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Word-Centered Church: How Scripture Brings Life and Growth to God's People Kindle Edition
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This is probably not controversial for bible believing Christians. But where Leeman's book is helpful is when he describes the work God's word does once it moves from the preacher to the congregation. This is the point where we get to see a lot of the growth. While it may seem that an expositional sermon is only one sided (the preacher preaching and the congregation listening) it has significant results in the life of the congregation. God’s word grows the congregation by reverberating in their prayers, through congregational singing, and as it is applied in discipleship and counseling. Good expositional preaching will help a congregation learn how to read their Bibles and trust the God of the Bible. It will lead to growth in all areas of life as God’s will for the world is expounded, and what he has done if proclaimed.
A Word-Centered Church is simply a biblical church. May we pray that God would work in our churches the way described in this book.
Do we think the latest program will get people involved in ministry? Leeman says it is the transforming Word of God that will get people to surrender their lives and yield to Christ. This necessary work of the Word must begin in the pulpit and continue through the life of the church.
Leeman explores the theological basis for a Word centered church. He emphasizes the work the Holy Spirit does, necessary because of the condition of the unsaved man. Human persuasion or the latest glitzy program will not do it. Only the Word of God can free the sin enslaved heart. Leeman also gives some very practical suggestions to help pastors understand how to make the Word central, how to preach it and how to have it reverberate through the congregation. He includes teaching on having the Word central in singing and in prayer.
We should be looking for one thing, Leeman says, when we gather with a church: God's Word. Everything else should be “either a platform for the Word or evidence of the Word's life-changing power...” (889/1946) I wonder what would happen should a church governing body use that as a criterion for church ministry.
This is a serious issue. We are to make sure people join church because they love the gospel, not because the church is “cool.” There is a high chance someone will join a church and be deceived into thinking he is a Christian yet not be converted by the gospel. (818/1946)
I highly recommend this book to pastors and church leaders. It will challenge you to evaluate your ministry and reflect on whether you are trusting in creating the right ambiance or the power of God's Word to bring people into your church.
Food for thought: “One thing is necessary in our churches – hearing God's Word through preaching, reading, singing, and praying.” (169/1946)
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
Jonathan Leeman wrote, "What is the one thing we need to create and grow a church? Leaving aside the matters of the ordinances and ministerial office, what is absolutely necessary? A building? A program? Answer: God's Word working through God's Spirit." The Word of God is the tool to be used to build and grow God's church. Leeman shows how central the Bible is to the church, in his book, Word-Centered Church. Some of you might be thinking, did he already write about the importance of the Bible in the church. The answer is yes. This book a revised edition of his previous book, Reverberation: How God's Word Brings Light, Freedom, and Action to His People.
Leeman shows us what the Word does in the life of the church. First, God acts through His word through the use of human preachers. The Bible is used to invite people to come to faith in Christ through the preaching of it and show us how we can be free in Christ. The Word also calls the church to gather in one accord.
Next, Leeman deals with the purpose of the sermon. The Word is used in the sermon to expose our sin and rebellion toward God. The Word announces the gospel message where it is pointed to Jesus. Every sermon must have Christ especially if it is expositional, which Leeman fully endorses as the proper mode for sermons to be delivered in the church.
Finally, Leeman talks about the impact the Word has on the church. The church is to sing songs praising God for all He has done through the cross of Christ. The church is to pray for God's will to be done. It is not a bad idea to pray God's Word back to God, not reminding Him of His Word, but as declaration for us in trusting God in His Word. The church is to disciple all believers. What is the proper method? Using the Bible. Yes, there are many good books to use, but the Bible must be the center of all discipleship. The church is called to scatter and invite more people to hear this gospel message.
Leeman is a gifted writer. I enjoy every book he has written including his previous one. I am delighted to recommend Word-Centered Church to all church leaders and teachers.
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