I was recently asked about my current writing projects and why I write the books that I do.
Let me begin by saying I was flattered that anyone cared and, further, continue to be grateful that I am able to be a published author. If you had told me 30+ years ago that I would be the author of more than 20 books translated in more than a dozen languages, my mouth would have fallen open.
It still does.
If you have read many of my books, you know that I have four primary interests: 1) theology and the Christian mind; 2) the interplay between church and culture; 3) evangelism and apologetics; and 4) the dynamics of an effective church and effective church leadership.
While of late I’ve focused on the interplay of church and culture, my most recent books are rooted in evangelism and the needs of the local church; specifically, a deep desire to try to provide two very needed tools for the life and mission of the church.
Christianity for People Who Aren’t Christians was written to and for those who stand outside of the Christian faith. More than a quarter of a century ago, I wrote a little book called A Search for the Spiritual. I really needed and wanted a book that was written not for Christians, but for non-Christians, that I could put in the hands of non-Christian friends and that our church and its community could use in a similar way.
Little did I know it would become my bestselling book, even picked up by Billy Graham and his organization for distribution. Christianity for People Who Aren’t Christians is that earlier book updated and revised and expanded and completely rewritten for today. I continue to hope and pray that Christians will read it, become enthused about having those outside of the faith read it, and give it a ministry akin to its earlier iteration.
The book summarizes how I’ve attempted to explain and argue for the Christian faith in our modern day over the course of my lifetime, and how recent years have shaped that discourse to continue to speak into the most bleeding-edge questions and issues.
If you’ve read the book, you know that my traveling companion is C.S. Lewis. I love Mere Christianity, and it’s been the go-to, giveaway book for decades. But it’s dated—not the timeless arguments, but the book itself. We worked with the C.S. Lewis Foundation to receive permission to use more than the usually allowed amounts of Lewis’ material in this book to present the most compelling aspects of Mere Christianity to a new age.
My newest book, scheduled to be released just after the new year, will serve as its companion. Titled “After ‘I Believe’,” it is a primer for anyone new to the faith, fresh from the waters of baptism or just new to renewal, on how to grow in their relationship with Jesus.
I am finding that countless numbers of individuals who embrace Christ have never been discipled. Further, that many churches are unclear about what is involved in foundational discipleship. I was fortunate to have been discipled in a way that serves me to this day. And when I say discipled, I mean learning how to pray, how to have a quiet time, how to worship, how to share my faith, how to read the Bible, how to… you get the point.
So much that is written in the name of spiritual formation is not simply for the already convinced, but the already matured. I have a heart for the fresh believer who has no idea how to even begin to read the Bible or pray.
So my latest projects? Easily two of my life’s passions: evangelism and then discipling the evangelized. Two books that I hope and pray will be put in the hands of the explorer (the former) and the new believer (the latter).
Yes, I’ll write “church and culture” books again, but I hope you’ll forgive me for a passionate pastoral pause. If you want a preview of my next “culture” book, if God allows it to be published, be sure to register for the upcoming Church and Culture Conference and get the first taste of “Church 3.0.”
What is that about?
Wait and see.
James Emery White
About the Author
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunct professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His newest book, Christianity for People Who Aren’t Christians: Uncommon Answers to Common Questions, is now available on Amazon or at your favorite bookseller. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.