Having the Mind of Christ: Eight Axioms to Cultivate a Robust Faith, By Matt Tebbe and Ben Sternke alt

Having the Mind of Christ

Eight Axioms to Cultivate a Robust Faith

by Matt Tebbe and Ben Sternke

Having the Mind of Christ
  • Length: 192 pages
  • Published: July 26, 2022
  • Imprint: IVP Formatio
  • Item Code: A0360
  • ISBN: 9781514003602

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Reader's Choice Award Winner

"Why doesn’t the Christian life work like I thought it would?"

While we often start with good intentions, it feels like real transformation is elusive at best, and maybe even impossible. We deeply want to live in the freedom that Christ offers, but we are acutely aware of the gap between a transformed life and our reality. Having the Mind of Christ tackles the issues of lasting life change.

When we feel some kind of inspiration or need to seek change in our lives, we start with behaviors: new to-dos, tactics, techniques, or spiritual disciplines that we hope will bring about the transformation we desire. While these behavioral changes can bear good results, they just as often fail to produce the lasting change we deeply desire. That's because transformation requires more than a change in practice – it requires a change in paradigm.

Pastors Matt Tebbe and Ben Sternke share eight axioms that help reframe the way that we see God, ourselves, and others. By seeing through new lenses, we can open ourselves to the transformational change that God wants for our lives.

"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

"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

"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

Read an Excerpt


Introduction: When Faith Stops Working
Axiom 1: God Is Love, So It's All About Love
Axiom 2: God Is Always Present and at Work
Axiom 3: God Is Just Like Jesus
Axiom 4: God Meets Us in Our Messy Reality
Axiom 5: God Cares About (All of) It More Than We Do
Axiom 6: God Does the Same Work Through Us and in Us
Axiom 7: God's Love Always Reckons with Power
Axiom 8: God Transforms Us Through Embodied Participation
Conclusion: Acting as If It's True



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Matt Tebbe

Matt Tebbe has been in local church ministry for over twenty years. He is cofounder of Gravity Leadership, where he writes regularly, and co-pastor at The Table in Indianapolis. He has written for Leadership Journal, Shattered Magazine, Missio Alliance, and contributed to the book What Pastors Wish Their Congregations Knew.

Author Ben Sternke

Ben Sternke has over two decades of Christian ministry experience. Since 2005, he has been writing about church leadership and ministry in various online publications, including Gravity Leadership, The V3 Movement, and more. He is cofounder of Gravity Leadership and co-pastor at The Table in Indianapolis.