Monday, May 18, 2009

Total Church and Sticky Church

I bought these two books at the beginning of the year, hoping to use them for my Master's dissertation. Total Church is by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis and came highly recommended. Sticky Church is by Larry Osborne and although I did read a review on it, I actually bought it because I like the name. I was a bit disappointed by Sticky Church at first, because dipping into it it seemed like 'just another book about small groups'. However, looking at it more carefully, I like it because it deals with real world of western society. So many books have an idealised vision for small groups or community that may work here and there, but in general is just not practical. So Osborne is bold to say - splitting groups to grow more groups just doesn't work. In fact, having had an enthusiam for small groups for some years, I am pleased to see that he has come to many of the same conclusions that I have.
Total Church is much more idealistic. And that is a good thing. It presents the concept of communal living, rather than 'small groups'. It's the sort of thing I used to dream about when I was younger and more idealistic myself. And now I feel old and stodgy saying 'it will never work'! But it can work, in the right circumstances. However, I think that the problem with this sort of community is that joint decision-making tends to lead to mediocrity. They encourage people to only make decisions in the context of the community. That means that if one person has a radical vision and the rest don't catch it, the vision dies. It also means that young Freddy is less likely to marry on a whim. So there is safety. But little excitement.

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