I love how God leads me to books. It has happened regularly for decades. I feel like I’m on God’s reading program.
About a week ago I was walking in Glascow, Kentucky and saw a Salvation Army Thrift Store that I didn’t know existed. I went in there and came across several books that confirm what I’ve been writing about church for the past several years. I wrote a blog about one of those books, Church Meetings That Matter.
Yesterday I went to Book Cellar in Crossville, Tennessee and found a few more books confirming my thoughts about church. Here are a few quotes from the books from those two places:
“The church as Christ formed it long ago, was not a crowd watching a performance, but persons engaged in a ministry to other persons.” –Elton Trueblood, The Future Of The Christian Church, 1971
“Church is a community animated in some degree by Christ’s Spirit.” –Howard H. Brinton, Evolution and the Inward Light, 1970
“All the parts of the body are needed for the body to function well. Christ talked a lot to His disciples about not wanting the preeminent position but being willing to serve. It’s all for God’s glory and we’re all working together. There seems to be a constant emphasis on how everyone has a part.” –Tony Dungy, Teamwork, 2009
“I want the leadership of our church to be about creating an atmosphere, an environment where people can fall in love with Jesus. I don’t want technicians who can run a program. I want agents of love who will spread the life of the Holy Spirit through out the church.” –Jim Kallam, Jr., Risking Church, 2003
“To squelch the life out of a group; dominate the group from the beginning. Establish yourself as the authority on all matters that may come before the group. Make all the basic decisions yourself, while giving the impression of a democratic spirit to the group members. Pay no attention to the needs and interests of the group members. Most people don’t know what is best for them anyhow . . . Establish yourself as the teacher of the group and deliver a learned lecture at each meeting.” –Clyde Reid, Groups Alive, Church Alive, 1969
“Any church that is alive is so because God is its Life, acting within it in the present. The Holy Spirit is more than a doctrine; He is God in Christ alive, active, and at work . . . The tendency of the church is to identify itself with its outward forms which have not the presence and power of God in them. Often our preaching witnesses to what God has done in the past but neglects what He does in the present. Doctrinal preaching and teaching of the Word are often divorced from the deed and truth . . . that continues to be at work through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.” –Joseph W. Knowles, Group Counseling, 1964
“True Christian leadership sets others free to minister with their gifts. It does not dominate or hold on to the opportunities for ministry. It is looking constructively for ways others can develop and grow. It is prepared to stand down — to be stood down — in favor of another.” “Jesus never pulled rank. He never took refuge in status. He rejected any concept of hierarchy and taught His friends bluntly and uninhibitedly to do the same.” –David Prior, Creating Community–An Every-Member Approach To Ministry In The Local Church, 1992
“It is our life, shared with the lives of others, that creates the webs that form the mystery of community.” –Jeff Imbach