Whole Life Transformation: Becoming the Change Your Church Needs

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9780830835300: Whole Life Transformation: Becoming the Change Your Church Needs

2011 Golden Canon Leadership Book Award winner! Ministry to others and growing the church were the center of Keith Meyer's life. And yet he was arguing with his wife about how many nights a week he was spending in meetings. His temper was short, and he was exhausted. Keith writes: "I can see that I was pursuing a twisted idea of 'success'--not in the secular forms I regularly preached against, but in the sanctified activism and workaholism sometimes called 'professional ministry.' A growing church, defined mostly by higher attendance at church services, more and more programs, and bigger budgets and buildings were the marks of a successful ministry in the clergy circles I ran with at that time." In the midst of his pain Keith discovered a new way of living--one that truly depended on Christ to redeem and reform his character. And then as he was transformed, he discovered that the change in him was changing the way that he was pastoring and leading others. Drawing from the riches of church history and the experience of contemporary ministry, Keith Meyer writes with the voice of a prophet and the heart of a pastor. If you're ready to stop trying to follow Christ and start training to be a Christ follower, this is the book for you.

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About the Author:

Keith Meyer (D.Min., M.Div.) has served three churches as senior pastor and as the executive pastor at Church of the Open Door. He is an adjunct professor at Denver Seminary and is a senior teaching fellow with the Renovaré Spiritual Formation Institute. He is one of the authors of The Kingdom Life: A Practical Theology of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation. (NavPress). Meyer is also a speaker, teacher, and retreat leader through his organization, Becoming the Change Ministries. He provides individualized coaching for the personal formation of pastors and leaders and consults with staff teams, churches and Christian organizations for developing corporate plans for becoming communities of formation and mission. He also provides training for leaders to develop plans of regular soul care for themselves, their staff and congregations. Meyer is a contributing editor for Leadership Journal and also for the academic journal of Biola/Talbot's Institute of Spiritual Formation, the Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care. He and his wife live in the Minneapolis area. Meyer invites you to visit and contact him at his website, www.keithmeyer.org.

Dallas Willard (1935-2013) was a professor in the School of Philosophy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles for over forty years. A highly influential author and teacher, Willard was as celebrated for his enduring writings on spiritual formation as he was for his scholarship. His books include The Divine Conspiracy (Christianity Today’s Book of the Year in 1998), The Spirit of the Disciplines, Hearing God, Renovation of the Heart and others. His books have received numerous Christianity Today Annual Book Awards and other recognitions. Willard served on the boards of the C. S. Lewis Foundation and Biola University, and was a member of numerous evaluation committees for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. He received bachelor’s degrees from both Tennessee Temple College and Baylor University and a graduate degree at Baylor University, as well as a PhD from the University of Wisconsin in Philosophy and the History of Science.

Review:

"For years churches have emphasized the message that 'Ye must be born again!' While this is obviously the core of Christianity, Keith D. Meyer contends that too many churches have embraced a reduced Gospel of Christians accepting Christ and then simply being satisfied their eternity is secure. But Meyer stresses that following Jesus involves transforming and growing in every aspect of life, not just 'holding on' until reaching heaven. He explains that there should be tangible behavior changes that testify to an ongoing deepending of a believer's relationship with Christ, truly becoming a discple seeking to continuously transform into His image. Salvation assures our final destination, but meaningful transformation and committed discipleship make the journey more fulfilling individually and more effective for a church sincerely desiring to reach out to others with the full Gospel." (Jeff Friend, Worship Leader Magazine, September 2010)

"Is your spiritual life stagnant? Have you wondered if there was more to this whole 'Christ-follower' thing? Do you need a spiritual shot of adrenaline? You might be in need of a Whole Life Transformation, and this book might just be your answer. Keith Meyer takes you through his own personal struggle with what he learned from the church as a child versus the words of Jesus and Paul, and how that led to a whole church transformation. Packed full of practical examples, life-changing questions, thought-provoking insights and a few controversial statements, this just may be the book you need personally to push you to the next level." (Youth Worker Journal, September/October 2010)

"Whole Life Transformation will show you how God uses spiritual disciplines to transform people and how that transformation impacts ministry. It will help you move from spiritually 'trying hard' to 'training well.' If you're ready to stop trying to follow Christ and start training to be a Christ follower, this is the book for you." (Youth & Christian Education Leadership, Fall 2010)

