Yesterday I wrote that I was looking forward to reading Deep Church when my copy arrives from Amazon. In the meantime, I started another ecclesiologically-flavored book called Total Church, by Steve Timmis and Tim Chester. I imagine that if we take all of the ideas from each book we’d end up with a totally deep church. Sorry, I have a weakness for corny humor.
The whole premise of Total Church is that we need churches that are both gospel-centered and community-centered. Gospel-centered means word-centered and mission-centered. So we are called to a “dual fidelity,” to the core content of the gospel and the primary context of the believing community. Their list of suggestions about what this might mean really got me thinking. Take a look at this list and tell me what kinds of ideas starting popping for you. Being gospel-centered and community-centered might mean (and I quote):
- 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” as 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 programs
- 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 to be discipled-day by day
- having churches that are messy instead of churches that pretend
What are your thoughts? What are some of the implications of these suggestions?