Donald Miller is one of my favorite writers, due to his candidacy and honest reflection. He writes like he speaks, or speaks like he writes, I’m not sure which way it goes… but as a gifted speaker and writer, Donald brings a fresh voice to the postmodern era explaining how our culture sees God and then articulating the Church’s response to culture. A few weeks ago our church showed Free Market Jesus (put out by BluefishTV) during the Sunday service. Our pastor, in his late fifties, has a passion for the younger church and maintaining relevancy in today’s postmodern culture. Note: I don’t mean that he sells out to the culture and succumbs to “worldly” trends, I simply mean he is a good steward of culture and strives to shepherd a church that is relevant to the community around us. In a semi-boomer generation church (semi because we have tons of young families, but the roots of the church are founded in the boomer generation), the response was very positive. The pastors got nothing but positive feedback, which, as church leaders know, is sometimes rare! Donald’s message is challenging but honest.
Here is my general review of the product (you can find this review and other product reviews at http://www.smallgroupexchange.com):
Faith Baptist Kailua- Hawaii
20+ Small Groups at the church
Quality: “Free Market Jesus” is my favorite product so far! Simple and organic in nature, the product is not overwhelming to the senses, yet it is aesthetically pleasing and personally engaging. Donald Miller does it again by presenting a fresh and responsible approach to Christianity that literally causes people to take a deep breath, relax their shoulders, and exhale.
Donald delivers a candid message revealing the influence of culture on the Church and how inevitably, this influence illuminates the way we understand God. Throughout the history of the Church, Church and culture have engaged in a dance, a dangerous tango in which the Church reacts to cultural change rather than standing firm in the confidence of God’s truth and grace. In today’s culture, Church looks like a business, and God is the CEO. Jesus is a product, guaranteed to “fix” loneliness, depression, anger, and discontent. In “Free Market Jesus,” Donald Miller proposes a new and refreshing approach to spirituality, and it looks nothing like the billboards on the freeway. This spirituality will not sell so easily.
With plenty of wit and friendly banter, Donald Miller relieves us of the burden to struggle through Christianity by following a formula or believing in the “hype” of Jesus as the quick fix to happiness. Instead, Donald walks us honestly through scripture, revealing the process of Christianity as slow, deliberate, painful, organic, and ultimately freeing. As God lovingly fathers us toward Himself, we may rest in the peace of our salvation and the unending patience of a God who does not expect quick transformation.
Discussion will flow easily after watching “Free Market Jesus.” The questions in the study guide are well written and tailored to the DVD, though Donald’s talk is so profound, leaders may not need them! “Free Market Jesus” is by far one of the best small group products available to church leaders today, and yet is versatile enough to extend from intimate friend circles to larger ministry groups.
Jesus calls his followers to march against the grain of oppressive culture, standing firm in truth and love. “Free Market Jesus” awakens us toward this calling and beckons Christians to rest in the loving arms of our Father.