In a post on Paul the other day I finished asking what was really a rhetorical question
Is all our planning, strategising, conferences, study and talk about mission a waste of time without Paul’s sort of passion for God?
This is essentially what Chester and Timmis expand upon in their final reflections. To paraphrase:
All the principles and suggestions in Total Church are empty without a deep love for God. There is no easy recipie for success. The Christian faith is not a set of principles, strategies or structures. It isn’t ultimately about getting ‘community right’; it isn’t ultimately about getting the ‘gospel theologically right’ . It isn’t ultimately about ‘getting cultural relevance right’. It isn’t ultimately about ‘handling the Bible correctly’.
The great effect of the ‘gospel word’ is love for God. The arena for that love is community. That love overflows into all of life.
I’d have put this chapter up front to set the context for the book rather than a postscript at the end. But that said, its dead right that all Christian life, service, activity, church life and so on flow from experience of God’s grace, love and forgiveness. If they become ends in themselves they end up in legalism, burnout, traditionalism, or our cleverness …