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Gospel Fluency: Speaking the Truths of Jesus into the Everyday Stuff of Life Hardcover – February 28, 2017
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“I have known Jeff for over a decade now, and his heart beats for the church to be all that God has called her to be in Christ. He is not just an ideas man; he is on the ground, living out the truths you read in this book. As the culture shifts and attractional ministry fades, Jeff will be a faithful guide for us all.”
—Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor, The Village Church, Dallas, Texas; President, Acts 29 Church Planting Network; author, The Mingling of Souls and The Explicit Gospel
“It’s easy to forget how good the good news of the gospel is. This practical book will help you to see that good news, and to share it with others.”
—Russell D. Moore, President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
“I've been wanting to have a resource from Jeff on this topic for a very long time. It is so, so, so needed. As I’ve worked with different Christians from several churches around the city of Chicago, I’ve witnessed the lack of gospel understanding that has permeated many ‘solid’ churches. I will personally hand out copies of this book like gospel tracts.”
—Jackie Hill Perry, poet; writer; hip-hop artist
“When Christians speak about the gospel, it should sound like our native tongue. Gospel Fluency helps us articulate and live the gospel we love. Our ‘fluency’ in the gospel is necessary for us to be ambassadors for our gospel-giving King. We need books like Gospel Fluency to both ground us in our practice of the gospel and raise us out of living our daily lives in the cultural drift.”
—Daniel Montgomery, Lead Pastor, Sojourn Community Church, Louisville, Kentucky; Founder, Sojourn Network; author, Faithmapping, PROOF, and Leadership Mosaic
“I love this book because its title delivers. To be able to explain what the gospel is, how it works in our own lives, and how it's shared is a unique and powerful combination I’ve never seen before. Jeff has written a book that will be around a long time because it reforms evangelism in a fresh way.”
—Bob Roberts, Senior Pastor, Northwood Church; author, Bold as Love and Lessons from the East
“Even the title of this book, Gospel Fluency, gets at a right understanding of the gospel: the message from God that must be spoken. Our communication of the gospel is more than a data dump; it’s a message that we must share without accent, as native speakers who have immersed themselves in knowing and speaking the living gospel. Jeff’s clear call, through compelling stories and biblical foundations, is to connect the gospel to all areas of life, and then speak it fluently to believers and nonbelievers alike.”
—J. Mack Stiles, author, Evangelism; Marks of the Messenger; Mack and Leeann’s Guide to Short Term Missions; and Speaking of Jesus
“Jeff calls us back to the gospel, not as a trite phrase to throw around in Christian circles but as a life-changing language in which we grow more fluent as we use it in community. The analogy to learning a foreign language helps us envision how to become fluent in the gospel, working, eating, and even dreaming while immersed in the good news of Jesus and how that changes everything. This is an extremely practical and helpful book!”
—Wendy Alsup, teacher; blogger; author, Is the Bible Good for Women? and Practical Theology for Women
“Jeff Vanderstelt has a gift for clarifying and simplifying what is often complex and puzzling. Gospel Fluency is no exception. In this book, Jeff invites believers, unbelievers, pastors, and church leaders to think about their faith with fresh eyes and fresh language. He invites us not to a system, a catchphrase, or a fad, but to a refreshing vision of Christ our Savior and the life he offers.”
—Mike Cosper, founder and director, Harbor Institute for Faith and Culture
About the Author
Jeff Vanderstelt is a pastor, speaker, author, and founder and visionary leader of Saturate and the Soma Family of Churches. He serves as a teaching pastor and director of missional communities at Doxa Church in Bellevue, Washington. Additionally, Jeff supports church planting globally through training and as a member of the advisory board of C2C Network. He and his wife, Jayne, have three children. You can connect with Jeff at his website, JeffVanderstelt.com, or on Twitter (@JeffVanderstelt).
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Useful? Yes, useful. I know from experience that Christians often struggle with taking the truth they believe in their heads into their hearts and then into their lives in a way that not only impacts their own lives, but also the lives of those around them. This book will be a blessing to anyone seeking to go from believing the Gospel to living out the Gospel.
It is a book for the long-time Christian (I am a pastor and have been a follower of Jesus for 21 years), the new believer who is just beginning to walk with Jesus, but also the non-believer who is seeking to investigate the claims of Christ. Seriously. It is a book that does what Jesus did: meets people where they are and ministers to them.
I have heard the Gospel throughout my entire life, but it never gets old. And Jeff's book filled my heart with a desire to grow more "Gospel fluent", to become more versed in how the Gospel impacts all of life, to truly experience how Jesus is better in every way. It is refreshing, challenging, hopeful, helpful, encouraging and soul-stirring.
If you desire to know Jesus more deeply, and to live that love out in your life, this book is for you. I'm already planning on re-reading it.
While I understand that part of becoming Gospel fluent requires redefining and understanding terms and concepts, eight chapters worth is excessive - especially when very little of it is unique and when it is slowed down by too many illustrations. Had I not heard Jeff speak before, I wouldn't have made it much past chapter 3 before I stopped reading. I picked up this book to get a deeper explanation and understanding of his "tree" analogy that I've heard him speak about at various conferences. However, I'm sure there are many who are new to Christianity who might find the first eight chapters helpful.
Chapter 9 makes the entire book. It's unique and original content you can't find anywhere else. Jeff's explanation of his "tree" analogy is incredibly helpful, practical, and immediately eye-opening. It is worth the price of the book. I also found a few other helpful nuggets in chapters 10 and 13, but that’s about it. So, if you're like me and somewhat familiar with Jeff's content already and are looking for his "root to fruit" analogy - then just skip to chapter 9 and read through chapter 13 and save yourself some time.
This book would have gotten 4 or 5 stars from me if the topic had been more specific as well. Instead of Gospel Survey 101, I would have preferred a series of chapters on how the principles of chapter 9 apply to modern social and ethical dilemmas - not just personal trials and difficulties. I also would like to have seen Jeff expand on what he only briefly touches on in chapter 10 on how these principles could help refine the way Christians gather as groups (how do we think from root to fruit together as one?). What about a section investigating whether or not these principles work in the mission field across other cultural lines? If not, how could they be adapted to do so? (Just to name a few)
I'm sure Jeff has already thought about and has great content for those topics; I'm guessing Crossway steered him away from those and towards what we have here. Thus, 3 stars.
Chapter 3 of this book gives a good summary overall of the whole book. Vanderstelt basically says there that, learning how to speak the gospel fluently is like learning another language. For years the church in America has been taught catchphrases and snippets of truths that we proclaim as the "gospel" when in reality, they really aren't. He uses a story about leading teens on a short term mission trip to a Spanish speaking country and how they all learned how to say certain phrases in Spanish. Mostly the basics. But shortly after arriving they realized that those phrases weren't enough to communicate sufficiently. The same goes for the church. We know the "Romans Road", the "W.W.J.D.", etc. But when it comes to actually declaring and displaying good news to people, we suffer greatly. This is what this book is all about and wants to help accomplish.
This book is written to help us learn "gospel fluency," that is to increase our ability to speak the gospel (the sufficiency of Jesus) into the everyday stuff of life for ourselves and others so that we and they believe that Jesus and Jesus alone is the answer to our needs.
I recommend this book highly and hope that many, many people will read it. But it's not enough just to read it. You will want to put into practice the exercises it offers and rehearse over and over again the skills it describes. More than this, however, the book's aim is to prompt you to grow in your love for Jesus and in your wisdom, gentleness, and peaceableness toward others.