Reading Total Church was an exercise in not getting carried away. Timmis and Chester write with such conviction that it is often difficult to distinguish between their pragmatic, experiential and exegetical reasonings.
The aim of the book is betrayed in the sub title: A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community. Having observed a discontent in how we `do church' in the UK and identifying the tendency to swing to either Gospel fidelity (conservative) or Community fidelity (emerging) the authors lay bare the fact that the two, far from excluding each other, require each other. They call the reader to a dual-fidelity.
The essence of the book is that we all, young Christian, mature Christian, struggling Christian and non-Christian need the Gospel in regular doses, applied to our lives. How do we get this kind of Gospel hit as regularly and as suitably as we can? Through community.
The book is divided into two sections, firstly setting out the foundation of Gospel (Word and Mission) and Community and then secondly seeing how such a dual-fidelity impinges how we `do church.'
Whilst being pragmatic it is not dogmatic. You wont find any, `once your church is X big you have to plant.' But you'll find plenty of , `as a loving community we should demonstrate the power of the Gospel in such a way people want it to be true and then we can explain to them it is true.'
Whether a Church leader or member this book will help you if your desire is to make as large an impact for the Kingdom of God as you can.