Recently I had a friend who made the comment, “Some people wake up and go to church to be closer to God on Sunday mornings. I wake up and go on a walk to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation.” While a statement like that may sound spiritual it is biblically uninformed. Christianity is not merely a “me and Jesus” thing. When God saves, He saves individuals, yes, but He saves a people for Himself. This people is known as the church. Of course, arguments still arise and the question gets posed, “Why bother with church?” Thanks to The Good Book Company, we have an elaborate answer. Another work in the Questions Christians Ask series, Why Bother with Church? by Sam Allberry addresses the question from a biblical point of view and expands his discussion on not only why bother with church but how we bother with the church.
In this quick read of under 100 pages, Allberry describes what the church is through Scripture and its biblical imagery and metaphors (chapter 1). Allberry also clarifies the church is a particular gathering of people, not simply a building or denomination (Allberry 17). What may be the most crucial chapter of the book, chapter 2 takes on the question, “Why do I need the church?” Allberry identifies the Western mindset of individualism and shows how the “me and Jesus” approach is a by-product of our culture, not a truth from the Bible. Rather, the Bible tells us in various ways “neglecting the church is neglecting Jesus” (Allberry 31). The church does not save, Jesus does, but the church is the context God has given us to show love and grow in sanctification. In order to grow, health must be a priority. Allberry takes that up in three of the next four chapters, asking what makes a good church (chapter 3), how a church is run (chapter 4), and how can I be a good church member (chapter 6). The discussion on church leadership in chapter 4 may seem out-of-place in a book like this but once you read the section you see clearly its necessary placement in this book. Finally, Why Bother with Church? does confront how to survive church, confessing the reality of living in a fallen world.
There is much to appreciate in this concise book. In my own humble opinion, I would have liked to have seen more interaction with more of the “one another” passages in chapter 2. Still, the book is a great work. Any Christian who reads this book should conclude with Allberry, “Why on earth would I not bother with the church?” (Allberry 95). Why Bother with Church? encourages the Christian why they should bother with church and informs them how to bother with the church. A biblically faithful, challenging book for all Christians.
I received this book for free from The Good Book Company via Cross Focused Reviews for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.