We are in the final stages of publishing Beyond Sundays, and have set the release date as February 8, 2018. This is my newest title, adapted from a series of blog articles about the phenomenon of the “Dones”, those who have given up on institutional Christianity not to forsake the way of Jesus, but in hopes of finding a more vital and authentic faith beyond it.
What are we to make of this trend and how will it impact Christianity in the Western world? Some view it as threatening its future, while others see hope in re-centering the faith once delivered to the saints. Unfortunately there is much animosity and simplistic judgments between these groups that only fractures the bride he loves so much. Literally for Christ’s sake, we need to find a way to converse about these things in love and in a way that recognizes all the ways God is at work in our world.
This book is an appeal for the all those who seek to follow Christ to be less focused on on where others are or aren’t on Sunday morning at 10:00 and more aware of what it is to engage a vital relationship with God, and to share his love freely with others.
The book is 176 pages long and we will print copies in paperback for $11.99 and in e-book for $5.99. However, you can get our pre-order special for only $10.00. Please be advised that if you order other products from Lifestream in the same order, all products will ship together when this book is available. If you want them sooner, please order those other products separately.
If you’d like a review copy for an article you want to write about it, please contact me for a free review copy.
We hope to have copies on hand during the first week of February and will ship them just as soon as we get them in hand. An e-book will also be available through all major outlets around the same time. We will announce that in the blog when they are ready.
Here is an excerpt from the book:
In the last few decades, sixty-five million Americans who once regularly attended a local congregation no longer do. About thirty-five million of those no longer self-identify as Christian, but over thirty-one million still do. This last group has been tagged “The Dones”: those who still seek to follow Jesus and find real community, but who have given up hope that the local congregation is still relevant to their journey.
What do we make of this phenomenon? Does it threaten the future of God’s work in our world, or does it create new opportunities for God to make himself known, even if it challenges our hopes or preconceptions?
I have spent my life in both places. I grew up in a traditional congregation and pastored in two of them for over twenty years. For the past twenty-three, however, I’ve spent more time outside with those who no longer participate in a Sunday (or Saturday) morning institution. I see the animosity between the two camps, and I yearn for the day when we can have a healing dialog consistent with the prayer of Jesus that we would all be one. Nothing, he said, would demonstrate his reality better to the world than the love his people share together.
It’s a conversation we desperately need, and not just between various factions of Christianity. I hope this book can seed that conversation between friends and families in communities throughout the world. Whether you attend a local church or whether you don’t, responding to this phenomenon will have repercussions for generations to come. We can continue to treat each other with suspicion and judgment that further fracture our Father’s family, or we can celebrate all the ways he works to bring people to himself and transform them in his love.
Additionally, I hope this book encourages those who have lost their mooring in institutional Christianity and yet still hunger for a relationship with God and real community with others. The failures of organized religion do not discount God’s reality or your opportunity to get to know him. I want to help you navigate a life of growing faith and impact in the world beyond the institutional borders that may have harmed you.
This is a propitious moment in Christian history, and all the more so as the world darkens around us. May we all respond in a way that allows the glory of the Lord to arise out of the love of his people, and by doing so, proclaim to the world that our God is real and worthy to be followed.