“If we love God and love others, which means that we are to follow Jesus as his personal representatives, and if Jesus is one who offers forgiveness and fellowship and freedom, then we are called…” (page 98, Jesus Creed for Students)
As I embraced the whole of Scott McKnight, Chris Folmsbee, and Syler Thomas’ new book, Jesus Creed for Students, I was immersed in a wonderful journey. I have become familiar with McKnight’s work and Folmsbee’s work but Thomas was an unfamiliar entity to me. Together, they did a superb job in writing an experiential reading experience for students and adults. To steal a word in the book, they wrote in a way that led me to be “postured” towards a journey of faith with them.
A number of reviews have been posted about this book so my hope is to not echo those reviews but to share my experience. I should state that I think the book is really good. It is one of the best experiential books for students (and adults) I have read in my 11 years of youth ministry. I will be ordering them for older students to read through with me when they express interest in becoming a follower of Jesus.
Now, on to my experience. As I mentioned above, I was led into a posture of journeying with the authors. The quote I began this post with encompasses the journey a reader will go on. “Love God and love others” became vey real to me as I was asked to recite Jesus’ words at the beginning of most chapters and at times within a chapter. I assumed a posture to begin living these commands out in my everyday life.
I walked with the authors as we explored my unique calling to be Jesus in the here and now and the responsibility that comes with this call. I was assured by the writers that forgiveness was available to me when I failed in living the life of a Jesus disciple. It is by practicing this forgiveness in my own life and finding sanctuary in a fellowship of Jesus followers, as well as, extending this fellowship to any that might want to belong just as Jesus did with sinners and outcasts in his day.
I found myself believing even more as I adopted the Jesus Creed as my own. As the authors enveloped me further we began sharing the Lord’s prayer at the end of each chapter. It is helpful practices like this that are found throughout the book that offer a rhythm of life to the reader which they can carry beyond it’s pages. Suggestions and challenges are found throughout the book that, if embraced, can provide those faith practices many of us desire for ourselves and our students.
Out of this formation experience the reader is invited to join Jesus in his mission. The authors believe, and I agree, that “You can change your life and you can influence your world if you will repeat daily the Jesus Creed and then, not just repeat it, but put the Jesus Creed into practice.”
Read the book! Come join us on this journey. Invite your students to come with us! It will be a great journey of faith. Nice job Dr. McKnight, Mr. Folmsbee, and Mr. Thomas.