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The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb: Searching for Jesus’ Path of Power in a Church that Has Abandoned It

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4.34  ·  Rating details ·  336 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Pastor Jamin Goggin and theology professor Kyle Strobel invite readers on a journey to uncover Jesus’ seemingly contradictory way to power: weakness.

Why do so many rock-star pastors implode under the spotlight? Why do modern-day churches become so entangled in growing their brand that they lose sight of their true purpose? Because, according to Jamin Goggin and Kyle
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Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 24th 2017 by Thomas Nelson
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Chris
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was hyperventilating through most of this book. It's based on the simple but difficult idea that power in leadership and ministry comes only through the weakness and humility we see in Jesus. Anything else will end up biting you in the rear end. Now, most well-intended Christians would probably agree that we must be humble servants...in theory. But Goggin and Strobel expose the ease with which lust for power has permeated the evangelical church and its most trusted leaders. What was most ...more
Keith Plummer
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve gone beyond assigning a number of stars for a goodreads review but this book had such a profound effect on me and I’d like so much to see other Christians read it that I couldn’t let it go at just that. This is a penetrating examination of what it means to follow Jesus in the way of the cross, a way that voluntarily embraces weakness, humility, service, even rejection, while depending on God to work the power of his kingdom in and through one’s life.

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Demetrius Rogers
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Loved the concept of this book. It's structured around interviews of "sages in the faith, who embodied power in weakness." And it includes an interview with one of my favorite authors, Eugene Peterson. Chapters 3 and 7 alone are worth the price of the book - the ones on James Houston and (you guessed it) Peterson. So I loved the book! But, I'll have to say I was disappointed to find that many of the interviews were quite short. The authors spent a couple of days with James Houston, and it showed ...more
Jon Nitta
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to understate the relevance and importance of this book. Not only is its arrival timely with power at the center of pastors failing but also the widespread embrace of some practices to measure and control ministry. Both Kyle and Jamin have spent years preparing and writing this book and the result is a robust understanding of theology of power/weakness while taking the readers on a journey to meet modern sages who offer us much wisdom with regards to the proper and improper use of ...more
Edwin Smith
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that I will probably return to over the years, as a reminded that Christian ministry and Kingdom "Power" is rooted in weakness leaning in dependence on God.

Over and over, as I began to think that I had finally ingested their main point and that the authors were only repeating themselves to get to book-length, they would contribute a new facet of their thesis that I had not considered. They demonstrate how love from weakness and dependence pervades every part of life, from liturgy
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Debbie
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book contains wisdom in navigating what following Jesus really looks like. There are many thought provoking points and some helpful examples of ways we are often think we are "taking the high road" when we are actually using the strategies of below. While much seems directed toward those in ministry, there are nuggets of truth and healthy challenges applicable to anyone.

I personally didn't care for the writing style of going back and forth between the two authors and also back and forth
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Bruce Dickson
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Would recommend every Christian embrace the deep call to weakness and true dependence on God as discovered by the authors and modeled by everyone they interview. The answer to the current pragmatism and looking to impressive men and worldly methods to lead the Church rather than Christ and the servanthood he so clearly told us was the way to greatness in the kingdom. Especially loved the final chapter which spoke of suffering well and the way of suffering to truly learn obedience and trust.
Anthony Locke
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
This was a "right book at the right time" kind of book for me. The authors argue that people today, particularly pastors, have an unhealthy and potentially sinful lust for power. The authors helpfully nuance the pursuit of power, prominence, and prestige with general pride. I had never thought of myself as "power hungry" but this book challenged me to reexamine my motives. Am I, as Paul Washer has put it, "jostling for prominence on America's stage?" The authors go interview a number of big ...more
Jonathan
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a good book highlighting the way of Christ and those that have lived it out. If only we all could embrace the way of weakness in our turbulent times! There is invitation here, and guidance toward the better way. Take up and read.
Wes F
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a timely & relevant book. Because we're oh-so dependent, weak, humble, self-effacing, willing to suffer & take risks...or maybe not. This quote does a good job for me of summing up the main gist that this book makes so well:
"In a culture drunk on power and in need of an intervention, the church has too often become an enabler. In many places, churches openly affirm the way from below. Instead of being told how desperately I am in need of God, I am repeatedly told how much God needs
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Samuel Parkison
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was very good and very convicting. It has already been fodder for so much meditation and I anticipate I will be returning to the ideas explored in it for a lifetime.
Reg Rivett
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
"There are two ways, one of life and one of death, and there is a great difference between these two ways." - The Didache

