Essential Church Review

essential-church3As with most sequels this one doesn’t quite match up to its companion volume “Simple Church.” The first half of the book deals with reasons – both real and myth – that people in their 20s are absent from church. If you believe that young people leave the church because of liberal colleges the you should probably read this book for a fresh perspective. Essentially, people leave because they feel they have no place in the church, the body of Christ no longer represents a real community where real people can belong and share in life, the church is not prepared (or at worst ignores) real life changes that take place (i.e. going to college, choosing careers, getting married, starting a family, etc.) and is perceived as irrelevant, and because there is a disconnect between family values and values communicated (and affirmed) within the confines of the church building on Sunday morning (hypocrisy begins in the home).

The second half of the book gives you a few options for how you can “close the back door” while at the same time become an “essential” church, for everyone not just 20 year olds. Essentially (no pun intended) it boils down to four things: (1) become simple (read Simple Church, it is well worth the time and money); (2) become deep – quality Sunday messages that don’t skimp on doctrine, quality bible study groups, and quality private study; (3) become expectant – expect members to live out the mission, commit to demands of Jesus, etc.; (4) become apostolic (actually the book uses the word “multiply,” but I think apostolic is much better and it sounds cool) – reproduce yourself, or as we say in our church, “multiply disciples, leaders, groups and churches.”

Overall, it was a good read. I recommend borrowing it if you can and save your money for Simple Church.


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