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Monday, February 16, 2015

"Not Safe for Church" (F. Douglas Powe Jr. and Jasmine Rose Smothers)

TITLE: Not Safe for Church: Ten Commandments for Reaching New Generations
AUTHOR: F. Douglas Powe Jr. and Jasmine Rose Smothers
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2015, (144 pages).

For the early adopters, this book is a welcome challenge. For those used to keeping the status quo, this book is a wake up call to stand up and take action. For the rest of us who are neither of these groups, perhaps, the authors of this book can persuade us to join the brave and the bold to do battle with complacency and conceit within the Church. Written by F. Douglas Powe Jr. who is the James C. Logan Professor of Evangelism and Professor of Urban Ministry, Associate Director of Center for Missional Church at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C, and Jasmine Rose Smothers, Associate Director of Connectional Ministries within the United Methodist Church in Georgia, the book contains ten tips for churches to learn how to reach new generations now!

Beginning with a "minority report" that goes all the way back to the twelve spies asked to check out Canaan, the authors warn us not to become like the ten spies who filed a "majority report" out of fear and lack of faith. By refusing to go forth and enter the land, they failed to act in faith and in the process angered God. Although we do not live in Old Testament times, the principle remains the same. Are we going to remain in our comfort zones and delay obeying the Great Commission? Or are we going to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and the follow Christ in faith? The answer is clear. It is the latter and this book aims to push us even further with ten creative ventures to reach post civil-rights generations. The authors are primarily trying to motivate their congregations (mainly black) to think and act differently. The Ten Commandments in NSFC are:
  1. Thou Shall Chill: What’s at Stake (Let It Go)
  2. Thou Shall Not Front: Be Authentic
  3. Thou Shall Not Trip: Discuss Taboo Subjects
  4. Thou Shall Check Yourself before You Wreck Yourself: Provide Inclusive Worship and Bible Study
  5. Thou Shall Learn How We Roll: Create New Entry Points
  6. Thou Shall Watch the Throne: Rethink Leadership
  7. Thou Shall Get Game: Engage Mission and Activism in Meaningful Ways
  8. Thou Shall Not Deny My Swag: Hear New Insights
  9. Thou Shall Sample: Bring Together the Old and New
  10. Thou Shall Represent: The Future Is Now!

Just looking at the language used should remind readers that in order to appreciate the book, one needs to understand that it is written for people familiar with black culture. It can be rather educational for non-black people.  The "Ten Commandments" here have nothing to do with the biblical ten commandments. It is basically a list of ten things for leaders to take note of and to act now. What is helpful for me are the discussion questions at the end of each chapter that can be relevant to many churches. Complacency and a lack of connections at an intergenerational level are common concerns for all churches. Every generation will need to address their own challenges. This book helps kick start the process.

Rating: 3.5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Abingdon Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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