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The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb: Searching for Jesus’ Path of Power in a Church that Has Abandoned It Paperback – January 24, 2017
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“Insightful, humbling, and worshipful.” -Russell Moore, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
“This is a book every Christian leader needs to read and soon.” -Sarah Bessey, author of Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith and Jesus Feminist
“You need this book. I need this book. We all need this book”
-Collin Hansen, editorial director, The Gospel Coalition; author, Blind Spots: Becoming a Courageous, Compassionate, Commissioned Church
“What a monumental book. A must-read.” -Nish Weiseth, author of Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World
“It is imperative for us to understand and embrace this.” -Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor, The Village Church, President of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network
“I was both encouraged and humbled by this book.” -Os Guinness, author of Impossible People
“This is a wise, urgent, and prophetic book.” -Richard Beck, professor of psychology at Abilene Christian University, blogger and author of Reviving Old Scratch and Unclean
“I hope this book is read widely.” -Jim Belcher, author of In Search of Deep Faith
“Lay down your wearying notions of what it means to embrace and pursue power, and accept the invitation here, to so much more.” -Deidra Riggs, Author of One: Unity in a Divided World
“The church and her leaders desperately need to hear this message.” -Jeff Vanderstelt, Visionary leader of Soma and Saturate, and the lead teaching pastor of Doxa Church, Bellevue, Washington. Author of Saturate and Gospel Fluency
“Absolutely brilliant!...Read this book!” -Albert Tate, Pastor, Fellowship Monrovia
About the Author
Jamin Goggin serves as a pastor at Mission Hills Church. He has been in pastoral ministry for eleven years, including several years as the Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Saddleback Church. Jamin speaks and writes in the areas of spiritual formation, ministry and theology. He holds two Masters degrees and is currently earning a PhD in systematic theology. He lives in Southern California with his wife, Kristin, and their three children.
Kyle Strobel is a professor of spiritual theology and formation at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University and is an emerging voice among evangelicals on spiritual formation, discipleship, and theology. Kyle speaks regularly and has written for Pastors.com, Relevant magazine (and Relevant Magazine.com), ChurchLeader.com, and DeeperStory.com. Kyle lives in Southern California with his wife, Kelli, and their two children.
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Top customer reviews
Note: The message is great and needs to be read. I would encourage those to read through the uncomfortable and poor prose, and they will find a message we need to hear. But without better writing it won't be heard by many.
There was such a liberating and freeing feeling being around pastors that knew they were weak, ministering in obscurity, and all recognized that if God didn’t show up – we were in big trouble. I love this book because all the examples in this book are encouraging. When you are around ego it deflates you, when you are around weakness it elates you! All of us pastors had nothing to prove, and nothing to brag about, but we all shared our need of the power of God to sustain and guide us in our respective ministries. Since that time I’ve primarily interacted with bi-vocational pastors and pastors of smaller churches because they are usually very real, humble, and focused on needing help from God – not on how they can help others be “great.”
It was at that conference that I realized that God calls most pastors to obscure places and average ordinary ministries. Most pastors will never make the cover of “Christianity Today” or write a book that makes a notable “best-seller” list. Honestly, I’m good with that. Enter Goggin and Strobel’s book. They aren’t down on mega churches (I don’t think they even use this word in their book). However, they give an excellent analysis of what makes for the ministry of the Lamb (ministering out of weakness – Kingdom ministry from above) versus ministry from the Dragon (ministering out of the flesh – from the Kingdom of Darkness and Satan).
I’ve experienced ministry out of the flesh driven by pride and ego; and I’ve experienced ministry that comes from weakness, brokenness, and of the Spirit. I think that once you experience the power of brokenness or ministering out of weakness you never want to go back to the “dark side.” I’ve been around pastors and churches where God doesn’t even have to show up and nothing would even have to be changed. The author’s do an excellent job of showing from the Bible how the way of power has infiltrated many churches today. It is not just dangerous – it’s demonic. This is a serious charge.
My favorite aspect of this book are the highlights from interviews that Goggin and Strobel share from several well respected faithful older Christians: J.I. Packer, Eugene Peterson, Jean Vanier, Dallas Willard, John Perkins, and Marva Dawn. Through the interviews and Scripture the author’s give a compelling case for why ministry in dependence on God rather than our own skills and resources are more powerful in the long haul of ministry. Power in ministry comes when the Holy Spirit is depended upon to show up because we are operating out of our relationship and satisfaction in Christ. Power is not about self, resources, skills, it’s evident from above when we humbly focus on exalting Jesus above all things.
I hope this book gets a wide reading. I think it is wise, biblical, and will encourage pastors and Christians who are serious about faithfully serving Christ in power out of weakness in dependence on Him for life-long ministry.
The book is structured around interviews with seven Evangelical thinkers, whose lives and work bear extraordinary witness to the lamb's way of power: Dallas Willard, Eugene Peterson, James Houston, Jean Vanier, J.I. Packer, John Perkins, and Marva Dawn. The conversation with each of these thinkers illuminates a different thread of the way of Jesus, that the authors interweave to offer the reader a compelling way of Christian faithfulness that stands in contrast to much of what passes for evangelicalism in the twenty-first century.
Although this book will certainly prove beneficial -- and challenging -- to all Christians who read it carefully, it should be required reading for all pastors and seminarians who desire to someday be pastors. Careful reflection on its ideas, paired with discernment about how our churches should follow in the way of the lamb described here, will undoubtedly transform not only our local church communities, but also the broader landscape of Christianity in North America. The authors do an exceptional job at stirring our imaginations as they flesh out the concept of the way of the lamb. My only regret is that there are not more stories here about how this way gets embodied in praxis within ordinary local church congregations.