The authors of Total Church, Tim Chester & Steve Timmis brought us their ideas of Everyday Church. The (2011) was subtitled Mission by being good neighbours, the US September 30, 2012 release has Gospel Communities on Mission as a subtitle. Pick your favorite after reading 🙂 First the bad news: Christians are increasingly aware that we live in a post-Christian culture. And if not, the authors do their best to show you by the numbers and percentages. As Christians in the Western countries, we’re marginalized. We recognize the need to adapt, but are unsure of the way forward. What if programs, 12-steps courses, small groups, bible study, seeker-sensitive churches, in other words “better products” don’t attract people? Change leadership? Concentrate on pastoral care for members? Missions only?
Everyday Church offers practical ideas for engaging with secularized society. Be there and be yourself. Communities, interaction and a church life without too much energy spent on the Sunday morning services. No more Christian subculture, but visible Christians fully engaged with their neighbours.
The authors organized their book around a missional reading of 1 Peter. The churches to which Peter wrote faced a similar situation, but Peter doesn’t offer sympathy. He encourages them to be faithful 24/7 in community, pastoral care, mission and evangelism. Then, there’s hope in the margins. But, don’t forget: there will be trials and persecutions, just like our first century brothers and sisters encountered.
The authors think an Everyday Church is achievable. It may never perfectly match the biblical ideal, because the church is made up of people who, though saved by grace, continue to struggle with sin. God doesn’t call us to mediocrity, nor does He call us to be a community on mission and then mock our failures. Chester & Timmis are reluctant to present The Crowded House as a showcase, because their message is about the biblical principle of an Everyday Church, not a template or success formula to be copied.