"'Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you'" was my repeating thought as I read this book. Keith Meyer encourages and challenges us to reach far beyond the quantity of disciples to where the impact lies―quality of disciples. We all know from personal experience that the challenge lies in 'observing' all that Jesus commanded. In this book, Keith lays out the path to true transformation. I was challenged on a personal level and inspired on a leadership level as I read. For anyone interested in measuring quality, this is a must-read book." (Don Cousins, speaker, consultant and author of Experiencing LeaderShift and Unexplainable)

"Keith Meyer provides us with an honest and thoughtful account of a pastor deeply tempted to find his identity in the busyness and success of ministry. His journey gives us a window into the process of one leader turning his heart back to true transformation that occurs in ordinary places of honesty and reflection such as at home and with people who share a common life in their weakness." (Dr. John Coe, professor of spiritual theology, Talbot School of Theology and director, Institute for Spiritual Formation)

"To know and read Keith Meyer is to be thrust into a vortex of contrasts. Is he a pastor with the mind of a scholar or a theologian with the heart of a soul friend? An activist who has learned to slow down or a contemplative bursting with missional energy? An evangelical rooted in the Catholic saints and Eastern fathers or an Anglican divested of formalism and ritualism? The prodigal son or the compassionate father? Yes, he is all of these and more. Get to know him and the Jesus he knows. You will become the change your church, your family and your world need--whole life transformation!" (Howard Baker, instructor of Christian formation, Denver Seminary, and author of The One True Thing)

"On some level every pastor will identify with Meyer's dysfunctional experience in ministry. He asks why so many of us fail to experience the transforming power of Christ we proclaim. That is a dangerous question, but Meyer's raw honesty is matched with a hope-filled rediscovery of the gospel." (Skye Jethani, author of The Divine Commodity and managing editor of Leadership Journal)

"Keith Meyer's Whole Life Transformation is a compelling invitation. His particular blend of divine grace, community life, intentional discipline, inner healing and a sense of humor is a blue-ribbon recipe for Christian maturity. Meyer opens his wounded soul and―as we look on―we are the ones who long for more. It is personal, devotional and practical. We cannot read this book and rest satisfied in a complacent Christian walk." (Evan B. Howard, director of Spirituality Shoppe: An Evangelical Center for the Study of Christian Spirituality)

"Whole Life Transformation is a book of remarkable honesty and authenticity. In a text rich with anecdotes and hard-won wisdom, Keith Meyer summons evangelicals to abandon their adumbrative 'gospel' in favor of a fuller grasp of the liberating gospel of the New Testament." (Randall Balmer, Episcopal priest and author of The Making of Evangelicalism)

"Not another pastor-tells-it-all book. Keith Meyer understands that he leaned his ladder up against the wrong wall, and when he sees the troubling view from there he tells how he climbed down and enlisted others to help him move the ladder to the wall of life and hope. This is a prophetic book that is not angry, for the author more often points the finger at himself than at anyone else. Not content to simply describe his own wanderings, he graciously and concretely invites Christian leaders to follow Jesus more closely and receive his wisdom and healing." (James C. Wilhoit, Ph.D., Scripture Press Professor of Christian Formation and Ministry, Wheaton College)

"If you're a Christian leader longing for something more, then Whole Life Transformation may be your open door for personal and ministry renewal. Keith Meyer is one of us with a rich evangelical heritage as a P.K. and a pastor of several churches, and yet something was missing. 'Dad, are you home yet?' prompts this journey toward something more, recounted throughout the book with refreshing honesty. Keith's writing is personal, courageous and bold. His story offers Christian leaders some practical ways to engage in their own personal journey that can lead to churchwide whole life transformation." (Klaus Issler, author of Wasting Time with God)

"This is an immensely honest and practical book―a desperately needed book. It tells a hard-hitting story―one that is born out of the depths of harsh experiences and painful admissions in the author's own personal life, relationships and ministry―and moves passionately toward a godliness that comes only from learning to walk with Jesus right in the middle of it all. The author challenges 'the reduced gospel' in order to call all who know Jesus to the work of the Holy Spirit in transforming our lives privately, relationally, communally, publicly and in ministry." (Richard E. Averbeck, professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)

