12/02/2009

Get the most out of church! (by Sheena Gillies)

I have never previously heard of Sheena Gillies, and she didn't have much of a web presence either.  But she was part of the Evangelical Alliance UK board when I first researched her name.

So she was sound, theologically speaking, and knew what she's talking about. I didn't know that, however, when I bought 'Get the most out of church!' - but it was 50p, in the bargain bin of a local Christian bookshop, about ten years ago. It's sat on our shelves since then, and I thought it about time I read it.

There was very little that I disagreed with in this book. It's a fairly light read, written in the early 1990s, explaining the purpose of both the worldwide church and the local congregations.

All very sound and good. Unfortunately it makes some assumptions about the need for attending Sunday services which have no basis in Scripture, as far as I can tell, and rather misses the point of the many thousands of Christian believers who are not, currently, part of a church congregation. But perhaps that phenomenon was less obvious in 1992.

Although it was an easy read, I found it annoying since it was packed full of exclamation marks, almost every other sentence ending with one. A minor quibble, perhaps, but I thought it a pity the editor didn't spot that before it was published.

It's not a bad book for someone wondering why the church exists at all, or wanting to know what Christian fellowship and community is about. But I didn't think it much use from the perspective of those who are simply bored or fed up with local congregations and Sunday services, and have more constructive ways to meet with other believers and worship God outside of a traditional (or even non-traditional) 'church setting'.

Unsurprisingly, it's now out of print. For anyone struggling with church issues, I'd recommend either Philip Yancey's 'Church: why bother?' or - for the other side of the coin - Jake Colson's 'So you don't want to go to Church any more?'

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 12th February 2009

No comments: