Theological Musings

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

An Army of Ordinary People - new book

One of my favorite simple church websites is House 2 House. These people are fantastic, and their passion for simple church is so evident in all they do. We've had the privilege of meeting with some of their staff members and talking with others on the phone, and I praise God for them. They are a joy and a delight to know, and I only wish that I had known them when I actually lived in Austin, TX (where they are located)!

At any rate, they have a publishing arm that has recently released a new book called "An Army of Ordinary People" by Felicity Dale. I have not been able to get the book yet, but have read a sample chapter online, and I am excited about this book. The premise is that for way too long, we have relegated the business of starting and leading churches to the "professionals" -- seminary graduates, trained theologians, etc. However, God delights in using ordinary people to do great things. After all, this is how Jesus started His ministry, isn't it? He selected men that the religious leaders of the day would never have considered worthy of "the ministry", and yet these men turned their world upside down for Christ!

We have the opportunity in our culture today to do the very same thing. One statistic claims that 1/3 of Christians in America are "outside" the organized church, and yet have not lost their desire to see God's work accomplished in their lives and in their world. I am happy to be part of that 1/3 -- meeting simply in homes, seeing "ordinary" people realize "extraordinary" truths in their relationship with God.

I find it fascinating to read in the Bible that when God first led Israel out of Egypt, He called the entire nation to the mountain, saying that He wanted them to be a "kingdom of priests". But the people were afraid, and asked Moses to speak for them. This started a long series of prophets sent by God to speak to the people. Yet His initial desire was to personally relate to every person in that nation. The way I see it, the coming of Christ was God's statement that He had had enough of "proxies" in His relationship to His people, and so He came in the flesh Himself to be "God with us". There is no longer a need for human mediators between us and God. And even though we who consider ourselves "Protestants" speak about the "priesthood of all believers", we do not generally function in that reality. Instead, we organize ourselves underneath a human leader and relegate the "real" ministry to that leader.

This new book from Felicity Dale, however, presents a series of stories that show the lack of necessity for this structure, and encourages each of us to take our place in this "Army of Ordinary People". Click here to read the sample chapter online (PDF format, Adobe Acrobat Reader required) or click here to order the book. Having read other books written by Tony and Felicity Dale, I can highly recommend this one after having only read the sample chapter online!

Until next time,

steve :)

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