Imagine Church: Releasing whole-life disciples
Church Times Bookshop £9 (Use code
THIS is one of those credible and timely books: Neil Hudson, the
author, has been a pastor in a demanding part of Greater Manchester
for more than 25 years, has taught at Regent's College, Vancouver,
for 11 years, and is now on the staff of the London Institute for
The research for the book has been both wide-ranging and
thorough: 5000 people have contributed to the "insights and words"
of this book as they have taken part in exploring "how church
communities might learn to engage in the central task of whole-life
disciple-making". Some of the churches that took part are listed in
the acknowledgements, and the range of those that did adds
credibility to the findings.
Hudson has also clearly read deeply theologically: the
quotations and the reading lists that he provides underline the
seriousness and significance of this book.
The book is, in the author's own words, about "how an ordinary
church - your church - can become a community of people who help
one another live out their whole life - at home, at work, in
church, in the neighbourhood - as followers of Jesus, engaged in
his mission to the world".
Hudson considers change, vision, the expectations of
congregations, what a church committed to whole-life discipleship
might look like, and in a chapter, "As you begin", is helpfully
clear about the challenges. He follows this up with some practical
and attainable ways forward, as well as some resources and
Hudson is honest about his own journey. This is, and feels,
wonderfully liberating for those of us who are excited by the
vision but hesitant about what it will involve. He doesn't offer a
quick-fix solution, or one that would work only in certain
churches. The vision that has inspired the book is central to the
Christian faith, and important for the development of healthy
churches; this is a book that any serious Christian and any
thoughtful pastor should read.
The Revd Jeremy Crossley is the Rector of St Margaret
Lothbury and St Stephen Coleman Street, London.