I wrote a book with my friend and co-pastor Matt Tebbe called Having the Mind of Christ: Eight Axioms to Cultivate a Robust Faith. IVP published it, and it is now available.
(You can get 30% off pre-orders AND free US shipping by using the code GRAVITY on IVP’s site.)
It’s based on over 20 years of experience in pastoral ministry, as well as the coaching and training we’ve done with Christian leaders through Gravity Leadership.
It addresses one of the common pitfalls we see in the most well-intentioned discipleship efforts: a focus on practices rather than doing the deeper work of learning a new paradigm. Before our spiritual practices will yield good fruit, they must be integrated with a new paradigm: a new way of seeing God, ourselves, and the world.
In this book we share eight “axioms” that give us new lenses through which to see everything: reframing the way that we see God, ourselves, and others. By seeing through new lenses, we can open ourselves to the transformational change we and God desire.
What others are saying
Too often contemporary Western Christianity undermines its own claims of love and good news. Having the Mind of Christ acknowledges the inconsistencies and presses in with a deep longing for integrity, bringing healing as it goes. This book provides language and companionship for those doing the hard work of reimagining a way forward for the church of the twenty-first century, helping us recover from (and repent of) abusive faith practices, restoring us to the life-giving way of Jesus.Mandy Smith, pastor and author of The Vulnerable Pastor
Matt and Ben know what facilitates change in people—and what doesn’t. In their coaching, mentoring, and discipling, they, as faith leaders, deal with doubt in expert ways. If you feel stuck with a less than satisfying faith, Having the Mind of Christ provides eight key insights to get you out of your rut.Todd Hunter, Anglican bishop and author of Christianity Beyond Belief
Using eight foundational principles, Ben Sternke and Matt Tebbe help us cultivate transformed lives that are lived in the ways of Jesus. This often means unlearning inferior ideas about love, banishing dangerous notions of power, escaping our habitual trappings of shame, and ridding ourselves of faulty assumptions about autonomy. Accept their invitation to a robust faith and begin this blessed journey.Lisa Colón DeLay, author of The Wild Land Within and host of Spark My Muse
Read Having the Mind of Christ and learn to walk with God, the alive God, the present God, active in the world through Jesus Christ. Very personal, engaging of the soul, and a journey worth taking.David Fitch, Northern Seminary, author of Faithful Presence
In this age of deconstruction when many Christians are understandably and necessarily rethinking their faith, Having the Mind of Christ offers a way forward in reimagining a loving, holistic, and genuinely compassionate vision for discipleship. The eight axioms invite us to tend to the presence of the God who is on the move in this world, inviting us to join Christ’s mission of love.Juliet Liu, copastor of Life on the Vine Church in Long Grove, Illinois
The essence of spiritual formation is the gradual process of learning to live from a more accurate understanding of who God is, who we are, and how life works. Ben and Matt explore key facets of reality, as known and taught by Jesus. And they suggest simple attunement practices that can help transform our lives. This book is serious about Scripture, honest about the human condition, and makes an important contribution to our understanding of how to follow the way of Jesus.Mark Scandrette, author of Practicing the Way of Jesus and The Ninefold Path of Jesus: Hidden Wisdom of the Beatitudes
By sharing their own stories of deconstruction in vulnerable and honest ways, Ben and Matt compassionately invite anyone and everyone who has struggled with faith to courageously shift our ways of seeing God, ourselves, and the world. They invite us to remove the lenses we’ve been living behind and put on a new pair of glasses that sharpens our vision and helps us to see that God is impossibly better than we have imagined. Go with them on this journey. It is time well spent.Cyd Holsclaw, pastor, spiritual director, and coauthor, with Geoff Holsclaw, of Does God Really Like Me?
