Thursday, August 16, 2007

Book Review: They Like Jesus But Not the Church

Anyone who is serious about sharing their faith with others in this generation and culture needs to read Dan Kimball's They Like Jesus But Not the Church. Not so that we can package a church that they will like, but so we will, like good missionaries, understand the culture and the spiritual climate in which we minister.

The book convicted me on the very second page when I realized that I had become so busy "doing ministry" that I had lost almost all contact with those outside the church. My prayer now is "get me back into the game."

Dan's tone is full of grace and understanding, but his words are straightforward and prophetic. Based on several years of interviews with folks outside the church, They Like Jesus But Not the Church highlights the reasons that emerging generations respect Jesus but are totally turned off by his bride. Many of the reasons are misperceptions; many are not. Some of the reasons that really jumped out to me included the following:

"The church is an organized religion with a political agenda."
"The church is judgmental and negative. It is known for what it is against more than for what it is for."
"The church is homophobic."

Dan is whole-heartedly committed to the truth of Scripture , and he shows us how we can uphold the authority of Scripture while stripping off some of the extraneous trappings we have picked up along the way. I love Dan's humility and transparency. He is fair and gracious to both sides of the conversation, and he offers hope to those in the church and those outside the church.

This is one of the best books I have read, and I believe all pastors need to read it. We need to understand the culture in which we minister. We need to understand the people we are trying to reach. We need to get outside the walls of our church office and get to know the people in our communities. And we need to think Biblically and critically about how we do church.


At 9:08 PM, Anonymous Ruth said...

Heather -- when two of my friends blog about the same book on the same day, I notice. You might want to check out a blog called "A Church for Starving Artists" by Jan Edmiston, another clergywomen friend. I'd link it if I had that kind of skill! take care, my pilgrim friend, Ruth.


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