18th May 2018
Here’s a massive claim: each chapter of this book is worth the price of the book on its own. What Gil Cann proposes are not just ‘good ideas’, but practical signposts for kingdom-seeking churches and Christians.
Gil writes and the reader sees ‘pictures’ - his style is pictorial without the actual drawings! Distilled biblical theology, coupled to practical application, will get ideas rolling in readers’ minds, from the smallest rural church to the largest church in suburbia.
Here we have a thoughtful observer with a heart for the church. The ideas here are doctoral stuff, but simply unravelled and accessible to all. Get this book into the hands of young adults to read and discuss. Then, pastor/friend, give them some free rein!
The overview of causes of church disconnection with culture will set you thinking, questioning and applying. Tucked into the flow of the text are some one-line summaries simplifying complex ideas with disarming brevity.
Gil also touches on other related issues, such as: the weakness of a church seeking social approval, and thus failing to stick with its mandate; modern secularism’s obsession with the ‘fruit’, but its rejection of the root of its Judeo-Christian legacy. The chapter on the organic church is a tract for our times:
‘Leaders lead by serving, not serve by leading.’
‘We change verbs into nouns.’
‘We miss the vital simplicity of organic church.’
Here are principles and guidelines for the organic church that are often ‘misplaced’ by our preoccupation with organisation. At best, organisation is the means, ‘the scaffolding’, for the building. And ‘feeding the soil rather than the plants’ is an image you will want to work through carefully with your leadership team.
In the face of society’s rising secularism, the fact is that a healthy, authentic church is our community’s most necessary resource. In this respect, ‘Sunday service or family reunion?’ (Chapter 10) is thought-provoking. Pastors and elders who are game to make this their purpose on Sunday morning will reap new, stronger life in their congregations. Whilst reading the pages on the significance of work and its connection to the Sunday service, I immediately set about writing a sermon on the subject. And I was only half-way through the chapter! There is more, much more. This book is really for everyone who wants to have a meaningful role in their congregation.
Rev. Ian L. Clarkson
Advocate, writer, researcher on the gospel in contemporary culture
Consulting Minister of HopeNet, a network of sixty evangelical
Uniting Churches, SA, Australia
Chairman of The Barnabas Fund, Australia