I saw Christopher B. James one night on my local news station. At the time our church, VCC (now The Practicing Church) was in the process of discerning how we were to move forward. We were in a discernment process, sensing the Spirit initiating a new way to “be” the church in our post-Christian culture. Christopher was discussing completing his research of “new churches” in Seattle, a city he states in the Introduction is branded “the None Zone” because of its high percentages of the religiously nonaffiliated.
Watching Christopher on my local nightly news was just one more signpost leading our faith community toward a new birth the Spirit was brooding over. I have been waiting for this book for many reasons. First, I love the Pacific Northwest. I was born and raised in Seattle, I have raised my children here and it’s where I have been a part of the Church since birth. I care about how the message of Jesus is lived out in my city. I care because people from every walk of life are longing for meaning, how to live life to the fullest with purpose here and now not just in the afterlife. I believe there is no better path of faith than to follow Jesus.
My husband, Rich and I led a local church up until I had a serious health crisis 2 years ago this month. I have recovered beyond what the doctors told me possible. I am the Regional Leader for Vineyard USA Northwest Region and I am passionate about joining with what God is doing in our region and how churches in my care are reproducing.
My review of this book will be chapter by chapter over the next few months. As stated in the Introduction, “As a work of practical theology, this book is interdisciplinary…” This book is for researchers in congregational studies, sociologists, theologians, missiologists, practitioners on the ground, pastors and leaders, and as the Introduction reads, “to an emerging network of theologians and social scientists working in the area of “practical theology.” I hope you will follow along and a dialogue ensues regarding church planting in a post-Christian culture.
Next up: A few thoughts from the Introduction and review of Chapter 1.