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Church in Translation: Vibrant Christianity in Your Time & Place

Author: Dan Collison (with Shelly Barsuhn)
Published By: Abingdon Press (Nashville)
Pages: 222
Price: £9.89 (Kindle edition)
ISBN: 978 0 687 46516 3

Reviewed by Kim Hitch.

This book is about the Church in the USA, for the Church in the USA. Dan Collison is an American church leader of twenty years’ experience, and this book is his reflection on that experience in the context, as he sees it, of crisis and decline in the American church. The result is, on the one hand, a devotional book for church leaders with a clarion call for spiritual change and, on the other hand, a practical handbook. His main thrusts are that the (American) Church must cease isolating itself from its society, that we must understand and live out our faith within our context, and that Jesus is central always.

The book is very easy to read. To begin with, I felt that there was nothing new here, perhaps because the church in the UK has travelled further down the road of decline than its counterpart in the United States. However, staying with the book, I saw the response of a pastoral leader to the angst he perceives in his own church; it felt like peering in through a window, and what I saw was interesting. I had not expected to read about the church in the USA: “The bridge of communication between the church and our society has collapsed.” Consequently, to a degree, the book aids reflection on the church in the UK.

There are ten chapters: on the Bible, Prayer, the use of intellect (i.e. it’s a good idea!), community, collaborative leadership, creativity (in particular the Arts), Mission (mainly evangelism), Social Justice, Culture and Society, and Grace. Each chapter concludes with practical suggestions for church leadership to take things further with their own congregation.

I cannot say that the book is a ‘must’ to read but, if you’re interested in the church in the USA, or you would like a book to read with your colleagues in ministry this might suit you.

Ministry Today

You are reading Issue 60 of Ministry Today, published in April 2014.

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