I just discovered this book and I'm excited. It's the result of Pastor Karen Wilk's (River Community CRC Edmonton) journey with her family and her congregation - a journey of deepening spirituality and growing relationships with neighbors. So many things to like!
It's got great stories and testimonials. "Who had time or energy for neighbors?" writes Wilks. "We were more likely to avoid talking to our neighbors.... but after a while you have to pay attention to the angst in your soul. Something was missing. Even though we were part of what most would call a 'successful church plant' shaped on the missional model, I wasn't sure we were really connecting with the people we lived near who needed to know how much God loved them and how good his kingdom is."
And then she makes it delightfully do-able. The book is organized into 8 weekly sessions, including intentional focus each week on God and his word, disciplines, fellowship, connecting to community. There are daily suggestions for simple practical ways to deepen your study, your prayer life, your friendships. There are interesting and concrete ideas about what it means to eat together, how to use food to set out signs of the kingdom your neighbors will love to read, how to connect to community issues, and lots more besides. "Your missional context - your neighborhood - is where your interactions are "S.A.F.E." meaning Spontaneous, Accessible, Frequent, and at Ease.
I love that this book integrates spiritual growth with community connections. I love that it's wry, realistic, small group oriented, and oh so practical. I love that it is so embedded in the author's own life and family and community. I love that it has a reading list at the end. I love that it's about building healthy relationships because I believe healthy relationships are the power lines along which the Spirit moves.
The subtitle of the book is "Moving From a Come and See to a GO AND BE CHURCH".
I'm buying copies for my deacons!