Put service back into the church service by Jeremy Myers (Book Review)
This is possibly one of the most thought provoking and challenging books I have read in a while. The title of the book itself had my attention, because I agree that there is little service left in the church. I am always looking to learn from others perspectives so as to correct the ills in my own ways and also to be able to impart the good things that I learn to others. I’ll attempt to review this book chapter by chapter, if I am successful you will be on your way to get a copy.
Cancel Your Church service
Yes this chapter actually suggests the ridiculous thing that the title says, to “Cancel the church service”. In this chapter Jeremy explains why we ought to cancel the church service in order to actually be able to serve. His perspective is so well explained that I was convicted throughout this chapter. I have always been of a similar opinion, well not as bold as his is. As rightly pointed out in this book cancelling church service would potentially put the pastor out of a job as we know it. This is even more beautiful coming from a former pastor himself. Jeremy suggests that by cancelling church service we would potentially allow people to actually go out there and serve. Which would in fact bring “service back into church service.” A great analogy in this book is that of a Christian on her way to a church service when they receive a call for help from a neighbour. Would they go on to church and come back and see the neighbour afterwards? Or would they forget about church service for that day and go out and serve this neighbour? What touched me most about this point is that I was actually able to replay one moment where I picked “church service” over actually serving. It was not a particular emergency but does someone have to have an emergency for us to go out and serve them? As Jeremy clearly explains that our great commission from Christ is to “Go out there and serve.”
Do not forsake the assembling
I guess to silence the critics whose valid point would have been that there is a need for assembling as believers. What we as believers often forget is that the church is not the building but the people who come together. Jeremy explains how more effective it would be if we as believers would spend less time bundled together and more time reaching out and loving those in our sphere of influence. I have personally been of the opinion that the issue we as a body have is that we present our love as a trade. Come to my church and we’ll pray for you. Give to my church and we’ll pray for you. Come to my church and we’ll try and get you a job. Jeremy point out how extremely low the church’s conversion rate was, and how we constantly “recycled” believers. We have many believers moving from one congregation or denomination to another and very very few new believers actually coming to the knowledge of Christ. Why then are so much of our resources used for evangelism? With such a low success rate there is surely something not right.
What about training
A lot of our gathering in church are always this and that form of training. The issue Jeremy raises is that we have believers being constantly trained at very high financial costs and seldom do they actually get the chance to go out there and use these skills that they learn. Jesus did not give his disciples any form of formal training. He took them out with his and they learned on the job. There were explanations here and there after they had had an experience. This is the method that today’s church should adopt in order to see more success.
He also speaks of the need to get rid of church programmes. These programs often become a hindrance to the move of God himself, as they are man-made programs. Any form of church program should have an expiry date. This allows for re-evaluation of circumstances and evaluation of success or failure of this program.
Each of chapter starts with a quote that sums what the chapter is going to speak of. Some of my favourites are
1: “I would rather feel compassion than know the meaning of it.”-Thomas Aquinas
This in my humble opinion sums up the need for training on the job, as many know these things in theory as the church trains them but are never really ready in practice.
2: “The more organisation you bring to church life, the less life it will contain”– Wayne Jacobsen
This also sums up the fact that the more we as humans put into organising the church the less room we give the spirit of God to manoeuvre.
This is a well written book which will challenge and question every reader. I recommend it to you all. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and have gone on to getting the rest of Jeremy Myers’ books. He gives them free to his mailing list as they are released. Head over to his blog and find out more about this man and his books. You will be offended, challenged and most of all you will learn quite a lot.