This is Tim Keller's most important book to date. For years he has been touring the world, describing the gospel DNA which has made Redeemer such a powerful force for good in New York and more recently globally through its City to City programme. This book draws all Keller's thinking on church and mission together in one place, teasing out missional lessons learnt which can be applied cross culturally.
As a result it is a hefty tome of nearly 400 pages. The book is split into three sections: gospel, looking at theology and what Keller calls gospel renewal, which is where the gospel takes effect in the lives of individuals, churches and communities; city, which considers contextualisation, the nature of cities, and how to engage with culture;lastly movement, which explores how to live missionally and build gospel movements across cities.
This is a rich and rewarding read. Keller writes with wisdom and grace. He not only presents his conclusions but maps out the thinking that brought him there. His style is vulnerable and nuanced, but he can be sharp and punchy where he wants to be. He is eminently quotable, as Twitter often shows!
Centre Church has challenged me to love Jesus, my church and the city we serve more and to do my own thinking about how to relate the gospel to those in our community. It made me think more broadly about engaging with culture, supporting believers in their workplaces, and the place of social justice in gospel ministry. This is a great resource for anyone hoping to build a church bigger than their building. Any pastor, leader, planter or thinking Christian would do well to study this.