This week’s book of the week is Stop Dating the Church!: Fall In Love with the Family of God. This small book by Joshua Harris is full of sweet goodness. While Harris is a great writer, this book is a critical read for many people. Many people (especially college students) have a tendency to church hop or church shop or date the church without having any type of commitment.
We have diluted “church” into something you attend rather than something of which you are. You are a part of it, you don’t go to it. As an encouragement to others, don’t waste your life dating the church. Get married. Find a local congregation, settle down, and live life with them. If for no other reason than that is Jesus’ desire.
Top 5 Ideas:
- “Can you spot what I’m calling a church-dater? Here’s a quick profile…First, your attitude toward church tends to be me-centered…A second sign of a church-dater is being independent…Most esentially, a church-dater tends to be critical” (16-17).
- “Is it possible that God didn’t get His inspiration for loving the Church from marriage, but that one reason God created marriage was to illustrate His love for the Church?” (30).
- Quoting from Charles Spurgeon: “What is a brick made for? To help build a house. It is of no use for that brick to tell you that it is just as good a brick while it is kicking about on the ground as it would be in the house. It is a good-for-nothing brick. So you rolling-stone Christians, I do not believe that you are answering your purpose. You are living contrary to the life which Christ would have you live, and you are much to blame for the injury you do” (46).
- “…when we’re passionate, we want to sign up. We want to belong, to be identified as members…You need to officially join–become a member–so that the pastors and others there know you’re part of the team” (67).
- “But no matter what we do for a living–whether we’re a plumber, a politician, or a CEO–we’re called to bring our whole selves into our church family. Instead of being an afterthought, investing our abilities to honor and glorify God in our church should come first” (72).
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
2 thoughts on “Book of the Week: Stop Dating the Church!”
Although Harris has plenty of good things to say in his book there are a few weaknesses, especially reading it from a non-American non-Mega Church perspective. While you read the book you must keep in mind that Harris leads what would be classified by our standards here in Wales as a ‘mega-church’, he is the Pastor of Covenant Life Church, the founding church of Sovereign Grace Ministries, in Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA. It is obvious that Harris has never come face to face with some of the main problems a lot if not most Christians face. This is no criticism on Harris, it’s just a warning to those who would be tempted to apply his words exactly as they read in the book to their own specific situation. One must contextualize. He comes to the subject with a blank page and therefore gives no advice to those of us who’s got a page blotted already with nonconformist scribbles; i.e. the legacy of Christendom.
Despite the weaknesses and the US culture-specific aspects of his narrative I would strongly recommend this book especially if your interested in Church renewal.
Good thought, Rhys. It’s very easy for authors to speak to their own circumstances. The most important thing is to get involved in a local church. If Christ died for her, then Christians must be a part of her.
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