Thursday, October 15, 2015

book review | staying is the new going

Having just moved from "going" to "staying", this book seemed like it would be relevant to our stage of life. And it was... not only relevant, but also very convicting and motivating. As I read through, I often found myself spaced out, dreaming up ways to minister in our neighborhood, to break down walls with people that I see every day, and just to be very engaged where I've been placed. That is the essence of this book.

Author Alan Briggs is a very conversational writer, so that made this an easy read. The material that he's discussing is challenging. In our very mobile society, choosing to stay in one place in order to be a consistent, invested example of Christ is a somewhat radical idea. Of course, there are plenty of people who have never moved from their hometown simply because they didn't want to. But this is about staying because you want people to see what a lifetime of living for Christ looks like - not just six months of living for Christ. Anyone can fake it for six months. Obviously it's only by the grace of God that any of us can serve Him longer than that.

Living on Main Street one block from the church in a very average house makes me the perfect candidate to put some of Briggs' ideas into practice. And he offers a lot of ideas! They do Free Coffee Friday, host neighborhood cook-outs, and regularly choose to invite neighbors rather than family or church friends when they want to have someone over. I was convicted to step out of my box and be willing to get close to people outside of my "group" - co-workers, acquaintances, neighbors - as I have opportunity. And in the small ways that I have done that, I have realized that indeed - people are hungry for connection. We need other people. And many people don't have as many people in their lives as I do.

There's a lot more I could say... both in agreement with Briggs and offering a few alternative perspectives of my own... but I think I'll stop there. Overall this is a very worthwhile read for Christians in any stage of life... it is very thought-provoking and, like I said, motivating. Staying (no matter where it is that you're staying - your hometown, a new town, or a foreign country) and being willing to put down roots is probably one of the best things we can do to push the Gospel forward in a world that never settles down.

I received this book from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my review. 

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