About the author: Preston Sprinkle is a professor, speaker, and a New York Times bestselling author. He earned a Ph.D. in New Testament from Aberdeen University in Scotland (2007), and he’s been a professor of theology at Cedarville University (OH), Nottingham University (England), and Eternity Bible College (CA and ID). Preston is currently a full-time author, speaker, and teacher…Preston loves communicating Christian truths with thoughtfulness, honesty and grace. He is passionate about approaching topics that everyone wants to know about, but no one wants to talk about…Preston has written several books and dozens of articles. He loves to bridge the gap between the ivory tower and the pew by writing on controversial topics in an accessible and engaging way… Preston and his wife, Christine, live in Boise, Idaho, with their three daughters and son.
The information above has been copied from Preston’s personal website.
So Many Great Quotes
“Without an authentic reliance on God’s unmerited delight, we cannot follow the sinless Savior. Unless God stubbornly pursues us-which he does-we simply can’t pursue him.” (p. 26)
“Jesus is far less threatened by our doubts than we are. He knows how fragile our faith actually is-even if we try to spackle over our weakness with good Christian performance.” (p. 32)
“A performance-based church environment will prevent disciples from genuinely wrestling with the deep issues of life-the things that cause them to doubt.” (p. 34)
“Christian accountability should never shame someone into obedience or make them feel unloved by God.” (p. 37)
“When two (or three, or four) broken people come together and have nothing to hide, no one to impress, and no plastic image that they’re trying to put on, it becomes so much easier to engage in honest relationships. (p.39)
“Churches need to resist being controlled by fear-driven rhetoric and to explore ways in which they can nurture and train people to think critically about matters of faith and obedience.” (p. 80)
“The church has done a poor job at thoughtfully engaging the present issues of the day. From science to sexuality, Christian are being told what to think, not how to think.” (p. 98)
“The church needs to be a safe place to dialogue. We can’t be scared of hard questions, and we need to stop giving prepackaged, canned responses to complex issues.” (p. 105) We love to hear ourselves talk, and we keep regurgitating dogmatic answers to complex questions.” (p. 105)
“As image bearers, all possess gifts and talents that should be used to further God’s kingdom. Yet people often feel stifled or forced to fit into a few prepackaged programs that are created from the top down.” (p. 121)
“Only Jesus can accomplish ethnic reconciliation-tearing down walls of division and animosity and forming a unified body of Jesus followers.” (p. 129)
“If all I do is read Scripture through my white middle-class, male lenses, and if I pursue God in a community with other white, middle class men, I’m bound to miss out the fullness of God, which is best revealed through a diverse community of image bearers. We’re all prone to think about God through the homogeneous lenses we’ve grown up with.” (p. 139)
“It just seems that we’ve created an expensive machine called “church” that’s so dependent upon money (and lots of it) that it’s hard to sustain or reproduce. And the return-making disciples who make disciples-has been far less than what we should expect.” (p. 150)
Discipleship Cannot Happen Apart From Relationships (p. 44)
Preston wrote Go in response to the books Soul Searching and The State of Discipleship. He did consult other resources, but these two titles he refers to most often. The writers (Christian Smith, Melinda Lundquist Denton) of Soul Searching investigate the large number of millennials who have left the church. The State of Discipleship is a recent Barna study which illuminated the lack of consistent church growth, proper biblical worldview, and biblical discipleship. Preston concerned, found inspiration, and Go is the product of much research, critical thinking, and heart.
Discipleship has been a popular topic for several years, or more. However, with all the research and study the church as a whole has been ineffective at implementing many solutions. I have read about solutions in this book and others. But discipleship seems to be a minor concern to the majority and a major concern to the minority. As Preston points out in the book, many churches and leaders are more interested in efficiency and survival. Many churches have become non communal communities. (p. 69) He even dedicated a chapter to the alarming segregation that takes place within our churches, “The Most Segregated Hour Of The Week.” (p. 127-145)
Preston provides heart wrenching statistics and creative solutions. I have read several other books about discipleship. I don’t believe that Preston offers much new insight, the same information has been going around for years. The book is short in length and easy to read. He uses subtitles, which is great because it helps readers to focus on the main point, they also help to navigate through the book. Relative comments and paragraphs of others are inserted into the chapters, blocked off. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a fresh creative way to minister or anyone who wants to know what discipleship looks like. Preston writes, “like many Christian buzzwords, discipleship terms clutter the church airwaves, yet few people actually understand what they mean.” (p. 5)
Every now and then I read a book where I feel that I really sync with the author. As I read, I notice similar thoughts that I have had, or even things that I have said. I’m always enthusiastic when this happens, I think to myself, there are others who feel the way I do. We share the commonality of loving community and at the same time love the alone time that we experience in our thoughts and books. Preston did not coin the word “outlier” but he used it to identify people like himself (myself). Preston transparently wrote about his own struggles and concerns.
In exchange for an honest review, Tyndall Blog Network has provided me a copy of this book. I have given an honest review.