“Why church matters” by Joshua Harris is a 140 page book made up of 7 chapters addressing the issue of the local church and why becoming a passionate, committed, member of the local body is important.
In chapter 1 the author speaks about his past experiences going to church and how he felt about it at one time. He also begins to discuss what the rest of the book will be about and uses the idea of a relationship to relate how many people flirt with the church but are not committed or passionate about the local church. He speaks about people dating the church and encourages people instead to “marry the church”.
In chapter 2 he relates how he felt at his own weeding and how he feels about his bride walking down the aisle and then relates that to how Christ feels about his bride, the church. He also states the goal of the book on page 21 where he says “My goal in this book is to help you get connected and committed to a solid local church.”
He also makes some comments on denominations and how different denominations can be “united” by holding to the major things (doctrines) that really matter and having an attitude of grace on those things that don’t matter but of course there are different denominations because they don’t see things the same and/or hold certain doctrines to be essential while others see them as secondary and nonessential. The good news here is he doesn’t really get too involved with this and so we can simply read through this section without paying too much attention to it.
I do like what he says on page 30 concerning the love Jesus has for the church. He says “If Jesus loves the church, you and I should, too.” I agree and there is way too much church bashing going on by those in the church. Really good point, I though.
In chapter 3 he discuss the attitude many have today about going to a local church. Many people feel that they can be Christians and worship God on their own and never be part of a local body. It’s as if they think the local church was invented by men and not a God ordained institution. The author shows that this is simply wrong and unbiblical. On page 40 he says this “The longer I’m a Christian the more aware I become that I cannot live the Christian life on my own.”
In chapter 4 he deals with passion and commitment and tells the story of a man he knows who is a Christian but this man loves his Jeep and even joined a “Jeep club”. He tells how this man spent all his time thinking about and doing things with his Jeep and the Jeep club. The author points out that the things we talk about and are consumed with are the things we have passion for and are committed to. He urges us to have passion and commitment for the local church and then goes on to give suggestions on how to cultivate this.
Chapter 5 is all about what to look for in a local church. For example he says to seek out a church “…where God’s word is faithfully taught…” and another question to ask is “Is this a church that is willing to kick me out?” and of course that question has to do with leadership holding people accountable and not allowing open sin to go unchecked.
Chapter 6 was an interesting chapter dealing with how to make Sunday the best day of the week. On page 94 he says “My premise in this chapter is that you and I are very likely to be missing out on God’s best for the day (Sunday) unless we learn to build our week around Sunday, and not the other way around.”He goes on to suggest some ways in which we might prepare to worship and enjoy Sunday. One suggestion he gives is to turn the TV off on Saturday night and to read the scriptures and pray so we prepare our hearts and our minds for the following day. I liked this suggestion and will give serious consideration to it.
Chapter 7 is simply the concluding thoughts of the author and his wrapping up the book.
In the end I enjoyed reading this book. It’s small and easy to read. I spent one afternoon reading it. There are some issues related to worship and doctrine that I didn’t agree with or that weren’t given a very full discussion but this isn’t a book that is really dealing with those subjects so I found it easy to read through and not get bogged down with those issues. He simply doesn’t spend a lot of time talking about those other things.
So, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone who has had a bad experience with a local church and now doesn’t attend or to the person who simply thinks they don’t need the local church and can go it alone. I also think that anyone who is already attending a local church can gain some wonderful insights or maybe a renewed respect and appreciation for the local church.
A great book reminding us “why church matters”.
You can buy it here or here
Disclosure of Material: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”