Total Church Life

51m2C8g5mnL._SL500_AA240_From the introduction to Total Church (by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis):

Being both gospel-centred and community-centred might mean:

  • seeing church as an identity instead of a responsibility to be juggled alongside other commitments
  • celebrating ordinary life as the context in which the word of God is proclaimed with ‘God-talk’ a normal feature of everyday conversation
  • running fewer evangelistic events, youth clubs and social projects, and spending more time sharing our lives with unbelievers
  • starting new congregations instead of growing existing ones
  • preparing Bible talks with other people instead of just studying alone at a desk
  • adopting a 24-7 approach to mission and pastoral care instead of starting ministry programmes
  • switching the emphasis from Bible teaching to Bible learning and action
  • spending more time with people on the margins of society
  • learning to disciple one another – and be discipled – day by day
  • having churches that are messy instead of churches that pretend

I’ve read the book several times over and attended the Total Church Conference in San Diego last year, and I’m a ruined man. Yes, this book isn’t the gospel, but it paints a picture of church life that is both biblically lucid and is a clear departure (reconfiguration?) of how many westerners understand and experience church life. Get the book here.