Tuesday, May 18, 2010

An Army of Ordinary People by Felicity Dale

An Army of Ordinary People is an inspiring collection of stories of God moving throughout the United States and the rest of the world through regular people. People just like me and you. Felicity Dale writes in such a way that she makes it seem like it really is possible for anyone to share the gospel, lead a Bible study, start a church, and begin a movement of God in the people around them.

Each chapter uses a story to illustrate one of the principles of planting a "simple church" (otherwise referred to as house churches, organic churches, cell groups). The stories highlight churches that "ordinary" people start in nursing homes, prisons, businesses, schools, trailer parks, neighborhoods, coffee shops, and just about anywhere else you can think of. Each chapter concludes with a more in-depth look at the principle illustrated by the story ... covering topics such as training, location, sphere of influence, finances, kids, prayer, etc.

These simple churches start with the purpose of helping jaded Christians "heal" from their experiences with legacy churches (a more traditional model of church) OR to meet the needs of people who would not otherwise darken the doors of a church. The ultimate goal is to see people come to Christ and the church grow to the point where it reproduces and births new daughter churches. Eventually an entire network of churches will be established through the start of one "simple church." (This is a model that I can agree with wholeheartedly! Rapid multiplication!)

The book was certainly inspiring. The principles seem easy and very practical ... things that any Christ-follower could (or should!) do. I was challenged in my thinking ... to evaluate why I believe some of the things I do. Is it tradition or comfort or simply what works for me? This book also challenged me to look for ways to share the gospel in my everyday life with the people I already come in contact with and to be extremely intentional in every conversation.

I do have one caution though ... the definition of "church." It was not clear from the start what Dale defines as a "church." Sometimes it seemed that "church" could simply be a social gathering, which I would not see as biblical. I'm not sure whether we have a true theological disagreement or merely a misunderstanding regarding terminology.

I enjoyed this book. It was a quick, easy read for me, yet it still challenged me.

Overall, I would give this book 4 stars (out of 5).

I received a FREE copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my fair and honest review of this book.

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