I’ve heard about this book for almost a year (but it was called The Downward Path of Jesus then). Now, Energion has agreed to publish Dave Black’s new book. Here is the publisher’s announcement, and the book’s web site (although there’s not much there yet).
This is what Dave Black (Friday, April 3, 2009 at 8:47 a.m.) says in the first chapter of The Jesus Paradigm:
What might this kingdom-focused church of the twenty-first century look like? It will be a serving church. Its organizational structure will be simple, unencumbered by bureaucrats and bureaucracies. Its financial priorities will reflect a commitment to missions, local and global. Capital expenditures will be reduced and the savings earmarked for discipleship. Most jobs that are currently salaried positions will be filled by volunteer help or eliminated. Denominations will make drastic reductions in funds spent on publications that are a waste of the church’s money (bulletins, glossy magazines, and Sunday School quarterlies â€“ the Bible will be used instead). Church buildings will be used for primary and secondary Christian education. Believers will gladly work transdenominationally and cooperatively, especially at the local level. The church will proclaim the Good News of the Gospel as its first priority while not neglecting the cultural mandate. A full-fledged lay ministry will replace clericalism. Individual believers will be expected to assume specialized ministries according to their giftedness. Churches will provide regular lay training and build voluntary programs of education into their structures. Worship will no longer be confined to a single time or place. Preoccupation with church buildings will be seen for what it is â€“ idolatry. The church will no longer cling to its prerogatives but take the form of a servant. It will refuse any longer to shun the secular. Trained pastors will become humble assistants to the “ministers” â€“ every member. Disciples will take the going forth as seriously as they do the gathering. New believers will be asked to specify a regular community involvement (neighborhood council, PTA, volunteer library staff, nursing home visitation, etc.) in addition to their commitment to a ministry in the church.
Plus, Henry Neufeld, the publisher, has read the book and responded to it in his blog post here. Here are some of his remarks:
Normally, prospective authors inform me of the tremendous sales possibilities of their manuscript, how many people will love it, and why I ought to be willing to invest substantial sums in bringing it before a soon-to-be adoring public, certain to make them (and me) rich. Generally theyâ€™re very wrong.
But Dr. David Alan Black, author of more than 20 books, said: â€œNobody will really be happy with my book.â€
And that is a book that I choose to publish. This is not because I object to selling books or want to make people unhappy. Itâ€™s because for me, Energion Publications is a ministry, and ministry means service.
The bottom line is that I think that every Christian, especially in America, would do well to read this book. I have just made my first complete run through the manuscript, and that conviction grew stronger with every chapter. Do I agree with everything said? No. Did each and every page give me a glowing feeling inside? No. Do I think youâ€™re going to love every minute of the time you spend reading it? I donâ€™t.
The fact is that this book hit the spot for me. Now â€œhit the spotâ€ is an expression we use to refer to comfort. After a good meal, we might say, â€œThat really hit the spot.â€ But thereâ€™s another kind of spot-the one you find in the center of a target. You know, that big red circle surround by all those concentric rings. The arrow of conviction hit the spot.
There are many reasons that I’m looking forward to this book. The publisher mentions several in his blog post. For me, there’s another one: I’m attracted to what I see God doing in Dave Black’s life. For those of us who know him, I think this book will be even more important and more challenging. Why? Because, we will read his book and his life.