In my stack of summer sabbatical book reading, the next book on my list was “A Church Beyond Belief” by William Sachs and Michael Bos.
Flipping the pages of the book, now that I’ve read it, I noticed that I have far fewer highlighted sections than I have in previous books. I think in this book, I picked up fewer new insights. The book is a bit dated…it was published in 2014. So much of the research that is sited is older and the wisdom found in this book (and there is wisdom here!) has been published in other places.
The focus of the book is really on how meaningful community is formed. People are coming to church not because of the theology or the doctrine, but because they are looking for a place to belong.
And the idea of belonging is changing. They write that “…the meaning of belonging is shifting from an older, static understanding to the presumption of dynamic breadth.” And that if churches are not willing to shift what it means to belong from an institutional, “joining” framework, to one that focuses instead on welcoming people into being a full part of the whole, churches cannot grow in meaningful ways.
While this is true, except for some vague ideas and encouragement to “open the doors,” there is not much concrete in this book that defines what this new way of belonging looks like.
On the positive side, it does raise the question, and cause me to wonder what it is to “belong” at Trinity.
Much to think about.