Lead Pastor of Embrace, Adam Weber, knows one thing for sure: He doesn’t have it figured out. Finding his personal journey with the church and prayer, Weber spent the last two years writing his first book, “Talking with God: What to Say When You Don’t Know How to Pray,” in hopes of starting a conversation with those who feel curious or lost.
605 chatted with the self-deprecating and passionate author, who was signed by Waterbrook Multnomah (Penguin Random House), before he took off on his book tour.
Embrace has grown so fast. You have five campuses now?
Adam Weber: We have five physical campuses, and technically, we have a sixth campus online. It’s kind of crazy; right now we’re getting roughly 1,500-2,000 people a week that listen and watch.
Why do you think people are so drawn to Embrace?
AW: I think it’s meeting people right where they are. Something the church has done a bad job of is saying, “Hey, clean yourselves up and then come,” when Jesus is actually the total opposite. He’s like, “You don’t have things figured out, and that’s why I’m going to come to you.” So I think just trying to speak as the people speak, instead of some weird language side of it, and actually just being real. I also think the raw factor. On Sundays, I’m quick to say I have nothing figured out. So I think that rawness and that brokenness… just saying that things suck sometimes. I think just being willing to say that, people get it.
What was your journey like?
AW: I’m the last person who ever thought I would be a Christian. I was outspoken as a high schooler, thinking Christians hadn’t read a science book in their lives and hadn’t thought through anything they say they believe in. So I think you can see that critical eye even in my preaching, just wrestling with everything. I’m such a skeptic.
Why prayer, specifically?
AW: There’s something with prayer. I’m almost just fascinated as a student of human beings… there’s something inside of us that moves us to pray. When you take off in an airplane, just look around once. There’re signs of the crosses coming from people who haven’t been to Mass in their entire lives. You know what was funny, but wasn’t, was game seven of the [Chicago] Cubs. The amount of people – they weren’t just joking, they were actually praying at that moment. Or even when you’re having a procedure, or your family member is having surgery, there’s something in us to pray. Where does that come from, you know? There’s something inside of us that believes there’s something more out there.
My hope for the book is if someone is curious about prayer or curious about God, or curious about something greater… there’s not a solution in the book, it’s not like I say, “Hey, I’ve got it figured out.” It’s telling my story in all of its glory and lameness, and hopefully finding a connection with someone.
What about other skeptics, like you once were? Do you think they’ll be turned off by the book?
AW: My greatest honor would be if someone who isn’t a Christian or someone who is an atheist reads the book. That would probably be the raddest thing ever.
Weber’s book is available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart, LifeWay, and Christianbook.com. For more info, visit adamweber.com. To find an Embrace location near you, or to stream online, visit iamembrace.com.