Total Church: A Radical Reshaping Around Gospel and Community
How does your church measure up? Total Church pleads for two key principles for church and mission. First, the gospel as content: being word-centred (for the gospel is truth) and being mission-centred (for the gospel is truth to...
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How does your church measure up?
Total Church pleads for two key principles for church and mission. First, the gospel as content: being word-centred (for the gospel is truth) and being mission-centred (for the gospel is truth to be proclaimed). Secondly, the community as context: sharing our lives as Christians and offering a place of belonging to unbelievers.
Authors Tim Chester and Steve Timmis apply these principles to church planting, evangelism, apologetics, social involvement, leadership, discipleship, pastoral care, world mission and notions of success. They critique current trends within the church, arguing that emerging church movements are strong on community but weak on truth, while conservative evangelicalism is strong on truth but weak on community. Their call is a call for the best of both.
This is a timely and provocative book which deserves to be read and applied in many contexts.
'I am glad that this book is earthed and avoids the trap of dealing in theories that sound cool in a classroom but crash on the ground I love books that make me answer back like this one did. (Out loud on a plane as well. Quite embarrassing.)'
'An excellent book to give to your leaders.'
Peter J. Grainger
'Radical, punchy teaching that provokes, stimulates, challenges and inspires.'
'Passionate and insightful.'
"Church is not a meeting you attend or a place you enter," write pastors Tim Chester and Steve Timmis. "It's an identity that is ours in Christ. An identity that shapes the whole of life so that life and mission become 'total church.'" With that as their premise, they emphasize two overarching principles to govern the practice of church and mission: being gospel-centered and being community-centered. When these principles take precedence, say the authors, the truth of the Word is upheld, the mission of the gospel is carried out, and the priority of relationships is practiced in radical ways. The church becomes not just another commitment to juggle but a 24/7 lifestyle where programs, big events, and teaching from one person take a backseat to sharing lives, reaching out, and learning about God together.
In Total Church, Chester and Timmis first outline the biblical case for making gospel and community central and then apply this dual focus to evangelism, social involvement, church planting, world missions, discipleship, pastoral care, spirituality, theology, apologetics, youth and children's work. As this insightful book calls the body of Christ to rethink its perspective and practice of church, it charts a middle path between the emerging church movement and conservative evangelicalism that all believers will find helpful.
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Steve Timmis co-leads the Northern Cornhill Training Course and lectures in theology.
Dr Tim Chester is the pastor of Grace Church in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, UK, and is a faculty member at The Acts 29 Oak Hill Academy. He is part of the Crowded House, a church planting initiative in Sheffield, UK, and is founder and co-director of the Porterbrook Seminary, a college-level theological training and ministry institute. He was previously Research and Policy Director for Tearfund and tutor in missiology at Cliff College.
Tim is the author of over thirty books of theology and history, ranging from the popular to the specialised, including Mission and the Coming of God: Eschatology, the Trinity and Mission in the Theology of Jurgen Moltmann (Paternoster); The Message of Prayer (Inter-Varsity Press); From Creation to New Creation (Paternoster); Good News to the Poor (Inter-Varsity Press); Delighting in the Trinity (Monarch); The Busy Christians Guide to Busyness (Inter-Varsity Press); and You can change: God's transforming power for our sinful behaviour and negative emotions (Inter-Varsity Press).
Tim is co-author of The Gospel-Centered Church (The Good Book Co), The World We All Want (Authentic) and Total Church (Inter-Varsity Press) and series editor of The Good Book Guides.
Tim is married to Helen, and they have two daughters.