I’ve not done book reviews in a long time. But since I’ve been wanting our church to improve our community outreach and strengthen the bonds among our church members, the desire for change has been chasing me. I want so much. I want a tight knit church family. I want a welcoming atmosphere for members and visitors. I want our community to know who we are and have a favorable opinion of us. I want to influence those around us.
I want it all.
Mark, my DH would say to me, “How’s it feel to want?”
I am never satisfied unless I’m moving forward, seeing results, and/or seeing victory on the horizon. I want more!
When I was approached to do a book review on Lessons from the East, I was curious after I read the synopsis. I accepted because it was along the line of what I’ve been searching out. Church polity. Ministry outreach. Church unity. The Great Commission. It’s all linked.
Yet, in many churches the links have been broken or are rusted.
Bob Roberts Jr. in the book Lessons from the East shares with us his approach. Some will think it’s “out there” because it’s pretty radical – different from what we are doing (or maybe I should say, “not doing”).
He suggests that we here in the western world focus too much on the wrong things: self promotion, numbers (competition among churches), our Sunday morning presentation, separation, etc. We take these things and place such a high importance on them that they overshadow our real purpose – to glorify God to the world.
His radical way of reaching out to people needs to be investigated and much of what he says evaluated and implemented here in our home churches. He formed a world wide group of ministers who want to reach their area like those in the East – befriend all men and bridge the gap that has become so wide that we no longer have any influence.
We need to do something! Regardless of how we agree or disagree with Mr. Roberts, we know our outreach ministries are not impacting our communities like they should.
We need change and we need it now.
I don’t agree 100% with his opinions or methods, but that is the beauty of what he suggests. True believers with differing opinions are still in the same fold and should not isolate themselves or shun others who are different out of fear. Nor should we fear those of other faiths. How do we let God’s light shine through us if we hide away in our church buildings afraid of being “tainted”? If our faith is solid, which it should be, then who or what is there to fear?
Let’s befriend all men and allow God to love them through us.
I recommend this book – not because I agree with Mr. Roberts 100% but because we need to take a fresh look at how we are ministering to those around us and what our true purpose is. It’s time for change – not in doctrine but in its practical application.