ABOUT THE BOOK: The future of the Christian faith will not be determined by the number of people who fill the pews but by the spiritual depth of those people. Pastor Gordon MacDonald revisits the fictional New England congregation of his critically acclaimed book Who Stole My Church to deal with a new dilemma: What's his church's story? What is it doing that justifies its existence? The importance of these questions is anything but fiction.Through a series of e-mails and discussions with friends and parishioners, Pastor Gordon's search for their story leads him to realize that the future of the Christian faith, and thus the church, is at risk. As MacDonald says, "We seem to know how to get unchurched people to visit our buildings. We even seem to know how to draw them across the line into a declaration of personal faith in Jesus. But what we do not seem to know is how to cultivate spiritually deep people. Tomorrow's church could be headed for trouble." Deep people. People who possess spiritual awareness and maturity, people with solid, grounded, life-altering faith. MacDonald shows that the church needs people with a passion for God's presence and a desperate hunger to seek him above all things.
MY THOUGHTS: I was really interested and excited to get this book and dive right into it because I had already read his first book Who Stole My Church and really enjoyed it. Just like his first book, this is a fictitious story and you need to know that going in to it. And just like the first book, I found myself a couple of times saying, “That only works in ‘fiction land’ and probably would not happen like that or come together like that in real life.” Some of the issues, and the blend of temperaments of the people in his group, were just a little too perfect to be reality, in my opinion. But, that still did not take away from my enjoyment and encouragement from this book.
There are many issues that this book brings to light, and many things that I personally have been dealing with lately here in my ministry. We seem to be in the midst of a “low commitment” Christianity, and therefore are not training up any committed followers for the next generation. When you study the life of Jesus, while many times He taught the masses, much of His time was directed toward the training of the twelve. Yet, how often do we spend a good portion of our time not only discipling, but specifically training small groups on how to take the spiritual lead? I know I have been challenged and encouraged to spend more time and effort with a smaller group of believers who show the characteristics of committed believers who could be used for leadership in the near future.
MY RECOMMENDATION: Though I know some will not care for the fictitious style of the book and immediately scoff at it, this really was a great book for me, and it has really moved me and motivated me to cultivate some “deep” Christians in our church. I would highly recommend this to any pastor or Christian in a position of leadership and influence.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <[...]> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255