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Review: The Congregation in a Secular Age

“Change” is one of those words that you will find regularly on the lips of many pastors. “We need to change!”, “We need to change church culture”, “ We need to change how we worship”. While most of the early philosophers wanted to do away with change, finding it to be an enemy. The modern church has embarrassed change philosophy wholesale. Andrew Root’s The Congregation in a Secular Age responds to this ‘change’ crises.

Root helpfully reminds us that if we are not careful, our relentless pursuit of change can hurt us. His argument is that in the secular age, lives are constantly accelerated and the church feels that to remain relevant she has to embrace this need for speed, the need to innovate. This pressure to innovate leads to acceleration of congregation life that strips the sacred out of time. Consequently, many churches find themselves hard to keep up with the rate of change which in turn leads to burnout and depression. Root thinks that this stripping the sacred out of time ultimately leads to a ‘god-less’ church.

To respond to this crises, Root calls us to reimage and rethink what change is and how to navigate change without giving into the idolatry of change around us.

I highly recommend this book! Pastors will find this book particularly helpful.

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