Some of us remember from school that a prototype is an early sample of a product, it’s built to test a concept or process and it is to act as something to be replicated. Jonathan Martin, in his book “Prototype: What Happens When You’re More like Jesus than You Think?” (http://prototypethebook.com/) suggests that Jesus is the model that was used to test the product or the concept, and He is definitely someone that we should try to replicate and learn from. The knowledge of Christ shapes our identity. Then, once we realize that Jesus loves us, we can begin the incredible faith journey that takes us beyond our wildest imagination. This book is an affirmation of the fact that Jesus can and does take some of the most unlikely people and shape them for His service. It is also a reminder that all Christians are called to be witnesses to God's glory.
Martin’s bio says that he leads the liars, dreamers and misfits of Renovatus (a church for people under renovation) in North Carolina. The book includes many of Martin’s stories, but it also includes the stories of many of the people that labor along side of him. And each story is full of grace. At the church where I serve, we also celebrate the communion mea each week. It never gets old, and Martin has helped me to understand why: “we are tasting the future”. He reminds the reader of the disciples on the road to Emmaus: “it doesn’t matter how clueless and blind we might be, when we break bread, all of a sudden we can see Jesus again.
Renovatus may be a refuge for liars, dreamers, and misfits, but they seem to know how to ‘be’ the church. And that is what makes this book worth reading. It’s a call to action, a call to get back to basics and follow Jesus. Not the Jesus that we've invented based on pictures from the 15 century, but the Jesus that is described in the bible. Jesus: love who turned the table upside down in the temple. Jesus: the image of the invisible God and the first born over all creation. (Col 1:5) Prototype calls us to community, to worship, to serve, to be the hands and feet of God.
Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book .