The release of this book is so aptly timed as we are seeking to come back together in our churches after a long absence apart. I believe so many people are missing church life together right now. For many of us the church is a central part of our weekly existence. When we are not together we feel that deeply.
I also feel that there has been a very negative movement in recent years to pull away from worshiping together under the guise of “exvangelism” or “walking away.” The main complaint is how the church hurt them in some way. I realize some church leaders and members should walk away from the ministry because of their mishandling of the body of Christ. I know there are bad things and bad people out there. The problem is that it is a directive… we are called not to forsake being together. We need each other. One of the focuses of this book is to find that right place where you belong. A loving healthy growing body to be part of is a big deal. These negative situations are travesties that need to be remedied. The word “evangelism” means to spread the Good News of Christ and when you take the exvangelist attitude you walk away from the very directive God gives us in the Bible. You also walk away from the body and the faith that are given to us to push and guide us through this earthly life and into an eternal home with Christ. Find your home and then plug into those people.
Megan Hill’s words are comforting and encouraging and she has done a brilliant job of showing us what church should be even with it’s imperfect people. This book is a great addition to your spiritual reading on every level from ministry team to laypeople. It is loaded with scripture to get you into God’s word. Each chapter ends with an encouraging word of invitation. You will find a study guide at the end of the book, lots of notes and references for you to check out on your own and an extensive bibliography to read more on the topic. It would also be a fantastic book for a small study group or a church-wide read.
This book is about loving one another, sharing with one another the testimonies of our lives, and worshiping in spirit and truth together. It is about recognizing God’s design for his children. There are chapters on our individual role (gifting and service) in a church and how we can receive what we need from Christ as we serve Him and His people in a give and take setting. One of the most important realms of being a church together is to encourage one another in holiness and to give each other a safe place to land as a member of a spiritual family. We are also called to come together and then take Christ out into the world with us to share with those who do not know Him.
Is church perfect? No, but when we come together to know Him more we are bonded in a relationship with others of like mind in Christ even when we may not have other things in common outside of that bond. We get to practice being the church here in preparation for becoming His Bride for eternity.
As we spent two months away from each other through this shut down I missed all of those things. I missed the fellowship and the corporate worship. I missed sharing meals together and hearing other voices lifted in singing together. Video church and phone calls were just not always enough. God’s people were meant to be together and I hope, as you have learned to appreciate that a little more during this time, you will pick this book up and learn more about ways to be the family of God. It is an important aspect of who we are in Christ.
I received this book in digital format for review from Crossway Publishing. I was not required to read or review it. If you want to know more about Megan Hill and her mission to love the church you can check some articles by her at this Gospel Coalition page. Are you into podcasts? Check out the Crossway Podcast interview with Megan here. Let’s go forth and be the church God designed us to be.