By Rubin E. Grant
George Shamblin had heard the expression “Christianity isn’t a sprint, but a marathon,” for a number of years.
But the more he thought about it, the more Shamblin’s sentiments about the description evolved. Eventually, he came to another conclusion.
“At any given time, Christianity is never more than a generation from extinction,” Shamblin said. “I’ve seen far too many Christians who think of faith as a spectator sport, and I have always chafed at the cliché that, ‘Faith isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.’ It’s neither. Those are individual events, and one just happens to be longer than the other.
“True faith is a long-distance relay – a team sport, if you will – and it’s up to all of us to pass the baton to others. Especially the runners who succeed us – the next generation. What are we running for if we’re not passing it off to the next generation?”
With that viewpoint in mind, Shamblin, a former pastor and church planter, has written a book called “The Relay.” It will be released in June by Union Hill Publishing and retail for $11.99.
In “The Relay,” Shamblin highlights the races of nine biblical characters in their quests to pass along their faith to the next generation. Among them are Adam, Moses, David and Paul. At the center of the 11-chapter book, not only thematically but literally (chapter six), is Jesus Christ.
Shamblin said the book is intended for three groups of people: “Christians who have reached a stagnated pace, the spectator sitting in the stands and the Christian currently running strong.”
“The Relay” is Shamblin’s first book and it took him nearly five years to complete.
“I need to apologize to my family because for the last four or five years, I spent our vacations writing,” Shamblin said with a laugh.
In a more serious tone, he added, “It may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s also been one of the most rewarding.
“At some point in life, it’s natural to consider the legacy you’re going to leave the next generation, the impact your life has had on others. Nothing would make me prouder, or more deeply humbled, to think that this book could positively impact others. And not just for a lifetime, but, well, forever.”
Shamblin has been making an impact as a staff member at The Center for Executive Leadership in Birmingham since 2012. He ministers to men and leads a number of Bible studies. He’s also an adjunct professor at Birmingham Theological Seminary.
Shamblin traces his spiritual roots to his ancestors.
“I had two great grandfathers who were country preachers,” Shamblin said. “I was raised in the church, but I got away from it. Back in the 1990s, I was a radical, a wildcat. My brother-in-law shared the gospel with me and that changed my life.
“Now, the baton is in my hand to run with it. I don’t take it for granted. It’s not easy. Being Christians, the race is more difficult, but it’s good and it’s right.”
Shamblin’s objective with “The Relay” is not just about running the Christian race, but also being evangelistic.
“Our goal as Christians is not to win a race, but to win the world,” he said.