What local churches needs today are courageous, compassionate, commissioned people.
Sadly it seems that local churches and its members tend to be drawn to or to focus on one of these aspects to the expense of the others.
So some churches stand for the truth with great courage. Other churches have great compassion for the broken, weak, and abused in their communities. And then there are the churches that are all about building up the church and reaching the lost.
But there are two potential problems with this.
One problem is that local churches look at other local churches whose focus is different with suspicion, rather than seeing that each other’s strengths are necessary if a lost world is going to be reached with the gospel. They see the faults of others rather than seeing their own limitations.
The other problem comes when their weaknesses are further downplayed. So the courageous churches may stand up for truth, but can be lacking in love or passion to reach out with the gospel. The compassionate churches are wonderfully caring but may compromise on truth or fail to see that people’s greatest need is to be saved from the wrath to come and so need to hear desperately the good news about the Lord Jesus. And the commissioned churches are passionate about making disciples and maybe extremely creative in seeking new ways to do this but may compromise on truth in the name of whatever works and their desire for results could lead them to failing to take the time to meet real needs that people have.
Now into this situation Collin Hansen has written an extremely challenging and timely book, Blind Spots: Becoming a Courageous, Compassionate, and Commissioned Church.
In Blind Spots, Hansen wants to help us address this dangers, these blind spots we might have. “I’m not telling you to search for the perfect balance between heart, head, and hands, or compassion, courage, and commission. I’m telling you that if you want to follow Jesus in this world, you need all three in full, blessed abundance – in ourselves, our local churches, and the church at large.”
He wants the church to be more like Christ who was “equally zealous for pure doctrine, generous charity, and urgent evangelism” and so he helps us to identify our weaknesses not only so we don’t look down on other believers who are gifted in other ways, but also that with the help of the Spirit we would change and be more obedient to God’s Word.
I’ve found this book helpful to think through personally as a pastor which of the strengths I’m more naturally drawn to and the dangers this brings. Not only that, it has also helped me to appreciate the diversity of the church and to be more charitable towards churches and Christians I might have been tempted to dismiss because of their different gifting.
Blind Spots really is a book for reading now, especially for church leaders in the UK, as we look at how we can lead the local churches Christ has made us overseers of and work with other local churches to reach the nation with the good news of salvation in Jesus.
Thank you Crossway for providing a free copy of this book through Beyond the Page.