If asked ‘What’s saving your life right now?’, that question made popular by Barbara Brown Taylor, I’d answer with the name of two preachers. In the past set of years I’d been quite demoralized by the state of preaching and I wondered if anyone was preaching in current pulpits the Gospel of love, peace-making, generosity, freedom and prophetic challenge.
Then on Twitter I stumbled upon Jonathan Martin, aka @renovatuspastor. His content-rich tweets intrigued me. And in one exchange regarding a shared affinity for Walter Brueggemann I think our friendship was sealed. I went on to read his blog posts and then listen to his sermons – and found the preaching I’d been hungry for and hoping for.
Jonathan was preaching a Gospel I recognized. He spoke with passion appropriate to his Pentecostal background. He taught with insight, inspiration and imagination. In short, he redeemed my greatest hopes for the art of preaching in contemporary times.
Jonathan’s first book, Prototype: What Happens When You Discover You’re More Like Jesus Than You Think?, was released this May. And I couldn’t wait until August to dive in!
What I found was the back-story to the man who was preaching life into Isaiah, the women of the Gospels and more each Sunday at Renovatus Church. In this book, he shares his own story and his own coming to a deeper understanding of his connection to Jesus and the Church. He shares from his own childhood and family but also from the stories of people at Renovatus who shaped him in Spirit-infused ways. And the insights he gleans tell of the kind of pastor and preacher I think many of us long to find, but more so the Jesus we long to follow. While Protoype is Jonathan’s story, it is very much the story of Jesus, too.
I wanted to share a few reviews from others regarding Prototype to get you started:
Also, you have the opportunity to listen to Jonathan as he preached a sermon series based on Protoype earlier this spring. You will hear him, you will meet the friends he writes about, you will feel the heart of this book as he preaches. You can find the Protoype series here (and may I also recommend the SEEN series… my first encounter with his preaching).
So please do a few things right now:
1) Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @renovatuspastor (you won’t be disappointed!)
2) Subscribe to his blog: http://pastorjonathanmartin.com/ (this includes a link to sermons)
3) Get a copy of Protoype and read along with us this month!
Oh and as you read, keep track of any questions. Mid-month you’ll have an opportunity to ask your questions and have Jonathan respond in our Ask the Author segment!
The final Thursday of August I’ll host a link-up right here for you to share your reflections after reading Prototype.
And in the meanwhile, let’s tweet our way through using the #transitlounge & #Prototype hashtags! Share a quote, a connection, a question so we can converse as we read together in the transit lounge!
I’m so excited to read Prototype again with all of you! If you’ve been waiting to read this book, now is the time to read in community with us. This would also be a great time to encourage others to read this book with you…or upon your recommendation if you’ve already read it!
Looking forward to August in the Transit Lounge!