Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Review: Compelled By Joy

CS Lewis might have been surprised by joy, but Michael Green was compelled by joy, as he relates in this lively review of his ministry and evangelism, recently published by IVP.

In the opening chapter, Green shares his own story of conversion, which is the impetus for the rest of his life and the rest of the book as he reflects on his attempts at getting the good news out to as many people as possible, in as many ways as possible. 'I have found treasure - by no skill of my own - and I want to share it as widely as I can.'

Yet for many, as he says, the Christian message isn't news (they think they know what it's all about), and it doesn't seem like good news. Green has been committed to communicating the good news for what it really is, and the book recalls some of his experiences, as well as reflections on ministry and on who God is and what he is like.

As the chapters progress there are thoughts on evangelism in the local church, university outreach, being careful to speak in ways people will understand, apologetics in evangelism, sin, the cross, making disciples not just decisions, and the way in which our responsibility fits with God's responsibility.

This was one of the books I read in the interim between finishing as Curate and beginning and Rector, and it was a really good refresher for me on the basics of ministry. There are lots of ideas, plenty of illustrations, and buckets of encouragement for the evangelist and pastor, some of which may be worked out as my ministry here develops.

Occasionally there were wee things that I wasn't too enthusiastic about, ways he went about doing things in a more sacramental fashion, or in the words and phrases he uses, but I've found that with Green's books in the past, and would still recommend them for all the good things they contain.

A useful book for those considering evangelism, and those who need some encouragement to keep going in the long haul of Christian ministry.

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