Ever started a book and never got around to finishing it?
Do you ever find yourself thinking, “Wow, this author could have said everything they have to say in just 3 chapters. Too bad some publisher made them fluff it out.”
Or, “Well that book started out awesome but the last half of the book went downhill.”
Me. Too. That’s why I really like the FRAMES series, put out by Barna. These small books cut right to the chase and engage in some important cultural topics in a potent way. No fluff- every word counts. These little books are perfect for small group discussion and take about an hour or two to read.
What is this book about?
Sacred Roots: Why the Church Still Matters (Frames) digs into the somewhat over talked about, but under solved problem of why church attendance has declined. Author Jon Tyson doesn’t blame it on lack of morality, busyness, or general disinterest in God. Instead, he puts out a call for the church to move from “consumer centers in the Christian ghetto to provocative countercultures for the common good and renewal of our world.” (p. 52)
Often we think that if we can be more entertaining, the world will flock to our building and eventually to God. Better preaching, cooler videos, good music. Tyson wonders if perhaps that is not the answer at all. When talking about the downfall of trying to use entertainment to draw people to the church, he says, “Something happens when entertainment shapes our church. Our emotions may soar, we may have a shared sense of ‘us’, and we may resonate with the experience, but rarely does entertainment sanctify our hearts. It rarely challenges the practices that form our character or shape our lives.” (p. 45).
Why did I choose to review this?
What is the future of the church gathering as we know it? What is the point of gathering with a bunch of people, all while we stare at someone onstage, not interacting with those around us other than the 5 minute smile and handshake time. I can listen to a sermon anytime, anywhere. I can turn on some worship music and sing to God on my own or with my family. Questions like that are on the tips of my generation’s tongue. I was eager to hear Jon Tyson’s point of view, especially since he is a pastor of a large NYC church.
We’re not 100% engaged in a church community yet – bouncing back and forth between a couple locations of the same church, trying to find a way to really get to know people. As we’re working on this, we need to remember that we need to have a community that lives kinda near us– driving 30 minutes somewhere doesn’t make it easy to be engaged in others’ everyday lives, which is kinda what the church is meant to be.
Questions I’m now asking:
- How could our church gatherings be structured differently- with more interaction and intention?
- What parts of the church gathering exist to meet needs of 50 years ago? What parts serve needs of the community now?
- Tyson describes how his church community has changed from being consumer/entertainment driven (maybe not on purpose, but as a default) to being intentional about living in and reaching the communities where the church lives. He didn’t talk a whole lot about how they made that shift- I’d be really interested in hearing more about that!
Where you can go to find more:
You can learn more about Barna Frames, and also about the author, Jon Tyson.
Thanks to Booklook Bloggers for providing this mini book in exchange for an honest review.
**Some of the above links are affiliate links.**