Ron Mahler is our Non-Fiction Winner in our 2015 Free Publishing Contest for Radical Apprentices, a book focusing on the pioneering Christian church and its struggles and successes.
WAP: How did you feel when you found out that you were our non-fiction winner?
RM: I was ecstatic. This means so much to me. The news made my summer to say the very least! There’s such a great crop of writers and authors across Canada—I know a few of them; just to be short-listed would have been a tremendous honour. I don’t know what more to say other than I feel greatly blessed to have won the contest under the non-fiction category. I think winning has certainly affirmed for me that I am on the right track with my writing, and has definitely motivated me to keep pressing for that next level!
WAP: What led you to choose the topic of Radical Apprentices for your third book?
RM: I’ve always been drawn to the New Testament book of Acts. There’s something about the nature of the pioneering Christian Church that continues to fascinate and challenge me spiritually. I actually had the title down before I even wrote one chapter! Whether the Lord gave the title to me or not, the words “radical” and “apprentices” truly capture the essence and character of the early Christians’ faith and ministry, as much as they do the thrust of the book’s message.
WAP: How long have you been working on this project?
RM: I began working on this project sometime in early 2014. At the time I was preaching a series on the early Church using Acts as my primary text. I found myself bursting with a desire to commence journaling and studying through Acts aside from writing the sermons for the series I was doing. The book was birthed out of that process.
WAP: The subtitle is Rediscovering the Times, Trials and Triumphs of the Pioneering Christian Church. What makes the early church relevant to today’s Christian?
RM: When one considers how Christians today are coming under increased oppression and acute persecution, not only “over there” (as in across the world), but to some degree, in our own backyard (North America), it is amazing how fresh and applicable the biblical accounts of the early Church appear, in addition to those contained within extra-biblical writings pertaining to first and second century Christianity. The early believers’ soaring testimony—and shall I say “radical” witness for the Lord—contain treasures of truth and comfort for an embattled twenty-first century Church.
WAP: How do believers in a post-modern, post-Christian world express their faith in a way that is alluring?
RM: I really believe it’s about God’s people being authentic and striving to live and love as Jesus did. Though centuries come and go, and times, change, what never alters is humanity’s desire to apprehend the meaning and purpose of life. The Bible holds the ultimate answer to that question and Christians are charged with communicating it in a way that will invariably inspire and impact their fluid culture. If Christians can stay adept at understanding the changing times, engage themselves in dialogue with post-moderns and, remain attractively excited about their faith and the things of God, I believe we’ll see more pockets of people in our spheres of influence lining up for Christianity—as was the case with the early Church in the book of Acts.
WAP: Was there a Radical Apprentice in your life Ron, that inspired your faith?
RM: There have been a few, in fact. From my days in Bible College and Seminary to my ventures into different ministries as a pastor, I’ve encountered Christians who demonstrated a very contagious “sold-out for Jesus” quality of faith that was free of selfishness and self-righteousness; the kind of believers you could picture fitting-in with the values and priorities of the early Church communities.
WAP: As a pastor and author, which form of communication do you prefer (preaching or writing?)
RM: This is perhaps the toughest question to answer. It’s a trade off, really. There’s an intimacy with a live audience (when preaching) that you don’t have with writing. That being said, with writing I have the opportunity and forum to say so much more than I would under the time restraints that come with preaching. I would say I prefer preaching “by a hair” for the mere fact that I can often see the immediate results of my communication.
WAP: What’s next for you? Is there another book in the works?
RM: Yes! I am fiddling around with another idea for a fourth book. I don’t feel as worn out as I did after I completed my second book and so I plan to revisit the idea sometime in the near future. For now I am content with basking in the afterglow of co-winning Word Alive’s free publishing contest and with enjoying the process of seeing Radical Apprentices become published and marketed!
Ron Mahler is a fanatical follower of Jesus Christ, and an ordained pastor, who has served at various churches and in different ministry capacities, over the past fifteen years. He is the founding pastor of Highland Lakes Community Church, in Minden, Ontario, where he lives with his wife, Elaine, and their two children. Ron’s future plans include: enjoying family life, writing more, and commencing a Doctor of Ministry degree at Tyndale Seminary, in Toronto. He has published two other books with Word Alive Press: My Fanatical, Regrettable Tour of Ministry and The Necessary Christian. He has a history with church-planting, loves the book of Acts and has done extensive study and research on it.