Joshua Harris says, “Church isn’t where we go. It’s who we are.” That’s backwards from how many Christians view church. Often, we see it as a place that is supposed to meet our needs, but we don’t think of our connection to a home church as part of our responsibility.
Why Church Matters addresses the issue of falling in love with the family of God. Harris calls people who go to church for what they can get, they are careful about getting too involved, and they are quick to find fault with everything.
Harris says we need the local church to encourage us, to help us apply God’s word to our lives, and to help us see our sin. But far too few people are willing to let the church carry out this role. He goes are far as saying that one of the 10 criteria for choosing a church is finding one that will kick you out if needed. This church discipline is part of the responsibility of holding Christians to their commitment and the responsibility of loving people enough to do what is needed for the good of their soul.
One thing I liked about the author is that he isn’t afraid to stir up controversy and shake up people’s thinking. He places a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of the attendee and not fully on the church. For example, he says, “be careful how you hear.” He says listening is a form of worship and we are held accountable for what we have heard, regardless of whether it moves us emotionally. He says pastors should strive to make their sermons easy to understand and engaging. However, even if they do not meet that criteria, it’s still the responsibility of the people who hear the sermon to listen carefully, apply the truth they hear.
Harris’s approach is different from many and I liked his boldness. Even though I might disagree with a few things he says, most of it is spot on and just what churchgoers need to read to get a revival started. His fresh approach to the subject combined with solid scripture backing makes this an excellent resource tool for those who are seeking a church as well as those who church-hop frequently. I highly recommend that pastors read it as well.
I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes. I am not obligated to write a favorable review.