Center Church – Timothy Keller
I have set down several times the past several days to write this review of Center Church and each time have struggled to put my thoughts to words. It is not that I disliked the book, rather it is possibly one of the most impactful that I have ever read. I think the issue is that it impacted me so deeply I do not know where to start. So I am just going to go and see where we land. Sound fun? Ok strap on and lets go.
I read this book as a pastor, but not only as a pastor as one called to church planting. So that shaped my thinking throughout all of this work by Keller. That and the fact that I am a fan of Tim Keller (I hate using the word fan I am just not sure what word is more accurate). So I read this book as one that recognizes Keller as a leading voice on church life and ministry in our day and as one wanting to learn from this voice as it relates to my calling to plant a church in the Bible Belt.
When I started reading the book the biggest question I had about church planting was where to plant. I knew I was called to plant in the Bible Belt, either in the lower Midwest or in the South/Southwest. I had several locales in mind but was unsure as to where exactly I would be planting a church. As I read though this question was quickly answered. It is not as if the book magically told me where to plant, rather it helped me prayerfully explore some issues and realize what matters.
As that question was answered I was able to read with some context in mind. Doing this allowed me to answer some questions about life and culture in this area and to explore some things that need to be in the DNA from the ground up and some things I need to not focus on that I thought I did.
I believe this book can help anyone examine how their ministry can affect their local area in a deeper and more profound way no matter if it is a church plant or a 200 year old church. Keller does not write to build copies of his own church, rather he writes to help the church at large explore issues that will lead to a great gospel impact. I urge you to read this book. Not only to read it but to think through the book. Ask questions and explore answers. Then live out the book in your ministry and life.
I received this book from the publisher, Zondervan, for the purpose of review with no requirement to write a positive evaluation.