“Devoted to the Church – Core Values for Christian Fellowship”
Sinclair B. Ferguson
Banner Of Truth Trust, 2020
This is quite simply a superb little book. Sinclair Ferguson authored a book a few years ago entitled “Devoted to God” which was essentially a manual on discipleship, this volume with a similar name instead focuses on how as Christians we are called to be devoted to God’s church. It is a very timely book given the current situation we find ourselves in with churches being largely online, with very little accountability on attendance or not, but also in an age where church attendance in general is declining this book is a helpful counter to that.
There are 11 chapters in the book each focusing on slightly different aspects of the life of the gathered church, ranging from mission to preaching to prayer. I have to say the chapter I found most helpful was the first chapter and the simple focus Ferguson had on just showing up to church. The contrast he draws out with the Rotary club membership is fascinating. If you are a member of the Rotary club the constitution states that you have to be there, you have to make up missed meetings somewhere else or face the consequences. If that is true of something as insignificant as the Rotary club then surely how much more seriously should we take church attendance and participation? This was a tremendous tonic to the current climate in which people struggle to commit or if they do commit it will only be to a very limited amount of time and energy.
The focus on the prayer meeting was also refreshing, Ferguson reminds us that the prayer meeting is one of the key meetings of the week, that the health or otherwise of the church can be assessed on the prayer meeting. He uses a very helpful personal illustration of a person he pastored who often had to drag himself to the prayer meeting but never had to be dragged away from it. How often this is true that getting “out the door” to the prayer meeting is the difficult part but once there how our souls have been refreshed and reinvigorated by praying with our brothers and sisters.
This book isn’t a long read, only 180 odd pages and it is interwoven with some very helpful, very down to earth illustrations which bring home the truths to the reader in a very relatable way. The call to be devoted to God’s church is one that as followers of Jesus we all need to take seriously and this book will help us along the road to that devotion.
This is a book which if read seriously and prayerfully will be a challenge to us and our thinking about the importance of meeting together as a church, but yet it is also a book which will bring much blessings to our souls as it reminds us of the benefits of meeting together.