After I Believe – James Emery White

After I Believe James Emery White
After "I Believe": Everyday Practices for a Vibrant Faith by James Emery White
Published by Baker Books on February 16, 2021
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life
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Pastor and author James Emery White leads his church and his life with a singular mission: to turn spiritual explorers into fully devoted followers of Christ. The obvious first step in this process is for someone to cross the line of faith--to say, "I believe." That was the heart behind his book Christianity for People Who Aren't Christians. But what comes after "I believe" is equally important, and it's the way someone truly becomes a fully devoted follower of Christ. This manual for discipleship takes new Christians through the basics of growing in the faith and connecting with the church, including
- prioritizing Bible study- developing a regular prayer life- spending quiet time with God- plugging into the life of a local church- experiencing God in worship- finding ways to serve others- being faithful with finances- and more
A perfect resource for pastors and ministry leaders to offer to the new believers in their midst, After "I Believe" is a solid foundation for anyone seeking to build a vibrant Christian life.

In my experience, churches put a whole lot more emphasis on justification than sanctification. Getting saved is the priority and takes work, but growing in faith is usually reduced to attend church, tithe, and serve somewhere. Discipleship is a real lack in our churches and that lack creates churches that are consumeristic and not community. James Emery White seeks to rectify this with After I Believe.

This is the perfect for a new believer’s class, a youth group, or anyone wanting a deeper attachment to their faith. White’s writing is clear, simple, and memorable. He does that pastor thing with alliteration and bullet points (I’d surmise this book grew out of a sermon series) that makes his teaching easy to recall and fun to digest. It’s a book that you’ll read quickly, but then reflect on for a long time.

The very first chapter deals with misconceptions and myths about the Christian life. I like that White got these out of the way immediately. One of the most important myths he tackles is that faith should be instantaneous, that is we should be frustrated if we’re not immediately free from all our baggage when we come to Christ. But he also warns of the reverse—being a Christian for a long time doesn’t necessarily indicate spiritual formation either. And neither does putting in a lot of effort! Point by point, White whittles away what isn’t discipleship in order to lay the foundation for what is.

After I Believe has a chapter on how to read the Bible. It has a chapter on prayer. White talks about worship and being part of a church community. Chapter by chapter, step by step, he says clearly the things that many long-time Christians leave unsaid because we mistakenly think everyone already knows.

White’s passion for discipleship is evident. His pattern is clear and straightforward. His message in engaging and interactive. After I Believe should be a go-to resource for new believers in your church.