When living what you believe to be a good Christian life still leaves you feeling empty, you might begin to wonder: Do I really know what it means to follow Christ? It's a question Rob Peabody, author ofCitizen: Your Role in the Alternative Kingdom, asked himself at the age of 26, shortly after landing his dream job as the lead campus pastor of a burgeoning new campus of a Texas mega-church.
Peabody realized his faith had little connection with the world around him. He had inherited a westernized view of Christianity that too often glorifies personal success, comfort and individualism to the detriment of the lifestyle to which Jesus calls his followers. He realized Jesus was calling him --- and all of us --- to an all-or-nothing lifestyle, not a pick-and-choose faith salad bar. Something had to change.
In Citizen, Peabody defines the kingdom-centered identity given to followers of Jesus and uses his personal story to reveal fundamental problems in the Christian culture. He shows how each problem --- the model of competition, the idol of the autonomous self, the desire to create God in our own image and conflicting allegiances - can be resolved by appealing to our loyalties and duties as citizens of God's kingdom.
Citizen is also a wake-up call to the church in the West. Peabody's spiritual journey has now taken him from America's Bible belt to the United Kingdom, where he is dedicated to reaching the young adults walking London's streets.
In Citizen, readers will learn salvation is so much more than just a get-out-of-jail-free card; it's an invitation to change the way they live completely and transform a culture in the process.
I tend to be one of those Christians happy to sit in the pew and go about my life in between church services doing my thing. So this book was a bit convicting to me. The author presents a great case for Christians doing more than that. Of getting involved in the community and helping people, of getting out of our comfort zone and doing something more with our lives for God than what we have been doing.
And he sets a great example. He moved to another country to set up a ministry.
He points out that we do what we do as Christians a lot of tradition and the way we were raised. We have this ideal we meet as Christians and never go beyond it or outside of it, yet being a Christian isn't just about escaping hell and going to Heaven, it is about living for Jesus day to day, and that involves more than just going to church.
The book is an easy and interesting read, though it is convicting. It will make you think and feel the need to change from the usual and norm. I highly recommend it.
About the author:
Rob Peabody left his position as lead campus pastor of a mega-church in Texas in 2011 and moved with his wife, Medea, and their two sons to the U.K. He is now the co-founder and director of Awaken, a non-profit organization that exists to provide resources and creativity to the church and reach Londoners in their 20s and 30s with the Gospel. This work is commissioned by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and in partnership with the Church of England.
Peabody also currently serves as a missional consultant for multiple church networks. He appears regularly at the Spring Harvest conferences in Great Britain and will be leading a new upcoming national U.K. conference for young adults called The Pursuit.
In addition, Peabody has written a small-group film series entitledKingdom Rise, which was released in March of 2013.
Citizen is available from Monarch Publishing.
Thanks to Litfuse for the review copy.