As a supporter of Urban Saints (Crusaders, as was), I get stuff through from them every now and again on what’s going on, what they’ve got planned, and the like. They do a lot of amazing work with young people right across the country. My cousins grew up through the Crusaders system and kids at my current church attend Urban Saints summer camps.
Well, earlier this year, I didn’t just get the normal newsletter, they actually sent me a book, called ‘Don’t make history. Change the future’. The subtitle is ‘The call to live life 1-2-3’.
It’s written by Matt Summerfield, the Chief Executive of Urban Saints. The book is relatively short (the claim is that it can be read in an hour, but I’ll come back to that later…) and has 15 chapters (which are obviously also fairly short!). A comment on the back cover from Pete Greig (of 24-7 prayer) sums it up well:
Live life 1-2-3 calls us away from the feel-good formulae of consumer Christianity, into the wild adventure of radical contemporary discipleship. I’m grateful for the way Matt makes such obedience attainable, equipping us practically to follow Jesus simply, one normal step at a time.
The book is concerned with the future, calling us to ‘run our race well’ as followers of Christ. I love the focus on next generation (not surprising, given Matt’s role at Urban Saints!). I also like the fact that there are questions at the end of each chapter to think about. This brings me back to the ‘read it in an hour’ comment… It’s about the only thing I don’t really like about the book. It’s a book to be done, not just read, so reading through in an hour might suggest a good reading age, but it doesn’t allow for any engagement with the challenges being set out!
The big challenge (found in chapter 13) is this 1-2-3 idea. Put simply, it’s:
Invite ONE person to be your guide. Someone from whom you learn
Ask TWO people to be your ‘running mates’ – people you are willing to share everything with (We’re not talking about wordly goods here!) people you will ‘do life’ with.
Pass the baton on to THREE others. Generally, these people will be younger (though they might just be ‘younger in faith’, as they say…) than you. They are people who you are going to lead into a deeper walk with God.
Overall, I love the book. I love the foundation and the challenge. I enjoy the relaxed style and Matt uses a lot of stories throughout, it’s not just a list of things to do! Crucially, he also uses scripture well (both specific verses and general references) throughout.
I’m now pondering who will guide me, who I can run with, and which poor, unsuspecting young Christians I can pounce on to lead 🙂
I recommend it the book and, as ever, if you want to borrow it, let me know!