FRACTURED FELLOWSHIPS by William J. Allen, West Bow Press,
This book will be worthwhile for any Pastor. The basic idea is that the Church has lost its way. The main thesis is that many of us are in business of exalting the Church whereas the ture purpose of the Church is to exalt Christ. There is too much "Churchanity" and serving the church institution, not Christ. He is correct in his observation the virtually all Christian service is directed toward the Church. Too many of the sermons today are “beat-em-up” or “puff-em-up” sermons. And the idea of fellowship is perceived as a group activity accompanied by food. He does a good job in showing the institutionalization of the church throughout history. He points out that most of the reform movements have simply re-arranged the deck chairs, and not gotten us to our destination.
He reminds us that the church is an organism. The church is not an institution that we join and serve; rather it is an organism that the Holy Spirit joins us to the church, the Church the Body of Christ. The church is the people, not the building or the institution. The church is found in two states (not his expression): the church gathered, and the church scattered. Thus, the church gathers for edification, and scatters for service to bring the reality of Christ to the world. He goes on to show that the Pastor’s job is not to be a CEO, but to equip the saints (Eph. 4:12-13). The true CEO is Christ. He is the shepherd, the Pastor is an under-shepherd. He urges us to go back to the basics—being Christ centered.
The value of this book is to remind us, and encourage us, to be true to our
calling, as a church and as Pastors. He encourages us all be quite playing
church, and be the church. It will challenge you and your thinking.