Total Church (Re:Lit) [eBook]
A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community
“Church is not a meeting you attend or a place you enter,” write pastors Tim Chester and Steve Timmis. “It’s an identity that is ours in Christ. An identity that shapes the whole of life so that life and mission become ‘total church.'” With that as their premise, they emphasize two overarching principles to govern the practice of church and mission: being gospel-centered and being community-centered. When these principles take precedence, say the authors, the truth of the Word is upheld, the mission of the gospel is carried out, and the priority of relationships is practiced in radical ways. The church becomes not just another commitment to juggle but a 24/7 lifestyle where programs, big events, and teaching from one person take a backseat to sharing lives, reaching out, and learning about God together.
In Total Church, Chester and Timmis first outline the biblical case for making gospel and community central and then apply this dual focus to evangelism, social involvement, church planting, world missions, discipleship, pastoral care, spirituality, theology, apologetics, youth and children’s work. As this insightful book calls the body of Christ to rethink its perspective and practice of church, it charts a middle path between the emerging church movement and conservative evangelicalism that all believers will find helpful.
TIM CHESTER and STEVE TIMMIS are cofounders of the Crowded House, a church-planting initiative in Sheffield, UK, and codirectors of the Porterbrook Network, which trains and mentors church planters. Chester has 15 years’ experience in church planting, and Timmis previously directed Radstock Ministries, a mission agency facilitating the involvement of the local church in world mission. This is their third book together.
“In an age of ambiguity and apathy for the church, Total Church accurately and insightfully identifies the local church as a gospel community on mission with Jesus.”
—Mark Driscoll, Founding Pastor, Mars Hill Church, Seattle Washington; Founder, Resurgence; Co-founder, Acts 29; author, Death by Love
“Challenging, passionate and insightful. Here is a vision of a whole-life, whole-mission ‘Total Church’ that embraces both gospel and community.”
—Chris Stoddart, Director, Reaching The Unchurched Network
“Here is radical, punchy teaching that provokes, stimulates, challenges, and inspires.”
—Vaughan Roberts, Rector of St Ebbe’s, Oxford, England; Director, The Proclamation Trust; author, God’s Big Picture
“Total Church digs deep and provides a solid biblical foundation for what it advocates. The argument of the book is very compelling and at the same time very practical.”
—David W. Jones, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, Coordinator of ThM and Thesis Studies, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; author, Reforming the Morality of Usury
“Written not by armchair experts but by hands-on practitioners, Total Church explores what it means in practice to be both gospel-centered and community-centered. This would be an excellent book to give to your leaders, and to the wider church membership, to provoke discussion and prompt change.”
—Peter J. Grainger, Senior Minister, Charlotte Chapel, Edinburgh
“Reformed theology and new ways of being church are often regarded as incompatible notions. In this book Tim Chester and Steve Timmis aim to bring the two together in a way that they believe will help church leaders identify ways of relating a conservative theology to the culture, without compromising dearly held principles.”
—John Drane, Freelance Consultant to churches in the UK; Professor of Practical Theology, Fuller Seminary, California