The work of formation into the image of Christ entails new practices, but unless the deeper assumptions we hold about God are addressed, we will be rich in practices but poor in transformation. It’s for this reason that I’m grateful this book exists. Ben Sternke and Matt Tebbe have done a remarkable job excavating some of the most important questions, mindsets, and beliefs that get in the way of new life in Christ. This book is a great gift to the church.Rich Villodas, lead pastor of New Life Fellowship Church and author of The Deeply Formed Life
As we pass through a time when certain expressions of Christianity are no longer tenable for millions of people living in late modernity, a door of discovery is opening for new expressions of Christian faith. Ben Sternke and Matt Tebbe are among those who have discovered that from the ashes of deconstruction something beautiful can be born. In Having the Mind of Christ their eight axioms serve as signposts to lead the disenchanted into a faith centered in the love of Christ. I hope many people will read this timely book.Brian Zahnd, pastor of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missouri, and author of When Everything’s on Fire
Having the Mind of Christ offers a helpful, pastoral, and humble approach to the work of reconstruction of faith. Especially in this moment in the church when deconstruction is both prevalent and often berated by the church, Sternke and Tebbe offer a necessary and alternative perspective that places the work of deconstruction and reconstruction as necessary to discipleship and spiritual formation. Beyond merely presenting new knowledge or new practices, the authors gently lead the reader to reconsider their foundational paradigms in order to put on a new lens with the mind of Christ. This is a timely book that will bring about much fruitful dialogue in the church.Timothy Isaiah Cho, associate editor for Faithfully magazine
Christians young and old are realizing that their current paradigms and frameworks for their faith are no longer working. Ben Sternke and Matt Tebbe pastorally remind us that this paradigm crisis is necessary in order to discover the ways old patterns have (de)formed us and to embrace new wineskins. We don’t have to stay in crisis, and as Ben and Matt have carefully written in this beautiful book, there’s hope for a new way of living and seeing that is discovered in the mind of Christ. As a pastor, I will be sure to have a stack of these books available to give to those who are experiencing a faith crisis.Tara Beth Leach, author of Emboldened and Radiant Church
This book is immensely helpful for those of us who are confused about why the outcome of our faith tradition hasn’t looked much like the kingdom of God that Jesus taught us about. Matt and Ben help us examine the cultural glasses we’ve brought to Scripture that have obscured Jesus’ good news, and they illuminate how Scripture invites us into a healing transformation of ourselves and our communities.Krispin Mayfield, author of Attached to God
Perhaps we are faithful Christians who have tried Christianity and found it wanting. But what if we were given the wrong lenses with which to view God, the gospel, and life? What if our spiritual eyesight is off? Ben Sternke and Matt Tebbe function as eye doctors offering eight axioms, not formulas, by which to live. These serve as corrective lenses that guide us toward honest and more intimate communion with God and embodiment of the gospel. This book is personal, crystal clear, and especially needed for those of us who long for more, to know and be known by God, and to be disciples of Jesus.Marlena Graves, author of The Way Up Is Down: Becoming Yourself by Forgetting Yourself
Ben Sternke and Matt Tebbe have hit it out of the park. I’ve participated in their leadership cohort, which is excellent, and reading their book is the next best thing to being their student and friend. They’ve put fresh words to Scripture and experience; they help me see Jesus at work in myself and others in fresh ways. A must-read to see why and how authentic spiritual formation must come before we baptize the latest secular trend on leadership.Mako Nagasawa, director of the Anástasis Center for Christian Education and Ministry
It has been rightfully said that ‘most people do not see things the way they are; most see things the way they are.’ In this formational resource, Ben and Matt do the hard work for us to help us re-see what has perhaps become stale, familiar, or filtered through the culture in which we live. In it they awaken us to new imagination toward the sacredness of life.AJ Sherrill, Anglican priest and author of Being with God: The Absurdity, Necessity, and Neurology of Contemplative Prayer
Seasoned disciplers Ben Sternke and Matt Tebbe know that people in search of hope and faith need an opportunity to ‘taste and see that the Lord is good.’ They offer that opportunity here in the form of eight realities they encourage readers to try on and walk around in. Consent to the process they invite you into, and you will see both Jesus and yourself more clearly.Brandon O’Brien, director of content development and distribution for Redeemer City to City and coauthor with E. Randolph Richards of Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes