Taking his cue from the Barna Study of the six big reasons Mosaics (b.1984-2002) and Busters (b.1984-1965) have abandoned church, Charles Gutenson wants to bring them back. Gutenson is assistant professor of theology at Asbury Theological Seminary. The big six (Christians are, he argues: hypocritical, anti-homosexual, sheltered, too political, judgmental, and too focused on converts) are discussed at length. Gutenson finds most of these to be true characterizations of many contemporary Christians. But, his solution is not to argue, but to reorient readers to taking Jesus more seriously. He advocates the practices of radical hospitality, moving beyond the sacred/secular distinctions, and moving forward with hope. He also suggests moving beyond traditional church gathering places and making full use of emerging technologies. But, his strongest suggestion is the importance of the contemporary church understanding itself as a disciple-making mission. This is not, however, a one size fits all approach to congregational renewal. Gutenson has interviewed seven creative, innovative clergy who have taken fresh approaches to their practice of ministry. This book presents the best of what he has learned from their work.
Reviewed by Brian Witwer