"With refreshing candor and honest confession Keith Meyer takes us on a wonderful journey that will pull you in and knock you out (in a good way!) with its potent critique of our modern church compulsions, activities and teachings that dominate church life, yet constantly leave us longing for true and lasting change. This is a book on Christlike (trans)formation, in this life . . . and it couldn't come at a better time! I heartily commend it to all Christian leaders who want to lead a new kind of church." (Keith J. Matthews, D.Min., professor of spiritual formation and contemporary culture, Azusa Pacific University Graduate School)

"Keith Meyer is the type of person you want to spend time with. He is transparent, well read, fun-loving, irreverent and deeply spiritual―a real person's person. When you are hanging out together, time flies. Whole Life Transformation is a perfect reflection of the author, and it's a book about spiritual transformation written by an experienced pastor who has lived the journey. It's his first book, but it sure won't be his last." (Gary W. Moon, M.Div., Ph.D., vice president, Richmont Graduate University, and author of Apprenticeship with Jesus)

"Many people struggle to know how to 'do church' in light of spiritual formation. Finally, here is the book they've been looking for. It maps a route and gives us pictures of how our life with other Christians can take on this transformational dimension." (Jan Johnson, spiritual director and author of Invitation to the Jesus Life)

"Keith Meyer writes cogently and personally about a deeper inner journey for evangelicals who desire a closer walk with Jesus in their daily life. He is clearly drinking sacred water from a deeper well and sharing it with the rest of us." (Janet O. Hagberg, spiritual director and author of The Critical Journey)

"In North American church life, we are strangely plagued by a practice of ministry that separates the pastor from the life in Christ. The result is the empty, mechanical, dry life of the pastor caught in the evangelical machine. Whole Life Transformation speaks directly into this plight. In this fine book, Keith Meyer draws on the deep wells of the church fathers as well as the wisdom of Dallas Willard to offer us a drink of water in the midst of the desert that pastoral ministry has become. As a fine thinker, a student of theology and a pastor, Meyer offers us a clear, practical pathway out because he himself has walked it." (David Fitch, professor of evangelical theology, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary)

"Thousands of pastors, priests and leaders know that something is not right these days with the spirituality of church. In Whole Life Transformation Meyer shines a bright and grace-filled light on the problem. His insights are crystal clear. Best of all, in an autobiographical style, he supplies doable practices toward all of us becoming the change our churches need." (Todd Hunter, Anglican bishop and author of Giving Church Another Chance)

"I know you can't see me, but I am giving Keith Meyer a standing ovation. On a couple of occasions while reading Whole Life Transformation, I did jump from my chair and shout 'Yes!' I love Keith Meyer; I love his joy, honesty, energy and his overactive mind. Here is a soldier who has struck a blow for making things right. He has got the gospel right, the church right and life right. Speaking as a failed contemplative, it is comforting to know he also has being with God right." (Bill Hull, author of Christlike: The Pursuit of Uncomplicated Obedience)

"A shepherd of souls lost in the far country of ministry distraction is called home through the words of a child. Spiritually expansive for all who minister." (Anthony M. Coniaris, Greek Orthodox priest and president of Light and Life Publishing Company)

"Whole Life Transformation . . . is not just another analysis of 'what's wrong,' but, more importantly, is a trustworthy guide to what is right: one drawn both from the author's own experience and from the Bible and the wisdom of Christ, proven in the experience of his people throughout the ages." (From the foreword by Dallas Willard)

"Thank you, Keith, for writing authentically and lovingly about the need for churches, ministries and believers to bridge the transformation gap from a halfway gospel into the abundant life of Christ's kingdom. Sharing the biblical and historical text, as well as the raw material of your personal and ministry life, invites all of us into new and fresh Spirit-breathed directions for the entirety of our spiritually transformed lives." (Dr. Stephen A. Macchia, president, Leadership Transformations, and author of Becoming a Healthy Church)

"I've known Keith for more than thirty years, and what you now hold in your hands is a transparent record of an authentic journey, a window into one man's broken pastoral heart, an honest set of reflections, and the quest for healing for Keith's soul and family. Keith's eclectic approach to spiritual formation leads him to a gentle rule for a sustainable spiritual life that begins at home." (Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University)

"Keith Meyer doesn't cut any slack for forgiven Christians who lollygag around earth waiting for their turn to enter heaven. He reminds us that Christian discipleship requires a whole life transformation which converts the heart, its values and its relationships so that the world can be transformed. This book is unnerving and unsettling―in the gospel sense!" (Albert Haase, O.F.M., author of Coming Home to Your True Self and Living the Lord's Prayer)

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