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on 16 October 2017
Just didn't enjoy this by Steve Chalke - thought it was badly written and just not a good read.
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on 19 June 2014
A challenging guide as to what a Church could or should be like in the 21st Century. A compelling read.
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on 17 September 2007
Intelligent church, intelligent book.

The sub-title (A Journey Towards Christ-Centred Community) describes what the book is about - and what our churches should be about.

Chalke quotes Phil Wall stating that we are `called to be contemplative activists'. I suspect that most Christian churches in the UK are likely to be comfortable with either half of that description, but bringing them together? If we're honest that's very uncomfortable.

Whatever situation your church is in I'd be astonished if you didn't find something in this book that makes you wince. The `ouch' factor is high.

The chapter headings alone will serve to identify gaps in our mission - intelligent, inclusive, messy, honest, purposeful, generous, vulnerable, political, diverse, dependent, transforming church. If you think that your church is able to model Christ in each of these areas, don't bother to read this book - although you might want to have a look at the chapter on honest church!

It's well worth reading - although expect to be challenged. Whether you change - is up to you.

"The shape of the way we do church - our traditions, our meetings, our buildings, our liturgies, our governance, our dress and countless more of our cultural preferences - can no longer be allowed to determine the shape and style of our mission and so limit what our communities and our society as a whole can see or know of Christ. It is time to do church differently."
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on 8 May 2015
‘Intelligent Church’ looks at ways in which the author believes the Christian church should be functioning in the 21st century. Rather than merely following tradition, or taking everything we hear from church leaders as absolute, Steve Chalke recommends that we think for ourselves, and ask questions about how the church can be more effective.

He focuses on different aspects of church as he sees it. He begins by explaining that church must be inclusive - not just people of all ages and nations, but all cultures, and (more controversially) lifestyles. The book continues with chapters on church as a place without strict boundaries; a place where it’s okay to ask questions and be ourselves; a church where people give of their time and material resources.

These chapters, and several others, all end with some practical suggestions and then some questions to be considered by church leaders.

The book is clearly written, each point made with Biblical and practical considerations. There are some anecdotes relating to the author’s own experiences although at times I found the style a little dry. One chapter per day was about as much as I could take in. Still, it made some excellent points, and painted an encouraging picture of how the church could be.

I would recommend this highly to church leaders and home group leaders everywhere.

Four and a half stars would be fairer.
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on 19 October 2007
Steve Chalke is known to many as the "TV vicar", so any book by him is worth a read. The forward praises him up like he is the freatest Christian thinker of our time, that you'll have to decide for yourself. I found myself agreeing with Chalke's conclusions about church in the 21st Century. He draws on historical highlights rather than the breadth of church history to demonstrate the journey towards Christ-centred community that we in the church are all on. Examples such as Mother Theresa are cited, as someone who held firmly to the same views as many Christians on issues such as abortion and Euthanasia and sexuality, yet was not painted with a negative brush.
Or regarding praying, he quotes Gregory Boyd: "Unless it is sometimes true tat God brings about the course of events in a way that he would not had he not been asked, petitionary prayer is idle: just as it would be idle for a boy to ask his father for a specific birthday present if the father has made up his mind what to give irrespective of what the boy asks."
It's not so much about becoming an intelligent church, as an inclusive church. All of this goes back to Jesus' teaching and life, a life lived anmongst many outcasts. Chalke makes the amazing point that teh radical nature of Jesus' ministry was that it was political in a very subversive way. So mmany are confused as to why Jesus showed such anger at the Temple market, yet this book cuts through much of the fog surrounding that event, to show that it was a liberation act! The Temple system was excluding ordinary people, and Jesus simply came to turn that system over (just like the tables), and so should we.
Every chapter contains ideas on how to put these things into pratice. It is only a start, of course, and the real work we are all left with after reading this book is to apply those ideas to our specific situations. The truth is we allhave a very long way to go to do church the way Jesus intended. This is book that'll get you on the right way
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on 8 August 2008
This book explores the role of the church in society and by looking at the early church shows the wonderful possibilities for it today. It was very easy to read and engaging. Each chapter deals with a different aspect of an "Intelligent church": vulnerability, generosity, honesty, inclusiveness... It is enormously practical, at the end of each chapter it offer topics to think about and practical advice. I would highly recommend it to anyone.
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on 19 June 2009
A real challenge to Christians today - we have a faith that is vibrant and relevant for today - why are we clinging on to outdated traditions and organisations and not spending our time and energy taking God's love to those who need it most in a way that is accessible to them. That's exactly what Jesus did.
Steve Chalke pulls no punches and fearlessly questions where we are and where we should be and sets out suggestions to help us act and move there - a must for an honest re-examination of our churches role in the community
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on 26 August 2014
A ' New Age Book,' from a ' New Age, Emergent Author.' Steve Chalke, Definitely NOT Recommended
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on 29 October 2011
We are using this as a fellowship study book to look for the way forward in our Church. Neither denominationally specific nor extreme, but very challenging.
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