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Total Church: Is the American Church Ready?

I've been reading Total Church, a remarkable book that looks at a 'radical reshaping around gospel and community'.  In it they talk about the community formed at The Crowded House, where: 

We are committed to caring for one another, discipling one another, investing in relationships and resolving conflict. We will expect one another to make decisions with regard to the implications for the church and to make significant decisions in consultation with the church. We will not view church as a meeting you attend. We will not let conflict continue unresolved. (emphasis mine)

Chester/Timmis argue that just as a 'married man must take into account his wife and family' in making decisions, the same should be done in the family of God.   The book then points out:

This is not a process of 'heavy shepherding' where the leader tells people what to do.  Our statement does not say decisions are made for people.  It says they are made with regard to the community to which they belong.  Nor is it top-down.  It is a community process in which everyone is accountable to everyone.  As leaders, we submit our schedules, priorities and key decisions to the community. 

In the book they cite one attender who quit his 'high-paying' job as a bank executive to teach English as a second language.   Is the American church ready for this?  (The book is not yet released in the US.  I believe Mark Moore has 50 copies for purchase.)   They go on to say:

I cannot be who I am without regard to other people.  Into our pervasively individualistic world-view, we speak the gospel of reconciliation, unity and identity as the people of God.  This is perhaps the most significant 'culture gap' which the church has to bridge.  (emphasis mine)

4 Comments

  1. Yikes. Wow. I’ve emailed Mark for a copy.

  2. I just got my copy from Mark in the mail today. Can’t wait to dig in!!

  3. Can’t wait to get it – I’m really interested in their model – Chester’s “Good News to the Poor” is really shaping the way we do things.

  4. I’m not sure if we are ready but we are needy for this truth! Hopefully, Moore still has a copy for me!

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