Michael Moynagh – Monarch Books – 2014 – ISBN: 978-0-85721-493-5
Our western church society faces a crossroads. A pioneer vision for church exists in the hearts of many men and women who find themselves in a difficult place. They want and need to belong to the church universal. They find value in gathering with other followers of Christ. However, the organized church seems to have brought them to place where they cannot connect in everyday life. Being Church, Doing Life by Michael Moynagh serves the church universal by telling this story.
This story seems to be growing and changing. Individuals find others who want to share the gospel together and they join in to form spiritual communities. These communities tend to remain unconnected from a denomination or from an established church. I believe this happens because denominations and established churches have not found a way to value or connect. It seems to be exploding and expanding where people catch a vision for spiritual communities and doing life together.
Strengths of this book:
1. This book tells real life stories. I think one of the greatest strengths of this book lies in the use of real stories. Often, the stories were very simple. It helps someone who thinks my contribution is so small to really be able to grasp how easy the principles of spiritual communities can be. For example, the story on page 186 is six lines long. However, it gives real insight into how this process works.
2. This book connects principles to everyday life. The three principles this book posits as missing from the traditional church are
- community – life shared with others
- visibility – Church is right here on people’s turf
- activity communities witness as a group. They do life and activity together.
Often these three things are missing from church. People come and have no way to connect. The church stays within the four walls of the church. They are never together in a meaningful way which transforms someones life. This book helps to connect these for people who may not have thought about church in these terms before.
3. This book envisions a different future for the church. Often, people give you vision statements. They have a platitude or something to say which does not help. Michael gives you more of an envisioned statement. He tries to show you through the stories embedded but more important his writing style allows you to access the ideas easily. He helps by defining terms and giving
I only see one weakness for this concept and book. For the suburban American church, this movement is hard to envision. Being Church is written from a perspective which doesn’t encompass my life. As a pastor trying to organize people, this book seems to advocate for a type of church which runs counter to what my church experiences week in and week out. I do believe God is doing something different on a larger scale for the people Michael describes.
However, I believe God has always done things within the context of the local church. Kids come to Wednesday night service to learn about Christ. Youth meet to learn the Bible and be prepared for the future. I know he described how a church can encourage people in their everyday life to do ministry together where people are. He addresses denominational and church leaders and how we can encourage people come to communities not necessarily our church to know Christ. I guess I thought I was already doing it.
I highly recommend you read this book even if you don’t agree with Michael’s view of church, you can definitely find God at work in what is happening. It took me a couple of weeks of intense reading to finish. Time well spent.
You can get more information on Michael or his ministry by clicking on the links. I would also recommend checking out Soma Church in Tacoma, Washington or Adullam in Denver, Colorado. I would also recommend paring this book with T4T.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher Lion Hudson and Kregel Publications through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”