So God created humans in his own image. He created them to be like himself. He created them male and female. God blessed them… – Genesis 1:27-28
This week’s BIG NEWS (really, this month’s big news) is the long-anticipated release of my new book, In God’s Image! The project has been more than a year in the making, and pretty-much the exclusive focus of my past few months.
The basic premise of In God’s Image is this: If we really believe that we are created in the image of God, then it’s worth having a conversation about what that looks like in the day-to-day reality of living as Christians in this 21st Century world.
The complete title is In God’s Image: What the New Testament Teaches About Being a Man. I’ve narrowed the focus of the study to men for the following reasons:
- I have an ongoing commitment to men’s ministry initiatives.
- I’m in constant, deep, productive conversation with a good number of good men regarding this very topic.
- I’m concerned that there is a huge amount of misinformation circulated regarding biblical teaching in this area.
- Many men’s ministry models perpetuate chauvinism, sexism, inequality, and stereotypical gender roles that are grounded in cultural inequities and have no basis in the teachings of Jesus.
Jesus is the best example of what the image of God looks like in a man. It makes sense, then, to look at Jesus, to listen to the teachings of Jesus, and to examine how his disciples followed those teachings if we want to understand what a man “made in the image of God” looks like.
REJECTION: I first proposed this book over a year ago, but my usual publisher backed out when they concluded that men in mainline churches really aren’t that interested in small-group Bible study.
I’d like you to let that sound bite settle into your consciousness for a moment. Men – apparently – guys who attend the traditional “mainline” churches (Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Disciples of Christ, Christian, Baptist denominations other than Southern, etcetera…) are judged to be uninterested in men’s ministry in general, and Bible study in particular.
My experience – both in the Presbyterian congregations where we have served, and in the many churches of various denominations where I have taught, keynoted, and led retreats – has been that men are hungry for God’s word, hungry for one another, and hungry for a men’s ministry model that is centered around discipleship.
What men are not interested in any more is wasting their time with surface level chitchat when they could be growing as followers of the Living Way of Jesus!
EIGHT-WEEK STUDY: So this new book is designed as an 8-week study. Each chapter considers one attribute that New Testament teaching tells us reflects the image of God. At the end of each chapter there’s a detailed outline for class or small group discussion. Additionally, I’m recording a series of free video introductions (3-4 minutes) – one for each session (these will be available at my YouTube channel).
I’ve deliberately kept the price low – just $8 – to make the study accessible. There’s no need for a separate leader’s guide or participants booklet or any of the other “ad-ons” so many curriculum publishers bundle to gouge the consumer.
I’d be thrilled if you would take a look, and I’d be even more excited if you would purchase a copy for yourself as well as one to share with a leader at your faith community.
If this project is successful, it can be the model for more studies, and more curriculum. Fact is, the best way to counter all the misinformation out there is to actually invest in what is good!
Paul put it this way, and it is my writing mantra, “Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. And do what you learned and received from me—what I told you and what you saw me do. And the God who gives peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).
I’m very excited, I pray that this new book will bless you too – DEREK