Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book Review: For the City by Patrick & Carter

"If your church closed its doors tomorrow, would your city even know it was gone?"

Church planting and community transformation are both hot topics in Christian print right now. For the City by Darrin Patrick and Matt Carter lies at the intersection of those two topics. However, the book grows out of the blood, sweat, and passion of two churches and pastors and is anything but opportunistic. Indeed it is a passionate plea to the body of Christ to live lives changed by the gospel that engage the city around them.

The book opens with three chapters (Part 1: A Tale of Two Cities) detailing the infancy of the two churches in Austin, TX and St. Louis, MO. While these chapters are light on practical application, it serves to emphasize the importance of knowing your city if you are to reach your city.

The remainder of the book (Part 2: In and For the City) lays out some of the central components to a church that will reach its city: contextualization, community, service, equipping, and suffering. These characteristics are fleshed out by personal accounts from the two churches—to mixed results. While some of the stories help give "handles" to these ideas, some of the other stories consume almost the entire chapter and leave very little space for further instruction. However, the book truly hits stride in the last three chapters ("Suffering", "Confessions", and "Conclusion: Live Like Jonah") and gospel rightly takes front and center in these humble and hopeful pieces.

In the end, For the City is a solid book by two pastors who are passionate about the gospel and what the gospel can do for their cities—and for yours.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Recommended for: Pastors, planters

This book was a free review copy provided by Zondervan.

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