The age of Christendom is over. The age of post-modernity has arrived. How do ordinary, everyday congregations deal with the crisis facing them?
Red Alert is a book for those in leadership, and in the pew, who want to know how to respond to the myriad number of social changes facing churches in the West. It explores the options before us, suggesting that the way forward is not tinkering with non-essentials, but reframing the whole paradigm -- not a new way of doing church 'the old way', but a new way of being church altogether.
Eminently practical, this book is designed to show how your church can be empowered to become an authentic community and effective agent for the gospel in the wider society. It shows how the Christian church can not just survive, but prosper.
"The world has changed... radically... such that any church committed to 'business as usual' will find itself on the road to irrelevance and death. The gospel, on the other hand, is always relevant and the church's mandate has not changed. Gil Cann's appeal to the local church to acquire understanding, demonstrate flexibility, exercise creativity and generate energy is, in essence, an impassioned appeal to choose life. Ignore it at your peril!"
Religious liberty analyst, advocate and author
Director of Christian Faith and Freedom, Canberra, ACT, Australia
"This is a wonderful book: down-to-earth, honest and brimful of distilled wisdom, born of decades of generous and warm-hearted ministry to scores of Christian communities around the country. If you've ever had the joy of knowing and listening to Gil, you'll know exactly what I mean. If not, you are in for a very special surprise. Take up and read!"
Dr Rikki Watts
Dean of Theology at Alphacrucis College, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Research Professor with Regent College, Vancouver, Canada
This book is a refreshing exploration into the most pressing issues facing the church as it moves into an ever-changing future. It is a timely call to leaders and churches to understand afresh who we are and then embrace who Jesus is calling us to be in the wake of a resistant, distracted and idol-centric culture.
Rev Ralph Mayhew
Minister at the Village Church, Burleigh, Queensland
Church-planter and author of The Anonymous Leader and How to Create the Organisational Culture You Want
Here's a massive claim: each chapter of this book is worth the price of the book on its own. What Gil Cann proposes are not just 'good ideas', but practical signposts for kingdom-seeking churches and Christians. Gil writes and the reader sees 'pictures'--his style is pictorial without the actual drawings! Distilled biblical theology, coupled to practical application, will get ideas rolling in readers' minds--from the smallest rural church to the largest church in suburbia.
Here we have a thoughtful observer with a heart for the church. The ideas here are doctoral stuff, but so simply unravelled as to be accessible to children. Get this book into the hands of young adults to read and discuss. Then, pastor friend, give them some free rein!
The overview of causes of church disconnection with culture will set you thinking, questioning and applying. Tucked into the flow of the text are some one-line summaries simplifying complex ideas with disarming brevity.
Gil also touches on other related issues, such as:
the weakness of a church seeking social approval--and thus failing to stick with its mandate;
modern secularism's obsession with the 'fruit', but its rejection of the root of its Judeo-Christian legacy.
The chapter on organic church is a tract for our times:
'Leaders lead by serving, not serve by leading.'
'We change verbs into nouns.'
'We miss the vital simplicity of organic church.'
Here are principles and guidelines for organic church that are often 'misplaced' by our preoccupation with organisation. At best, organisation is the means, 'the scaffolding', for the building. And 'feeding the soil rather than the plants' is an image you will want to work through carefully with your leadership team.
In the face of society's rising secularism, the fact is that a healthy, authentic church is our community's most necessary resource. In this respect, 'Sunday service or family reunion?' (chapter 10) is thought- provoking. Pastors and elders who are game to make this their purpose on Sunday morning will reap new, stronger life in their congregations.
Whilst reading the pages on the significance of work and its connection to the Sunday service, I immediately set about writing a sermon on the subject. And I was only half-way through the chapter! There is more, much more. This book is really for everyone who wants to have a meaningful role in their congregation.
Rev. Ian L. Clarkson
Advocate, writer, researcher on the gospel in contemporary culture Consulting Minister of HopeNet, a network of sixty evangelical Uniting Churches, SA, Australia
Chairman of The Barnabas Fund, Australia