I read Total Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis’ whilst in Suffolk. Chester and Timmis make a compelling argument for far more cross cultural mission to the working class, benefit class and unskilled immigrant population of inner city Britain. They paint a bleak picture of a largely ghettoised middle-class church in Britain from their perspective of church planting in inner city Sheffield.
Much of what they write strikes a chord with the way I’ve seen things from Blakenhall. Themes I found helpful included:
- The gospel of substitutionary atonement and gospel community are as inseparable as fire from burning, they are inextricably connected.
- British churches are largely middle class ghettos which have failed to reach the working class and by doing so have emptied the cross of its power.
- The smaller the church group the greater the relational cohesion between, and mission effectiveness of, its members.
- Event driven churches are passée and ineffective, much more energy should be invested in teaching the bible relationally, that is 1-2-1 and in small groups.
- 1000 teenagers leave the church in the UK every week. Our youth need small group bible study in a setting where they mix with a few godly role models who care for them and provide a stepping stone into grown up church.
If you would like an overview, Michael Jensen has written a review of Total Church and I’ll blog a bit on things I liked in the days ahead…