I requested this book thinking that it was about how God uses ordinary people to plant churches. Unfortunately their definition of a church was not Biblically-based. This book actually gives a bunch of examples of people starting what should be called Bible studies.Dale talked about the "simple church" or "home church." No one is the primary teacher. There is not governmental structure. The Bible is clear that churches are to have pastors (i.e. elders) and deacons. Pastors are responsible as under-shepherds to care for the flock and the flock is responsible to obey those that have the rule over them (Heb. 13:17). Pastors have the responsibility to study the Word and feed the flock (I Peter 5:2). Dale however deemphasized the need for Biblical training or careful teaching of the Word. There were some good points in the book. Dale explained the need for more personal relationships within the church family as well as the need for more time and energy given to evangelism and discipleship. I would heartily agree. In conclusion, I have no problem with churches that meet in homes, however, what Dale described as a "simple church" lacks structure and key elements that the Bible emphasizes. (Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a fair critique).
Theyre at it again! Somebody is planting a house churcheven in your own small town!When I read An Army of Ordinary People, I did not expect the author to be as blatantly opposed to the traditional church model as she turned out to be. Barna tried, and failed, to overcome my suspicions in the forward, but he did manage to make me believe that Dale wasnt against traditional church entirely.As it turned out, I think she is.Dale starts with several mistaken premises, each of which contributes to her mistaken book.1. She places greater importance on love (relationships) than on truth. The leads to her criticism of advanced theology: she claims that complexity drives away the unbeliever. This leads us to her second mistake:2. Dale claims, in more words, that Jesus created the organized church as a means for evangelism. Dale, however, is confusing organized church and the body of Christ. The organized church exists as a conduit for fellowship and edification: two things an unbeliever cannot share with us.3. Dale also seems to believe that each believer is called to be an evangelist. While I agree that every believer should take opportunities to share the Gospel, I do not agree on what the Gospel, and a calling, is. To Dale, the gospel is a message that Jesus saves, and a calling is a command. To me, the Gospel is living like Jesus, and a calling is a spiritual occupation: its how you use your gifts. If gifts differ, then so do callings. So, not everyone is called to be an evangelist.Dales movement will create a faith that is fifty miles wide, and about a centimeter deep. A shallow faith, that accepts all into the church as they are: saved, or otherwise. The Body is a Body of Believers. Not a body of seekers.I received this book for free from Tyndale in return for an honest review.
This has been sitting on my book stand for way to long. It's been a slower read than most books I've read lately, but that is more because I am wrestling with the concepts.What I thought was going to just be a book of short stories of people who have impacted the world for Christ, turns out is much more than that. The author, Felicity Dale shares background and principles upon which the ideas are based to help the reader understand a concept of what is known as Simple Churches.While, most people who have been used to traditional, big building, "programed" services will find the concept a little hard to understand, there is a sense of freshness that one gets while reading this book.Our family does not attend what would be a traditional church to begin with. We do not have programs. Yet, I'm not sure that I agree with the entire concept that any time there are 2-3 believers gathered that is a church...only on the basis that Paul has set clear guidelines for church leadership, eldership in particular.But, the Church is more than buildings, seminary trained pastors and lots of programs to "reach" the masses. We are the church outside of Sunday mornings. The Church is the Bride of Christ...we are to live and be like Jesus everyday of our lives.I am still not sure what I think about this book, but I will say that I was moved by some of the stories shared and if more people acted like Jesus and reach out from across the threshold of their church building we could have a much bigger impact on the world. Maybe even see a revolution.Disclosure of Material Connection: Hate these, but apparently it needs to happen now...anyway, I received this book from Tyndale to review. I am not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Its great to read amazing Bible stories from the Bible. The parting of the Red Sea, God coming down and transforming ordinary people's lives. Miracles in the desert. Reading of healing in the New Testament and everything God wanted us to know about Him and His immense love toward His creation.What makes this book a special read is that it brings Biblical stories to reality. Where God is applied to real life. Nothing is distant, far or ancient about the stories in "An Army of Ordinary People" by Felicity Dale, they're all contemporary. You could be a simple grocery store owner and then God comes into your life and your life begins to impact lives of people around you, just when you make contact with the living life of Jesus Christ Himself. We can picture that and soon you'll find yourself saying, "I can do that" or "This could be me!" This book can make you aware of God given potential in the life of a believer, who's just willing to follow God's directions no matter how mundane it sounds. Felicity carries us into a journey into the lives of these very ordinary people we meet day-to-day and perhaps would never imagine they could amount to anything, but they are being enabled by God as His agents to reach out to people right in their neighbourhood, some not even leaving the very compound and areas where they live. God is using them right where they are. Now I know, I can totally be a stay-at-home mom and still God can use me to impact people around me, right where I am.
An Army of Ordinary People by Felicity Dale is subtitled "stories of real-life men and women simply being the church." This newest book exploring the church planting movement emphasizes exactly this: inspiring stories. Each chapter in this book uses stories which essentially encourage normal, every day believers to share the gospel message in personal ways in their everyday lives. Believers are encouraged to live out the gospel in such a way that they disciple new believers into "simple," "organic" churches.Through fellowship, hospitality and by simply accepting and loving people, the lost may be reached for Christ. Developing relationships is emphasized by Dale as the way to bring unreached people to faith, and keeping churches small through the development of house churches led by bivocational pastors rather than legacy churches led by full-time church ministry staff is subtly encouraged.Admittedly, the stories were inspiring, yet I was left with a few questions. As the wife of a former church planter, I wondered whether "simple, organic churches" were synonymous with "house churches" and distinct from or synonymous with the term "simple church" as used by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger. I wondered whether the development of the house church model is generally preferable within the United States, or whether God may simply be using it to reach an unreached segment of the population. Although each chapter begins with a short Scripture quote and concludes with a short 2-3 page theological foundation, overall I found this book inadequate for dealing with many of the deep issues confronting church planters and bivocational pastors.I received a complimentary copy of this book to review for Tyndale House publishers.