In 2013, I wrote a little book called Church Zero. It was punchy, humorous, and 1st Century. It got 109 reviews (85% of them 4 or 5 stars).
Today, I received notice that Zondervan has formally accepted my manuscript for my next book REACHING THE UNREACHED: Becoming Raiders of a Lost Art.
Church Zero was a punchy, funny, hard-hitting cage rattler, challenging leadership to live out 1st Century ministry principles. In it I acknowledged that the sacrifices established pastor would have to make to reach the unreached would probably be too high a price, and many of them wouldn’t change their approach.
Reaching the Unreached is for everyone else. It’s for non-leaders.
As I confess in the book:
“This isn’t a book for ministers. I’ve stopped believing that ministers will change the world anyway. Steve Addison summarized Roland Allen’s point that in seminary, ministers learn the lesson of inactivity”. Upon graduation, they emerge no more competent to do most of what Paul did in the book of Acts. Many seminary grads who once dreamed of “tearing it up” for Jesus become pulpit pundits, protecting Christian orthodoxy from heresies over pour overs with other theologians, yet are unable to do nearly anything that might change the world…or even the neighborhood they drive through to get to the church building they hole themselves up inside of. With noses buried in texts, they are out of touch with their contemporaries, or as Spurgeon mourned “at home among the books, but at sea when it comes to men”. I’m calling you out, but I’m also calling you out.
We’ve got to be good at more than just talking. Unfortunately, ministry makes us pretty good talkers, but Paul was able to say that he and his fellow missionaries were men of action, not simply men full of good ideas, or “empty talkers” (Titus 1:10). Everything that I learned to do on my journey with God to make me effective at reaching the unreached didn’t require me to be in ministry. It was actually a benefit for me NOT to be in it anymore. All that was required was for me to be willing to do something. Anything. Spurgeon urged:
“Brethren, do something. Do something. Do something. While committees waste their time over resolutions, do something. While societies and unions are making constitutions, let us win souls. Too often we discuss, and discuss, and discuss, while Satan only laughs in his sleeve.”
If you listen closely at church, there is an emphasis on telling stories. But there is a difference between a Christian who can tell stories from a pulpit, and a Christian who has stories to tell from the streets. Talking can give a mental release for an angst building up inside of us, and make us feel as if we’ve done the thing we’re talking about. Without actually doing anything, talking is a way of letting off the steam of inactivity like a pressure cooker. But the more we talk about doing something, the more content we become with the substitute for that it can be. I’ve interviewed many authors, conference speakers, and thought leaders over the past few years, and I’ve noticed that many of them haven’t done what they speak and write about. A guy on stage punching the air for impact with clever sound bytes in front of a crowd of thousands, but never gets out in front of lost people and says the same exact things off stage, is reprehensible. But common. It’s called performing. As an author and field journalist, Ernest Hemingway was disgusted by it in authors. He believed that he should never write about something that he hadn’t personally done. He wrote about fishing, bull fighting, safari hunting, and war because they were adventures he’d lived himself. He was wounded on the field of battle, survived a plane crash, boxed as a prize fighter, and done more things by the age of 30 than most will do in a lifetime. His potent motto was taken from Benjamin Franklin “Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing”. That quote has been written by the doorway to my office to remind me where I should be. Out there.Charles Spurgeon said “When we hold our church-meetings we record our minutes and resolutions, but the Holy Spirit only puts down the “acts”. Our acts should be such as to bear recording, for recorded they will be.”
I am. I’m excited to be writing to the chain link fence salesman turned gospel animal. The retired school teacher who leads the Street Pastors every weekend, taking it as front line as it gets. To those who haven’t discovered their unleashed potential as of yet. Church planting has taught me that it’s the everyday believers that rise up after they’ve stopped doing church chores, and start discovering their spiritual gifts.
I’ll update you a little more about the book over the coming weeks and months, but here’s the latest version of the cover.
Reaching the Unreached will drop in May 2017.
 Addison Movements that Change the world IVP 2011 p93
 Spurgeon, Charles Lectures To My Students Passmoor and Alabaster, London 1887. P13-14.