Why Church Matters: Discovering Your Place in the Family of God
Should I stick with her, fly solo, or find something new? This sounds like the mind of a middle school student struggling with relationships. The sad part about this question is its commonality in the minds of many. A reality that is present in both early teen relationships and many of those who profess to be Christian and with their relationship to the church. We all know people who “date the church.” In Joshua Harris’s book Why Church Matters (previously titled Stop Dating the Church), Harris makes a plea with Christians to stop “Dating the Church.”Throughout scripture there is a persistent illustration used to describe Christ’s relationship with the church and Yahweh’s relationship with Israel. The illustration that is used is one which describes the relationship as a marriage. Harris begins the book by describing a wedding day. When the bride is revealed and all are gazing upon her beauty, No one present can deny her affection for her spouse as she approaches him. Does this affection describe your feelings towards the church? Ephesians 5:1 calls us to be imitators of God. Paul’s commands within this chapter do not end there. At the end of Ephesians 5 Paul calls men to sacrificially love their spouses as Christ does the church. If Christ’s love extends to the point of death for the church, should our passions and heart not be for the church be likewise? Our love for the church should imitate that of Christ’s. In an individualistic society, that sees a relationship with Christ as individualistic and isolated, Harris calls us to pour our lives into the church. A personal relationship with Christ is one which is passionate about communion and fellowship with the saints. A personal relationship with Christ is not one which is personal to the extent that it is devoid of the local body. Harris additionally correctly points out that if the church is central to God’s purpose in scripture, it must certainly be ours as well. As believers we desperately need the church. Harris explains this necessity when he says, “sanctification is a community project.” The church plays a vital role in our sanctification (e.g. Col 3:16). Next, Harris offers 10 helpful points to help those looking for a church. Finally, Harris concludes with two chapters on what one can do in order to get more out of their Sunday services. First, prepare for Sunday. Those who get the most enjoyment out of sports, practice and prepare for games. Likewise, those who prepare for services get more out of the service and enjoy it more. Next, Harris’ makes a plea for others to start paying more attention to how they listen. More often than not we find ourselves with our minds on afternoon lunch rather than meeting with the God of the universe. Harris argues that in order to get more out of Sundays we need to pay more attention to how we pay attention. Finally, Harris argues that you should immediately start applying what you have heard after the services. Do not give you mind a chance to forget what you have heard. Immediately after the service ends, start asking yourself, “How should my life change in light of what God has said?”
I thoroughly enjoyed Harris’s book. I think his message, is a message that the modern church is in desperate need of hearing. Harris’s book attacks church hopping, those who are present but do not own the mission of the church, and those who believe that they are fine without the church. I love Joshua Harris’ writing style. I think Harris is one of the few writes who are really good at using stories to make theological arguments. The book is simple enough for a teenager, yet challenging enough for any aged Christian. The book is not very long and has large print. If you have someone in mind that does not enjoy reading, but you want to get them excited about the church and theology, this is the book. Buy this book and share with others!
Publisher: Waterbrook Multnomah
Publication Date: 2011
Binding Type: Paperback
Book Grade: A
For the best price on this book click here or click on the book image at the top of the page