I did not grow up in church. By that I mean that although we went to church when I was young, my mom seemed to feel an obligation to take us to church. We did not really engage in the things of God. We went a few times. But it was not the priority it was for many of you who might read this. By the late 60’s I had read some of the Holy Scripture and thought I discovered a disconnect between what “The Book” said and what the preachers were saying. I asked about this and was brushed off. So by the time I was 17 I had decided that the church was irrelevant and determined to go it alone. As God would have it, His Grace captured me 20 years later. I have faithfully served His Church in one capacity or another ever since. The church as we experience it has not changed much (except in methodology) since the 60s. So I understand the premise of this book completely. I know that we who work in the church are almost always doing the best that we can. We are not lazy, or incompetent, or deliberately leading anyone astray. But all too often we seem stuck. We are satisfied with small victories. In the depth of our souls we long to see whole communities transformed by the power of God but none of us know how this happens. So we settle for good programs, and smiling greeters; mowed lawns, and clean restrooms; good music, and well researched messages. But most of us are wondering when God is going to move mightily, and I mean mightily, in the churches of which we are a part.
Now comes John Bishop with this book “Dangerous Church.” His words have literally been a message from God to me. I had downloaded it Tuesday morning, early, then headed to my office at the church. Once there I spent an extended time in prayer (mostly listening in silence) about the direction of a new work that God has been urging me toward over the past year. As my time with the Lord ended I felt prompted to pick up this book. I tell you that I feel like the Samaritan women at the well when she said, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done…” God has used “Dangerous Church” to pierce my soul and give my longing heart renewed faith that the Church that Jesus is building is alive and well and that I can still see it bring light to the lost world. John Bishop has reminded me that no matter how many good things we are doing for God He has much more that He wants to accomplish in us and through us than we could ever plan or undertake or even imagine. “Dangerous Church” has exposed my every fear about the work I have been doing and given structure to my concerns over my effectiveness in living the life God has for me. This book has given voice to the words of Jesus as He tells us to “seek that which was lost..”, and to “… go and make disciples of …EVERYONE!” For my part I had forgotten the incredible power of this simple program!
God has confirmed something He has been nudging me with over the past couple of years in the experiences of John Bishop recorded in this book. I pray that as you read it He will show you anew His love for you and His will for you too! I pray that both you and I become willing to RISK EVERYTHING TO REACH EVERYONE! I know that God is telling me, at least, that when we give everything to Him and risk everything we think we are for Him in the way described in this book that HE WILL SHOW UP AND DO SOMETHING WE CAN’T EVEN IMAGINE! WE TOO WILL SAY “…ONLY GOD.”