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|Format: DRM Free ePub|
Vendor: B&H Books
Publication Date: 2012
The Reformers viewed the gospel as not merely one thing among many in the life of a church but rather the means by which the church exists. When the gospel is rightly declared and applied to Gods people, the church becomes "a creature of the Word." She understands, embraces, and lives out the reality of Christs birth, life, death, and resurrection in more than her doctrinal statement. The gospel impacts all the church is and does.
Creature of the Word lays out this concept in full, first examining the rich, scripture-based beauty of a Jesus-centered church, then clearly providing practical steps toward forming a Jesus-centered church. Authors Matt Chandler, Eric Geiger, and Josh Patterson write what will become a center- ing discussion piece for those whose goal is to be part of a church that has its theology, culture, and practice completely saturated in the gospel.
Matt Chandler serves as Lead Pastor of Teaching at The Village Church in Flower Mound, TX. He has served in that role since December 2002 and describes his tenure at The Village as a re-planting effort where he was involved in changing the theological and philosophical culture of the congregation. The church has witnessed a tremendous response growing from 160 people to over 10,000 with campuses in Flower Mound, Dallas and Denton.
Alongside his current role as lead pastor, Matt is involved in church planting efforts both locally and internationally through The Village and various strategic partnerships. Prior to accepting the pastorate at The Village, Matt had a vibrant itinerant ministry for over 10 years where he spoke to thousands of people in America and abroad about the glory of God and beauty of Jesus. His greatest joy outside of Jesus is being married to Lauren and being a dad to their three children, Audrey, Reid and Norah.
Recently, Matt was named president of Acts 29, a worldwide church-planting organization.Over the last 10 years, Acts 29 has emerged from a small band of brothers to over 400 churches in the United States and networks of churches in multiple countries.
Matt speaks at conferences throughout the world and has written a book, The Explicit Gospel, published in April 2012.
Eric Geiger serves as the vice president of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best-selling church leadership book, Simple Church. He is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters, Eden and Evie.
Josh Patterson serves as lead pastor of Ministry Leadership at The Village Church located in the Dallas/Fort Worth region of Texas. He and his wife, Natalie, are the proud parents of Lily, Luke, and Liv.
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Joey CochranTulsa, OKAge: 25-34Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5A Jesus-Centered Ecclesiology!October 22, 2012Joey CochranTulsa, OKAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5At first glance, I thought Creature of the Word (here forward Creature) was going to be another book for individuals to study and apply a facet of gospel-centeredness, perhaps about how we approach the Word of God. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Creature is a book about the gospel and the Church. Why is this an important discussion? The authors write, "_a big gap exists between understanding the gospel and understanding what the gospel means for the Church. (Creature, 8)." They go on to say, "The gospel isn't just individual and cosmic; it is also deeply corporate (Creature, 14)."
The authors of Creature form a veritable triumvirate of prophet, priest and king. Matt Chandler - prophet, Josh Patterson - priest, and Eric Geiger - king present a valuable asset to the Church in this book through their individual gifting. Appealing about Creature is the fact that these authors point the church back to the only One who perfectly fulfills the office of Prophet, Priest, and King. This gives the Church a fresh perspective on what our focus ought to be. The authors humbly bring gospel clarity to the gospel cloudy state of the Church. For the last two decades at least we have seen a rise in the preoccupation of developing attractionl strategies for doing Church. Look at your bookshelf and assess. How many of your books about church are closer to being about how to have the next mega church, rather than how to have a church built around the gospel? This is the distinctive that Creature offers.
The title "Creature of the Word" is adopted from the reformers depiction of the Church. The reformers believed that the Word makes the Church alive. The Church is a creature that feeds on the Word and it must only return to this one source of sustenance. The authors write, "_for churches who believe the gospel, the Spirit of God repeatedly want to bring them back to the gospel (Creature, 17)." Our churches never graduate from gospel-centeredness to something more. The gospel is the only well for us to drink.
Partitioned in two halves, Creature discusses first the substance of the church, which is foundationally built on the Gospel, while the second half of Creature concerns the culture of the Church. In the first half of Creature the authors discuss the four core functions of the Church (worship, community, service, and the multiplication process). Halve two explores the culture of a Jesus-centered Church. Vital to a Jesus-centered church is a culture built on theology, philosophy and practice enveloped by the gospel. Ask yourself now, is there a disconnect between how I think (theology/philosophy) about the gospel and what I see taking place at church (practice)? Chandler, Patterson, and Geiger discuss how to construct a gospel centered foundation and address the gospel-gaps in regards to preaching, Christian education, leadership, details of the Church, contextualization, and ministry.
Al Mohler's soundbite recommending Creature expresses his interest in the ensuing conversations that result from this book. These authors provide excellent primers for discussion throughout this book. Here are four lines of questions that Creature stirred up within me concerning potential gospel gaps between theology and practice in today's church culture. Each of these insights is drawn from one of the critical areas of a Jesus-Centered Church Culture. These insights just scratch the surface on the wealth of conversations that will stem from Creature:
1) Ministry - Is the lack of churches partnering together for ministry in a community a sign of a gospel-gap? Even like-minded churches often see each other as competition rather than part of a much larger picture of catholicity. True, recent years exhibit how we are partnering with other churches globally, but how are we working locally with other churches? How can we learn from the partnerships seen in Acts and illustrated in the Pauline letters so as to further gospel ministry?
2) Community - Are the socio-economic, racial, and age tensions a sign of a gospel-gap? Too many churches are built on homogeneity in the three former areas listed. You see churches built on primarily one ethnicity. You see churches built primarily on one social or economic class. Now, we are even seeing a gap between twenty and thirty something churches and forty and fifty something churches. How can we confront the preferences and comforts towards sameness within a church culture by celebrating and promoting the diversity introduced in the mystery of the gospel (neither Jew nor Greek, male or female, slave or free)?
3) Leadership - Is the practice of simulcast preaching a healthy practice or a gospel-gap? Do we lack confidence in Christ being on display through the calling and training of young pastors to exposit scripture by putting notable pastors on display at multi-campuses? Simulcast preaching is on the rise and its popularity will continue. We need to ask now whether this is a healthy practice before it becomes the normal practice of the Church. Perhaps this practice is gospel centered. It does consolidate Church leadership towards trustworthy expositors like Chandler and Piper. However, how does one balance the impersonal nature of this practice?
4) Family - I really like how Creature considers how gospel-centeredness needs to be applied from the cradle to the senior ministry and I think that further discussion should take place concerning family ministry. For instance, is exclusive practice of ministry silos (children's, student, adult worship) a healthy practice or a gospel-gap? How do we balance the silos of generational ministry with the need for family ministry to take place? Families need to worship together with father's leading their family in ministry and worship. Male headship in the home suffers in the church. Overworked fathers struggle to prioritize and lead their family in worship while modeling gospel-mindedness to their wife and children. How are we doing at equipping these men to press into Christ and preach the gospel to their family daily?
Don't miss the opportunity to engage in the conversations that Creature will elicit. There will be a free simulcast for you or your church's pastoral staff to watch on October 23. There is also a DVD curriculum available for Creature that allows you to hear more from Chandler, Patterson, and Geiger. Pick up Creature of the Word: The Jesus Centered Church today and embrace the Jesus-centeredness, which emboldens His bride to embody the gospel.
Read more book reviews from Joey Cochran at jtcochran.com. You read this review because B&H said yes to my request for this book!
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