What if the way that we are acting in Church isn't the way that Jesus taught? What if the way we structure and behave leadership in Christian circles doesn't reflect what the Bible teaches? What if the North American church has been seduced by the idea of power and control, and left Jesus and his ways on the sidelines?

While we may be quick to answer that it isn't so, we might
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Stuart Turton
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The amount of times I wrote 'Wow' in the margins, I was convinced my pen would run dry before I reached the end of the book!

The two authors both grew up in the seeker-sensitive movement during its heyday. One in Willow Creek, the other in Saddleback, two of the bastions for the Church Growth Movement in America. As they've come into adulthood and a ministry vocation, both have had to wrestle with the repercussions of such power-oriented church cultures. Interestingly, one of the authors, Kyle
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A.J. Mendoza
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Goggin and Strobel do an excellent job wrestling with the tension between the position of the pastorate and the social power that comes with it. The power itself is never vilified, it is but the source that our authors caution their readers. Power from below, from the beast, from the inclination towards death, this power is heavily cuationed. Sadly, through multiple real and hypothetical examples, this power from below can too easily penetrate the church (and any institutionalized religious ...more
Matt B.
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
With a subtitle like, “Searching for Jesus’ Path of Power in a Church That Has Abandoned It”, I knew I would get something out of this book. What I did not know was that I would be in for a wild ride along with two honest and authentic men, searching for the true meaning of power in weakness in the ways of Jesus Christ.

One of the most amazing things about this book is the breadth of interviewees the authors were able to meet with, including J. I. Packer, Marva Dawn, Eugene Peterson, Dallas
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Joel Wentz
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
A few books have directly ministered to me while reading them, and "Way of the Dragon" immediately jumped onto that list. Goggin and Strobel peel back the layers of church organization and strategies in North America, and they avoid merely paying lip service to ideas like "servant leadership" and "finding your strength in your weakness" that are thrown around so frequently in Christian circles. Rather, they are brutally honest about their own struggles with seeking power, while providing a ...more
Jason Warren
Aug 11, 2019 rated it liked it
The premise of this book is great and I think the topic is really important to Christian discipleship. However, I struggled to finish most of this book. They make a helpful distinction between the way of worldly power (the dragon) and the way of Godly power (the lamb), but as you start reading past the first chapter, the structure and content doesn't really go any particular direction. Almost every chapter highlights a particular believer they interviewed for the book, explaining how the ...more
Tanwin
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is about two kinds of power that the Church is influenced by: the power of the dragon and the power of the lamb.

The title can be a bit confusing but I believe the authors have done well in defining these different types of power. But the majority of the book is focused on defining the power of the lamb, which is the concept of power in weakness.

Instead of telling the readers what power in weakness is and how to achieve it, the authors take the readers and show us through the lives of
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Cameron Roxburgh
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have been privileged this summer... so often you pick up a book and the first few chapters are good and there it tapers off. Not so this book.

Friends, this is a must read for all who love Jesus and His bride, and desire to walk with Jesus and His people through their days. It is rich with input from some of the heroes of our faith in these days, and is rich in challenge for us to become like those people. Now, do I have the guts and faith, or maybe faith and surrender to live life this way.

I
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James
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I finished the book, The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb, by Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel this morning. It is such a simple concept of a book that in the beginning, I wasn’t too impressed. The two authors writing together as one thing was bothersome as the frequent going back and forth in voice seemed unnecessary at times.

