This book is an exploration surrounding the issues of being church in the twenty-first century and a journey toward a community that is inclusive, messy, honest, purposeful, generous, vulnerable, sustainable, and diverse. Many people today believe that churches are simply out of touch with reality at best or judgmental and exclusive at worst. And yet the Jesus we serve is seen to be forgiving, wise, generous, and gracious. Why is there such a disconnect? Steve Chalke seeks to reclaim the true heartbeat of the church--the passion to save not itself, but the world. In a work that is rooted in deep theology while being highly practical, he outlines a church whose mission and outlook is fully rooted in its understanding of a loving, welcoming God. A church that is inclusive, welcoming all people. A church that is purposeful, marked by a mission to equip its members in their frontline work. A church that is generous, vulnerable, and sustainable. What we need today is an intelligent church--not cerebral or intellectual, but rather joined up and authentic--a church that makes sense of both the Bible and of life.
As St. John of the Cross said: Mission is putting love where love is not. This book is full of ideas. It should prompt us all to examine the effectiveness of the way local churches are organized. The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr. John Sentamu, Archbishop of York Everything that Steve Chalke writes is insightful and cutting-edge. Here he argues in favor of a church that thinks and acts in ways that make the Kingdom of God visible and reasonable in a secular society. --Tony Campolo, PhD Eastern University, Pennsylvania, USA The task of the Church is to be the irrefutable demonstration and proof of the fact that God is love, claims Steve Chalke. An intelligent church intentionally connects the Bible and its twenty-first-century culture, is authentic and, most importantly, has thought through its practice. In other words, the way it does church is a reflection of its understanding of who God is. This foundational issue must be addressed by pastors, church and ministry leaders, small group leaders and others as we continue to grapple with the shape of effective church in the postmodern, post-Christian West. As Chalke unpacks central theological concepts, such as the incarnation, human sinfulness and the Trinity, he points us to the corresponding characteristics of an intelligent church, such as inclusiveness, messiness and diversity. Each thought-provoking chapter concludes with a Yes but How? section, which gives practical suggestions for moving your church along this path.
Steve Chalke is an ordained minister and the founder of Oasis, which over the last 25 years has developed into a group of charities working to deliver education, training, youth work, health care and housing around the world. He is the senior minister of Church.co.uk, Waterloo and a UN Special Advisor working to combat people trafficking. In 2004 he was awarded an MBE by the Queen for his work in social inclusion.
Anthony Watkis is a graduate of London School of Theology. He is a professional writer and works with Oasis UK.
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