Last year, I read Frank Viola’s joint effort with research guru George Barna, “Pagan Christianity?” “Reimagining Church” is the sequel, and is a positive spin on what was presented in “Pagan Christianity?”. The first book presented case for where the church has drifted away from some biblical stuff (mainly structure). This book now reimagines what the church could look like if some drastic changes were made.
This book is a huge advocate of organic (simple) churches–small churches that meet in homes, are open and participatory, and don’t have one appointed leader (apostolic workers plant the church, leaves, and leaders then emerge over time, and are then recognized by the church and the apostolic worker). For most of us, this sounds absolutely crazy and absurd, but it’s so much closer to the church that we find in the New Testament.
Viola fleshes out what it means to reimaging leadership in the church, the Lord’s Supper, gatherings, ministry, just about anything you can think of. For guys like me, its a refreshing read. For guys in more traditionally structured churches, this will be met with skepticism and may even be perceived as a threat.
Read it anyway.
Viola does advocate a complete demolition of the paid pastor, church building, denominational paradigm and rebuilding from the ground up. While I’m inclined to now agree with that, I also know that it will take a long time to happen. It may never happen in the United States, unless severe persecution rises up against the church. Viola does, however, graciously state that God does use structures to His glory that He does not approve of. I think he’s on to something there.
So, go ahead and read this book. It’s worth your time. It may piss you off royally, or it may give you some hope. Either way, being challenged to rething things isn’t going to hurt you. It’ll sharpen you.