In 2008 I made a goal of reading an average of one book per week for the whole year. Since I’m not a natural speed reader like my oldest daughter, it took some time, but it was worth it. I repeated the goal in 2009 & 2010, but didn’t get anywhere close for a number of reasons. This year we’re giving it another shot. And while writing book reviews is not something I do all that well (I think they make me feel like I’m in middle school again…except without all the pimple this time) I thought I’d try to at least write a brief review of the majority of books I read.
The first book of 2011 was actually a book written in 2003, The Shaping of Things to Come, (Amazon.com Affiliate Link) by Michael Frost & Alan Hirsch. I actually picked it up to read after hearing Gary Best (national director of Vineyard in Canada) mention it during a webinar on centered sets.
This is the second book by Frost that I’ve read, and in both of them, there is a lot that I love. The Shaping of Things to Come deals with stuff like being a centered set rather than a bounded set organization; with being incarnational; with looking at life from a holistic rather than a dualistic point of view.
And with each of these topics, there are dealt with as though they are core issues for churches to wrestle with, rather than as tangential to what we do as church…these things actually matter…a lot. In fact there is so much in the book that I can point to & say, “if you’re looking for a good solid explanation of why our church works as it does, read this book.” (we’ll have copies in the bookstore soon.) Since we are in the middle of a message series on outreach/evangelism, this’d be a great book to be reading along as we go along.
Probably the biggest disagreement I have with The Shaping of Things to Come, is their discussion on being attractional or missional as a local church. While much of their book is about getting rid of “either/or” thinking, they very clearly pick a side when it comes to being missional or attractional. So, while I’m not ready to throw out the attractional aspect of the local church, I think this is another area where we need to live in some tension and attempt to be missional and attractional.
If you’ve read the book, or if you have some thoughts on the bounded versus centered set discussion we had on Sunday, I’d love to hear from you.