Pastor Mike Tatlock is a self-described "recovering church hater," so I didn't know what to expect from his new book on building church community, Faith in Real Life. I certainly didn't expect optimism–and I found loads of it.
"I believe," Tatlock says, "that authentic Christians want a faith that is more than just lip service to God and the world. We want to reconcile our faith with the realities of our daily lives… [this calls for] an ability to see the bride of Christ the way the Bridegroom sees her. Faith in real life captures the optimism of what it means to be the church — as in the community of God’s people … a vibrant group of Christians expressing themselves through a community of faith that engages with the surrounding culture."
You probably noticed Tatlock's double-edged emphasis: Christianity is a faith lived in community and lived by us everywhere, every day in real life — not just behind the four walls of our church.
That's more or less the thesis statement of Faith in Real Life. From there author/pastor Tatlock shares stories of success and failure in four areas:
1) the New Church, a.k.a. moving the center of importance from "services" to relationships
2) the Park, a.k.a. connecting with the larger community around your church
3) the Coffee Shop, a.k.a. people you know who aren't ready for small groups
4) the Living Room, a.k.a. small groups
I haven't finished the book yet, but I wanted to share a passage I liked. My unofficial title for this section is "Being Hip Didn't Work." It really got me thinking about what I desire from my church. If you'd like to read more of Faith In Real Life I recommend you check out the excerpt on Scribd. -Adam Forrest