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Review of The 21st Century Christian – Following Jesus where Life happens

By Bruce Ames

This small book by Rev Michael Moynagh (UK) and Rev Michael Beck (USA) provides tools for Christians who want to follow Jesus’ Great Commission but are unsure of how to do so effectively.

The two Michaels encourages us to follow Jesus by practical measures in the wider community. Jesus did most of his teaching by reaching out to the wider community and we are encouraged to do the same!

They describe discipleship as living out the way of Jesus in the world, not by telling people what they’re missing out on, but by listening to and loving those we meet by reaching out to people in their ordinary lives.

Some examples include using social media to join canoeing or cycling or young parent groups where people enjoy community with each other. But we are encouraged to be genuine with people and to follow a “loving first” cycle.

The cycle is: Listen – Love – Community – Share Jesus – Church – Repeat. 

Note that “sharing Jesus” is later in the cycle after getting to know people.

The two Michaels provide practical examples of the various ways the cycle can be encouraged and how Christians can support each other in the cycle process.

I was struck by the similarity between the “loving first” cycle and the process followed in the Kairos Inside Prison Ministry courses I participated in from 2012 to 2019. In those courses, around 20 volunteers and 20 residents have five days together following the Kairos program.

The Kairos motto is “Listen, Listen, Love, Love”. Then we build community with the residents before sharing Jesus, particularly forgiveness and the generous love of God as shown by the Father in the parable of the prodigal son. By the end of the five days, the residents agree, “We are the church”!

I know from my Kairos experience that this cycle works. I recommend this book for followers of Jesus who would like some practical ideas about how to reach outside the church membership to the wider community.

Why not join us to discuss the book at our online discipleship book club on a NEW DAY, WEDNESDAY, 5 July, 7-8 pm? All are welcome, and joining us for this discussion doesn’t require you to attend any of the future gatherings! Click here to register and receive the link to the meeting, and for further information, please get in touch with Paul Wetzig at paul.wetzig@ucaqld.com.au

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