Dr Tim Chester is a director of the Porterbrook Seminary which provides affordable, Bible-college level training for church leadership and missional church in the context of your ministry (www.porterbrookinstitute.org). He is a leader of The Crowded House, a church planting network (www.thecrowdedhouse.org). He blogs at www.timchester.co.uk. He has previously been Research and Policy Director for Tearfund UK and a part-time lecturer in missiology. He is the author of a number of books and series editor of The Good Book Guides (The Good Book Company). He is married with two daughters.
Veteran British church planters Steve Timmis and Tim Chester have put together a very helpful workbook for churches that desire to be more intentionally & strategically gospel driven. In three loaded sections this guide (suited ideally for discipleship, leadership teams, or small group's of various kinds) covers six sessions on the Priority of Mission; six sessions on the Priority of People; and another six sessions on the Priority of Community and the last chapter which is on why "It's all about the gospel." This book is ideal as a workbook for church planting core groups, or churches that want to be more missional and multiplicational in their process of making and maturing disciples of Christ.
Each chapter stands alone and contains the following five sections:
Consider this - A scenario--often based on a real-life situation--which raises some kind of dilemma or frustration in gospel ministry.
Biblical background - A relevant Bible passage together with some questions to help you think it through.
Read all about it - A discussion of the principle, both in terms of its theological underpinning and its contemporary application.
Questions for reflection - Questions that can be used for group discussion or personal reflection.
Ideas for action - Some ideas or an exercise to help people think through the application of the principle to their own situation.
I think this is a phenomenal resource that helps a church think through how to contextualize the gospel message in its own unique setting. It is concise, deep, Christ exalting, biblical, gospel oriented, God-glorifying and extremely practical. I can't recommend this resource highly enough.
Book Summary Part One: The Priority of Mission Chester and Timmis argue that everything that is done within the church should center around the mission of the church. The mission of the church is to glorifying God by sharing his message with all peoples. Chester and Timmis argue that everything that goes on within the church should be considered a missionary endeavor. Next, both authors argue that the mission is not for a select few, but for all members of the church (The authors simplify the language of priesthood of all believers). The authors then argue that the church's mission calls believers outside their ghettos (places of comfort- e.g. white, middle-class suburbia, and our homes) and into the bars/brothels. A gospel-centered church majors in the gospel, but is willing to negotiate on everything that is a nonessential. The authors take Mark Driscoll's idea of the two hands and apply it to the mission of the church. The first hand is closed and clinched like a fist. The first hand represents sound theology or things that we are not willing to comprise upon. The second hand represents traditional practices specific that culture and things which we are willing to comprise on. The second hand is open. What is the difference between the two hands? One hurts when you are hit with it. Although Chester and Timmis do not use this illustration, the illustration does reflect the argument which they make throughout the chapter: do not allow tradition to be the absolute, which governs your mission. Next, the authors argue that a common fear among churches is the fear of failure. The authors argue that it is better to fail at gospel initiatives than to fail to take gospel initiatives. Part Two: The Priority of People In chapter 7 the authors explain their view of the church.Read more ›
I had a huge stack of material and I was going to write some of our own 'gospel-centered' material and I ran across this. Just what the doctor ordered and we are looking forward to going through this series in our house church network... Highly recommend it...
This book is a light Bible study through some principles of being a Gospel Centered church. It was easy to read and definitely worth reading. I have enjoyed learning from Steve Timmis and Tim Chester. Although this book is not going to have lengthy defenses of certain points since it is a short book, this is still a great thought provoking book. For more I would look into Total Church by the same authors.