August Book Review
A new book from Tom Bandy
Many churches on the Alexandria District have been blessed by the new trove of resources for understanding our neighborhoods and our possibilities for ministry through missioninsite.com. Over the past ten years, this website has evolved with more and more sophistication to provide the latest data available for us to be smart about our ministry strategies. For those who are familiar with the website, one of the most valuable parts is the ministry impact guides that are tailored for seventy-one different microcultures. Yes, it is complex because our society is complex. The author of those mission impact guides, Tom Bandy, has written a series of books to help us navigate the complexity.
His most recent book may be the most helpful yet. It is called provocatively Sideline Church: Bridging the Chasm Between Churches and Cultures (A Game-Changing Assessment for Leaders Who Aim to Get Back on the Field). In this book, Dr. Bandy observes that churches have become more and more sidelined over the years, and now an increasing chasm is growing between churches and the people they are meant to serve and bless. How can we bridge that chasm? The book seeks to bring some clarity to the complexity. Instead of seventy-one microcultures, the book is organized into five categories, with ministry strategies suggested that will address the chasms unique to each one. One size definitely does not fit all. Being aware of the need to be contextually savvy and responsive makes it much more likely that we will be more effective in serving and blessing the people for whom God has put us here.