community. It is an easy book to read but every page will challenge you to think in new ways about who you are and where God has placed you.

*A review copy of this Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

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  The Rise of the Nones – James Emery White
   

The fastest growing religious grouping of people in America is those who identify themselves on surveys as “none.” Those who self-identified as at least nominally affiliated with a religious group in the past are increasingly finding it easier to just check the box that says, “none.” This book examines who these people are, why they are disassociating with religion.

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  30 Events that Shaped the Church - Gansky
   

Gansky, Alton. 30 Events That Shaped the Church. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2015.

Through outstanding writing, Gansky takes the reader on a time traveling journey through the development of the Church as we know and recognize it today. The author introduces us to some of the church fathers and creeds that shaped the early formation of the church and then traces the influence of scientific and social developments of latter centuries which have molded the church into what it is today.

This is a brilliant presentation of church history by a master story teller. The chronological presentation of key people and events makes church history accessible and relevant for any interested readers. I highly recommend this volume to all Christians. Unfortunately, most of us know very little about the history of the church, Gansky takes away many of our excuses by making it entertaining and easy to understand.

 

*A review copy of this Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and Baker Books in exchange for an honest review.

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  Shifting Stats Shaking the Church
   

Paddey, Patricia, and Karen Stiller. Shifting Stats Shaking The Church: 40 Canadian Churches Respond. Mississauga: World Vision Canada, 2015.

Reviewed by Craig Kraft

The Authors of this book are writers and editors with Faith Today magazine. They are intimately familiar with the social and institutional trends among Canadian Churches. Faith Today Magazine is also referred to as Canada’s Christian Magazine and it is published six times a year by the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

Shifting Stats Shaking The Church has just become available. It represents some of the most recent research and case studies on how Canadian churches are responding to their communities’ needs in six critical areas: family, finances, immigration, technology, volunteering, and youth. Nine of the forty case studies are related to immigration. The authors state: “Canada is home to one of the most multi-ethnic, multicultural, multi-religious populations on the planet and we’re facing some of the most significant upheavals in our nation’s history. So what does that mean for Christ’s church.” They respond to this question by demonstrating that there is hope and that hope is articulated through each of the case studies.

This book is an encouraging and inspiring read as the authors take the reader on a visit to some great churches of all sizes which have made an intentional effort to make a difference in their communities and building the kingdom of God.

 

*A review copy of this Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and World Vision in exchange for an honest review.

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6/27/2016 8:47:27 PM
  The Church at Work by John Pellowe
   

Pellowe, John. The Church At Work. Elmira: Canadian Council of Christian Charities, 2012.

Reviewed by Craig Kraft

Pellowe brings his experience as the director of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities together with careful examination of biblical and historical precedents to reflect on the relationship between church and parachurch ministries. The book provides a clear understanding of the latent tension experienced by many who caught within the church and parachurch interplay. He sees the two as complimentary and provides helpful tools for reflection and understanding. The Final chapters of the book suggest how churches and parachurch ministries can enrich their relationships and work together to build the Kingdom. I recommend this book to clergy and laity within the church and to those who are involved in parachurch ministry. It will open the reader’s eyes to understand the root of historical tensions and provide a foundation for building trust, accountability and communication that lead to renewed relationships and collaboration.

*A review copy of this Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and The Canadian Council of Christian Charities in exchange for an honest review.

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6/27/2016 8:47:27 PM
  Mapping the Arenas of Discipleship in the 21st Century
   

This is part of the Discipleship Project within Outreach Canada, a think tank on future possibilities and opportunities within Canada. In this article, I try to map the fruitful arenas of discipleship that I believe the Canadian Church needs to attend to, both for its own integrity and witness, and the retention of its young people under 30. It is a work in progress, meant to stimulate research and vision, to give hope.Where are you and your ministry on the map? Where do you want to be moving forward? How can you find others of like mind across the country? many of the ideas are from Christian leaders like yourself.I believe God wants us to move towards maturity and holism. ~Dr. Gordon E. Carkner, InterFace: Graduate and Faculty Ministries, Outreach Canada

 

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6/27/2016 8:47:27 PM
  Neighborhood Mapping
   

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6/28/2016 5:07:42 AM
  Neighborhood Mapping
   

A review of the book by Dr. John Fuder.

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6/27/2016 8:47:27 PM
  Can We Still Believe the Bible?
   

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6/28/2016 5:07:42 AM
  Can We Still Believe the Bible?
   

A brief review of Can We Still Believe the Bible? By Craig Blomberg, 2014

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6/27/2016 8:47:27 PM
  The Power of One on One – Jim Stump
   

Jim Stump. The Power of One on One. 2014.

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Jim Stump says that he won the job lottery when he became a full time mentor to college athletes at Stanford University.

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