The demographics of our society are always changing. Though we've been a melting pot from the very beginning, we are more so now than ever before. Depending on where you live, you may know many people of different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. In addition, our culture continues to secularize. Many of the Biblical principles that were woven into our cultural norms have been removed. This means that when we invite a friend or neighbor or co-worker to church, there is a greater likelihood that they have never walked into a church before. We can't assume that they are familiar with the stories of the Bible and know the basic facts about Jesus.
My real life friend, Melissa, has worked with many unchurched women. In the Pittsburgh church plant she and her husband were involved in, nearly all the women in attendance came to the church without any previous knowledge of who Jesus is. As she worked with these women in the context of ministry and discipleship, she found that she had to start at the very beginning. There was no presupposing that they understood basic facts about Christianity. Out of that ministry work her discipleship book, Crowned: Created for Glory, Called by His Name, was born.
Crowned is the first in a series of discipleship studies. This book walks a new believing woman through the foundational truths of who God is and who we are in Christ. It begins at the very beginning, with creation and explains how God created us in his image and what it means to be image bearers. It then takes the reader through the story of the Fall of mankind and the impact of sin in us and in the world around us. The remaining chapters explain the plan of redemption, justification, adoption, and sanctification.
"We were created to walk in God’s glory and after we are justified in Christ, we are given the privilege of sharing in Christ’s glory. These are the exceeding riches of God’s grace in his kindness toward us: instead of squashing a rebellious regent he chooses to crown us, to robe us in the finest regalia, and give us a share in the kingdom destiny of his own heir." (p.30)
Each chapter unpacks theology in a way that is understandable for a new believer. Melissa doesn't hesitate to use theological terms but she defines them. At the end of each chapter is a Bible study section where the reader digs into God's word and learns more about the topic discussed in the chapter. In addition, Melissa encourages the reader to memorize Ephesians 2:1-10 while doing the study.
This book is ideal for those whose ministry is in a church context where there are many who are unchurched. It would be a useful tool for a spiritual mentor to use in a discipleship relationship with a new believer. The writing is clear, practical, and Biblical. Reading through Crowned, you feel as though Melissa is a friend, teaching you about who God is, what he has done through Christ, and who you are as a result. "My goal for this book is to help women uncover foundational truths about their personal identity as one crowned and commissioned by the King of the world" (p.45). In Crowned, she does just that.
I have one copy of Crowned to give away. Enter below. US residents only, please. Update: Angela is the winner. Congrats!
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for my review. The thoughts and opinions are my own.