I ordered this book after we did a group reading plan of the book of Acts with my Church Life Group over the summer, and this popped up as an advert in my Facebook feed: it seemed like it was placed there for a reason!
Written by the vicar of Christchurch in Armley, it’s a great book filled with insight on the book of Acts and how we can apply it to helping the undervalued and underappreciated in our communities.
“Luke asks the question: how can we claim to be in Christ Jesus united by the Spirit, if some of our members suffer because of poverty, lack of opportunity or don’t have food on their plates? How can we see ourselves as brothers and sisters in Christ if some are homeless, while others have so much? The early church forfeited their own comfort and ownership of property for the common good.”
Each chapter of the book is centered around one chapter of Acts and filled with challenges to our comfortable lives, giving us plenty to think about what our responses should be.
“The challenge is to bring about change creatively, not being afraid of adapting, being wiling to take risks and move forward in the Holy Spirit’s power. Change is not easy to manage, and congregations often do not like change. It takes time to transform the culture of a church: patience will be needed. Having a clear vision, a mission statement and knowing which direction we are going sets us well on the road to recovery.”
A lot of the book seemed to tie in very well with things we’ve been talking and thinking about at my Church recently, in particular how we can be more outward facing to our community and help those who are feeling broken by life.
“In short, God’s church is for all God’s people. It expresses the kingdom values of justice, mercy and acceptance. It should be a reflection of heaven, where God’s rule has finally broken in. It should be a place where there is no more poverty, pain, suffering, inequality, where all races live together in peace, women and men, there are no marginalised people or groups, no hunger, sickness or depression”.
After feeling like I was ‘meant’ to buy the book on seeing the advert, I truly feel like this book came into my life at a great time. So much of what I was reading felt like a direct challenge to myself, and I have so much to think about. I’m very lucky to worship in a more affluent church, but reading so many stories of great things coming from inner city churches was so inspiring.
“Each of us is called to be Jesus’ agent of grace, to be willing to venture towards the people he draws us to, in order to help them find life-transforming love, acceptance and security”.
I will whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone and everyone, I feel like if more people read this book and felt compelled to take action from it, we could truly transform the society we live in.