I am privileged to have been part of the Your Church Is Too Safe blog tour from Zondervan. This is the latest book from Mark Buchanan who has written a number of books, and pastors a church in western Canada, he has a real passion for the local church.
Mark begins the introduction acknowledging his boredom with the church as it currently is and recognizing that he’s likely not alone in this boredom. He asks
What happened? When did we start making it our priority to be safe instead of dangerous, nice instead of holy, cautious instead of bold, self-absorbed instead of counting everything loss in order to be found in Christ? (p. 9)
It’s not that Buchanan sets out to say all churches are getting it wrong and are self-absorbed, and he’s certainly not saying we should all be out on the streets passing out Bible tracts (in fact he spends some time suggesting that tracts are not really a very great evangelism technique.) Rather, today’s western church has lost its momentum.
What follows, then, are 18 chapters of pleas, stories, examples, and explanations of what it means to be the true church of Jesus Christ. Buchanan shares with us how Christ makes all things new, how Jesus calls us to trust and work for healing and reconciliation and forgiveness and love, and how this will get us into trouble.
Buchanan has a fantastic way with words, weaving scripture, personal stories and anecdotes together. There are times when you want to argue with him but when you dig a little deeper, you normally find it is your motive that is the problem, looking for a safe comfortable faith.
The book does not follow a set outline or path, but meanders through Mark’s reflections on the church as it is, and the church as it could and should be. There’s no agenda in the book, other than to encourage churches to do a better job of being the church. Whilst I could appreciate his passion I found the seeming lack of logic quite frustrating.