The authors took five years interviewing the “elders” of today’s Christian world. Rather than fill the pages with quotes from these “famous people,” Goggin and
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Austin Fry
Nov 13, 2018 rated it liked it
The sum of the book is greater than its parts. The interviews were its most valuable content far and away, the "memoir" parts were good, and the subject matter of the book is greatly needed in our time - I really felt the pressure of what was being. The parts in between, the Christian living speak, was tough to get through. It just all seemed so lofty and didn't really feel real to me. Not bad writing, but I didn't feel connected to Kyle or Jamin in their journey as much as I would have liked ...more
Nathan Albright
Feb 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: challenge2017
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Thomas Nelson. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

It is hard to know what to make of this book. On the one hand, this book has a lot of tiresome and offensive elements of social gospelism, the attempt to paint Evangelical Christianity in some sort of crisis that can only be overcome by giving in to ungodly left-wing politics and wallowing in white guilt, as the authors do far too often. On a more positive side, though, when the authors
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Darin Mirante
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Such essential perspectives for our times when it comes to proper pastoral ministry. Priceless conversations between the authors and Dallas Willard, Eugene Peterson, and Henri Nouwen’s close friend. This quote from Nouwen sums up what all pastors must understand...and get right: “What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love ...more
Derek
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Subversive book calling into question the pursuit of fame, power, and speciality among local churches today. Didn't Jesus call us to die to ourselves, to find his power fleshed out in our weakness? If so, why are so many of us looking to be part of churches where there is a headlining pastor or clear momentum or a significant platform amidst global evangelicalism? Why do we want a sexy church and a sexy pastor and a sexy experience instead of finding joy and purpose and fulfillment in Jesus and ...more
Wes Van Fleet
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Goggin and Strobel have written a treatise on humility that is a much needed remedy for Christians and churches alike. In contrasting Christ’s power in our weakness with the way of power in the world, the reader must face which way he will go. In a book unlike others, the authors interview many mature sages that have walked the way of weakness and have experienced Christ’s power. This is a necessary read for future leaders in the church I help lead. It is also a necessary go to for myself to ...more
Johnny
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simple yet provocative

What I got from this was personal reflection and application. It was an affirmation to many things I’ve been thinking about, laden with graciousness instead of complaining. We can so easily attempt to look at new perspectives by putting down other perspectives, but the authors did it nicely withh a balanced view and attitude, healthy and respective. May you also go the Way of the Lamb.
Steven
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Honest, contemplative, and helpful. The concept pitches like the plot of a work of fiction. Two men disenchanted by the trappings of “professional pastoring” and “corporate church growth” go and interview old saints and inquire what sage wisdom they have learned walking through this life. The interviews were so tender and personal. I have marked my copy of this book up significantly and will be re-reading it more than once. Very much recommended.
Randy Frye
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
A challenging and helpful book on the forms power takes the church. Power frequently manifests itself in unChristlike ways. The authors give practical and spiritual guidance for "the way from above" based on interviews with a diverse set of recognized spiritual leaders. I particularly appreciated the interviews with Dallas Willard, Jean Varnier, and Eugene Peterson. Challenging and highly recommended.
David Gaetke
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
No one wants to hear it. No one wants to admit it. But this book is exactly what needs to be said to the modern American Christian Church. We seek power at work, in relationships, and in church leadership. But this is not a power of weakness for the sake of love. It is a power of strength for the sake of control. The Way Of The Dragon Or The Way Of The Lamb goes deep into this dichotomy and emerges with a beautiful hope for those willing to choose the way from above.
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Jamin Goggin serves as Pastor of Spiritual Formation and Retreats at Saddleback Church. He holds an MA in Spiritual Formation and an MA in New Testament and is currently earning a PhD in Theology. He is the co-author of "Beloved Dust" and co-editor of "Reading the Christian Spiritual Classics". Jamin speaks and writes from the depths of his own journey, seeking to invite others into the beauty and ...more
“Racism is alive and well in our culture, but we often succumb to the lie that it died with institutional slavery and segregation.” 1 likes
“Outside of anything illegal, sex is really the only thing that matters to us concerning the pastor’s personal life. Power? Not so much. Money? Very few care. Unless a pastor is caught stealing from the church’s bank, a pastor can serve Mammon wholeheartedly and, generally speaking, find that few are really bothered. Power” 0 likes
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