The following post is an expansion of the one I wrote for this book over at Amazon after I finished reading it. If you liked that review, could you please click “yes” to finding it helpful? Thanks in advance.
One person over there who gave it a negative review said Frank Viola writes in a “my way or no way at all” approach to how church is to be done. I found that hilariously preposterous since I didn’t get that vibe at all. This is the first of his books I’ve read, and recently I just finished reading From Eternity To Here which I loved even more and I couldn’t put down. This book, not bad at all, took me longer to get through when I initially read it.
To those who know me well, who know that I’m a missionary in Peru, I’ve kept very little secret that I feel “organic” church is more biblical model than “institutional” church. I saw Reimagining Church was either free or $2.99 (I can’t remember which) so I got it, not thinking I’d learn much from it but get a few nuggets and tidbits here and there. In some areas, that was the case. Otherwise, I was pleasantly surprised and would easily say this is one of the most thorough books on the subject, and not too deep and profound so as to overwhelm the average reader.
I’ve always been under the impression if we were to take members of the first century church and put them in a time machine and bring them to one of our ‘event’ oriented services, they’d be pretty confused.
Viola does an amazing job of Scripturally going through the many trappings of modern ‘church’ that are taken for granted and assumed to be Biblical and re-imagines what New Testament church would truly look like. That is, if we actually cared to find out.
If you read this book and feel like it gives a lot of upheaval to how your ministry or church life, remember, as the author states early in the book:
“A truth’s initial commotion is directly proportional to how deeply the lie was believed. It wasn’t the world being round that agitated people, but that the world wasn’t flat. When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.”
If you are a leader or pastoral figure who strives to fill your pews on Sunday mornings and size is the barometer of your success, then you’ll find Viola’s book to be an unwelcome challenge, and probably like the 1 star reviewers on Amazon, you’ll think it’s heretical.
If however you are searching for the truth, and want fruitfulness and not numbers, and are just now coming out of the matrix after swallowing the red pill, and don’t know where to start, then pick up Viola’s book.
You have a few options. You can go directly to his site, http://www.reimaginingchurch.org/ for all the locations his book can be purchased.
If you’re just tight on cash and could benefit from the discount, then you can download the audio version free when you sign up for a 30 day trial with Audible.com. If you buy the Kindle book on Amazon, you can get the Audible version for only $2.99 and sync back and forth between the two.
Click on the photo below for the audiobook option, or the Amazon link to buy the book straight from them, along with a few other recommendations about disciple-making and organic church.
Blessings and fire on your head!