Victory Outreach, Seattle: http://tinyurl.com/7wmo4lc
Your church is too safe, by Mark Buchanan, Zondervan Publishers, 2012, 240 Pages, ISBN-13: 978-0310331230, $18.99
“When did we [as a church]…make it a priority to be safe instead of dangerous…nice instead of holy… cautious instead of bold…self-absorbed…” instead of loving and Christ centered? Asks Pastor Mark Buchanan in the introduction to Your Church is too Safe.
If the love in your church doesn’t draw the world to your church, “it’s irrelevant,” he says. Because “…love is the music of heaven…and we are intended to be a replica of the Father’s voice thinly echoed in our own,” writes Pastor Buchanan.
He questions if that is the tone in many of today’s churches where church pews seem filled with believers who seek their own comfort instead of providing comfort to others. What about dying to self and living for Christ?
If the real “…story of the gospel is love…the main theme of the Gospel is relationship.” That sense of relationship, love, acceptance and the power of God are what people expect to find in church, in the eyes, expressions and actions of pastor’s and parishioners attending worship.
However, the anticipated church welcome may be seen as insincere, once hands are shaken, seats regained and initial friendly greetings forgotten. Or if it’s a community outreach, such as a church food bank, what appears genuine when it begins, at day’s end the outreach turns into a simple exercise, with the faces and the stories behind them soon forgotten.
This powerful, engaging, theologically sound book challenges churches to step away from their comfort zones and enter into the life Jesus offered from the cross. There’s only one requirement—pick up the cross and follow Jesus away from the safety of church buildings into the dangerous unknown.
Buchanan uses scripture, personal examples and narratives to illustrates differences between what Dietrich Bonheoffer calls “cheap grace…grace without the cross and without sacrifice” and the true grace of the cross.
The tone of the book is genuine and non-judgmental, with contents that could be used as a roadmap for churches who want to be all that God intended them to be. Such a book as this is long overdue. I strongly recommend church leaders, pastors and laity read it. There’s something for everyone in these pages from a pastor who reminds us that “…the gospel should afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.” Quote from journalist, Finley Peter Dunne.
FaceBook: Gail Welborn