Book Review: Church Actually | Global Connections

Book Review: Church Actually

Rediscovering the brilliance of God’s plan
By Gerard Kelly

Church attendance in the West has declined in recent years, but not because of a lack of interest in spirituality. There has been a boom in spiritual exploration - just often without the church. Can we break out of the greyness of our church experience to discover the riot of colour God intended? Is there a route back to the brilliance of God’s plan?

This book is a marvellous picture of the church as God has always planned it. Throughout, Gerard explores the essence of the church, rather than being fixated on models and methodology. For me, that made the book both refreshing and challenging.

To quote from the introduction: “The emphasis of the New Testament points both inwards to the health and strength of the community, and outwards to engagement with those outside its walls.” Gerard focuses throughout the book on each of these competing forces, and concludes that they are not mutually exclusive. Indeed one must feed the other.  Both our discipleship within the church community and in mission are at the very heart of the church.

The last few chapters are particularly inspiring, painting what is now a truly global church, comprising all nations, ethnicities and cultures. There is no human culture to which Christ’s story does not bring fulfilment and hope – and perhaps that includes western culture as well!

Gerard’s style is easy to read, yet at the same time covers deep truths and issues. Each chapter is short and punchy, yet not shallow. He paints colourful pictures and images in both prose and occasional poetry, deeply challenging the church to discover its real purposes. I continue to reflect on how it can help me in my church leadership role to help us to become the church God wants us to be.

Review by Martin Lee, Director of Global Connections