Out of this World:
A Christian's Guide to Growth and Purpose
Author: David J. Swandt
The very beginnings of this book originated half-way around the world a number of years ago during a short term mission trip somewhere in a remote region of Botswana, Africa. It was over several campfire discussions that a great friend of mine, Pastor Sam Mata, raised the idea of developing a ministry at our church focused on engaging and helping new and recently re-dedicated Christians understand their new-found faith in clear and simple terms, and provide them the foundations needed for a lifetime of growth and purpose-filled living.
Our church, Shoreline Church, is a thriving congregation of more than 6,000 in Austin, Texas. Shoreline has a special emphasis on welcoming people of all ages and backgrounds into their fellowship and into a strong and vibrant relationship with Christ. It seemed to be a perfect setting for God to do something wonderful and meet a real need. In the coming months and with the help of countless staff and volunteers, we launched a pilot of “Out of This World” – a Christian foundations training and outreach ministry using draft materials and a basic framework for the class as a starting point. Over the course of the next 18 months, we experimented with different approaches, solicited an enormous amount of feedback, observed what worked well, and also what didn’t, and finally assembled all of our learnings into this book, “Out of This World: A Christian’s Guide to Growth and Purpose”.
In the following years, we have had more than 1,000 people attend the program at Shoreline, and have had other churches, home-group Bible studies and ministries employ the materials as well. It has been an honor to see how God has used this to build and strengthen so many.
While I could go on, let me conclude by thanking you for reading the book. If you’re a new or recently re-dedicated Christian, you’ll find this to be a great foundation to build upon in your walk with God for the rest of your life. If you’re more seasoned in your faith, you’ll not only find this to be a great refresher, but also an excellent approach to help frame a clear and simple way to communicate your Christian faith to others who may inquire. Either way, I hope you enjoy it, and are encouraged to grow in your walk with God.
June 19, 2013