The book, as the title suggests, encourages churches in a city to work together in order to “transform” their city. I agree with many things in this book (as I will write about in a later review), and I think the author’s points about the kingdom being bigger than any particular localized and organized group of believers is a very important lesson for today’s church to learn and practice.
There is one point in this book that is causing me to struggle. Throughout the book, the authors call for churches to work together. In fact, one of the chapters is named “The Whole Church.” In that chapter, the authors point out that God sees the entire church in a city as a single church, even if they meet in various locations and at different times. They call for these different churches to put aside their differences and seek to serve others in their city in the name of Jesus.
But, this is where I’m concerned. In every example (unless I missed one), the authors describe church leaders (primarily “senior pastors”) getting together in order to work together. But, senior pastors are not the church in a city any more than a single localized, organized group of believers (local church) is the church in a city.
Why must we limit “working together” to pastors and other leaders?
Why not encourage all believers in the city to work together?
Instead of groups of pastors coming up with ideas to help the community, why not include the people that are actually in the community?
Encourage neighbors to work with other neighbors (who are part of different churches) in order to transform their neighborhoods. Encourage employees to work with other employees (who are part of different churches) in order to transform the people in their work places. Encourage students to work with other students (who are part of different churches) in order to transform other students in their schools.
I’ve noticed something similar in other books on this subject. Cooperation between local churches is almost always focused on pastors and other leaders working together. Then, each pastor/leader gets his or her people involved (if the pastor/leader so chooses).
It’s almost as if we do not trust the people to work together themselves. Perhaps there’s another reason that I’m missing.
What do you think?