Mark Buchanan is one of my favourite authors, however I initially struggled to connect with Your Church is too Safe until chapter eight. On reflection this was probably because I read a lot of books about churches and up until this point Buchanan was setting a scene I know well. However from this point on the book came alive for me and I found it fresh and engaging. Buchanan shared some changes they made at his own church as well as insights from Biblical texts.
Buchanan’s fictitious description of a person who grows up to have a religious spirit was incredibly helpful in chapter thirteen. As was his advice to “eat whatever” in chapter eight. In chapter nine he pinpoints our reluctance to engage in the world and in chapter ten he asks why was it necessary for the paralytic’s friends to wreck the roof? The disturbing answer is that all the healthy people were blocking their way and unwilling to move. This, of course, relates to us today. Do we block the way for others to come to Jesus by our selfish attitudes? Buchanan has other challenges to do with unity amongst Christians, our acceptance of those whose moral standards are different to ours and our willingness to be channels of God’s healing.
There were times when I sensed Buchanan’s frustration and anger with the church for failing so badly in many areas yet his finishes the book on a note of hope and encouragement for the church to become all that God intends.
A very worthwhile and challenging read.