Every Day Church is a practical and challenging call to live out the Gospel in Community. Chester and Timmis use the book of 1 Peter as their plot line for this book.
The Chapters include; Life at the Margins (1:1-12), Everyday Community (1:13-2:8), Everyday Pastoral Care (1:22-2:3), Everyday Mission (2:9-3:16), Everyday Evangelism (3:15-16), Hope at the Margins (3:8-5:14).
Chester & Timmis argue that 21st century Christianity is similar to 1st century Christianity in that we are at odds with the prevailing culture, we are strangers to the ways of the world and if we really live out the high calling of Jesus we will most likely face questions as to what we are doing (and why?) as well as persecution.
As the authors argue, we cannot be content with programs, buildings and a “build it and they will come” attitude. More and more Americans are growing up with no biblical literacy and no understanding of the Jesus of the Bible. We must go out to them and meet them where they are.
Living the Gospel for Chester and Timmis seems to boil down to properly understanding the Gospel and its implications for everyday living and the uber important concept of Christian community.
While this book may be considered part of the missional church/church planting spectrum I would argue that Chester and Timmis go beyond that. Yes, they give biblical understanding to those ideas but they do so much more and that is why I heartily recommend the book.
As I was reading last night, I realized this is a commentary on 1 Peter (I need to re-file where it is in my library!). However, by about half to three quarters of the way through the book I had to stop again and say – wait this is Biblical Counseling. Yes the book is a top read because it combines exegesis, commentary and application of 1 Peter with real Biblical Counseling in addition to being a manual on community, discipleship and church planting.
The Chapter “Everyday Pastoral Care” is worth the price of the book (as are several other chapters!). In this chapter five principles of community-based, gospel-centered, mutual pastoral care are explained.
1. We pastor one another in everyday life
2. We pastor one another in community
3. We pastor one another over a lifetime
4. We pastor one another with grace
5. We pastor one another with good news
The beauty of this chapter is the challenge, not to dispense with ‘the Pastor’ but to realize that we are all called to ‘pastor’ each other, to be a regular part of each others lives – challenging and equipping one another in love (deep love).
Additionally, four liberating truths are presented (these alone are food for life). Because we tend to regularly exchange the truth of God for a lie (Romans 1:24-25) we must be constantly reminded that;
1. God is great, so we do not have to be in control.
2. God is glorious, so we do not have to fear others.
3. God is good, so we do not have to look elsewhere.
4. God is gracious, so we do not have to prove ourselves.
The following indicators of our tendency to violate these principles are outlined below.
The Chapter on Everyday Mission challenges us to get out into the world and interact with our neighbors and make new relationships. Go for a walk and talk to someone, invite people over for dinner (not just your Christian friends).Ten questions are provided to help us evaluate ourselves in this area.
The Chapter Everyday Evangelism provides a very helpful and much needed method of re-thinking our approach to bringing people to Christ. For people who have no understanding of the degree to which they are separated from God, but do recognize the struggles in life, Chester and Timmis provide a framework based on Creation (My Identity), Fall (My problem), Redemption (My solution), Consumation (My hope) in which they provide examples to re-orient our thinking to better understand what is really going on under the surface of peoples lives (and our own) as we cry out in frustration, usually demonstrating false views of Creation, Fall, Redemption and Consummation.
This paradigm is then connected with the Liberating Truths prevented early, demonstrating the wholeness and Gospel contentedness of this approach and the book in general.
If we want to see a movement of God in America in the 21st century then we must get back to basics – genuine understanding of the Gospel and its implications for how we live life, daily community where we help each other grow in Christ, public not private demonstrations of Christianity, all driven by a deep love – first for Christ and then for others.
Great book! Read it and then Practice it!