The book Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church is written by Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson, and Eric Geiger. The book is an extremely practical book that talks about creating a Gospel culture within the life of the church. The book covers a wide span of issues, but there were a few chapters that stood out above the rest.
Chapter 6, Jesus-Centered Culture, was absolutely phenomenal. This chapter alone is worth the cost of picking up this book. Chapter 8, Pulpit to Preschool (and Puberty Too), and chapter 10, Jesus-Centered Flower Committee, are two other chapters that stood out in this book. If you are a pastor or ministry leader wanting to understand what it looks like to saturate your church in the Gospel, then I commend this book to you.
Here is a trailer of the authors talking about some of the themes of the book:
Here are a few of my top quotes from this book:
That’s because the Word, the gospel, creates not just people individually, but a people. collectively. The gospel isn’t just individual and cosmic; it is also deeply corporate. (14)
We seem to have developed gospel amnesia, forgetting that the gospel not only creates and sustains the Church but also deeply shapes the Church. Present and future. (17)
To confess our sins to one another is to violently pursue our own joy and the glory of God…and exponentially increase our rejoicing and worship, both individually and corporately. (31)
Only the gospel can grip our hearts with this kind of ongoing, unending awe. Only the gospel can cause grateful praise to flow, and keep flowing, and never stop flowing from our lips. Therefore, your gatherings must be soaked in the gospel. Everything from the music, to the teaching, to the observance of the ordinances — all of it must unashamedly, explicitly, point people to Jesus and what He has done. Otherwise, the Creature suffers. (43)
Believers, as we know, have different careers, different political viewpoints, different parenting philosophies, different economic status, and different cultural background. We are different in many, many ways. Yet we are still drawn together in the body He calls the Church. Unity in the gospel is much deeper than surface uniformity. (49)
A church culture is healthy when there dis a congruence and consistency between what the church says is important to her and what others know really is important to her. If a church declares that the gospel is the most important message the world has ever known, and yet the gospel is not seen as the impetus and motivation for all the church offers, this disconnect is indicative of an unhealthy church personality or culture. (97)
Quite frankly, children and student ministries are often a wasteland for well-intentioned morality training. (139)
Typically pastors or staff persons are hired to minister to people. The number of children increases, so the solution is another staff person. The number of sick people is on the rise; therefore, someone is hired to visit people in the hospitals, and on and on. This fart-too-common approach is both illogical and unbiblical: illogical because a church will never be able to afford hiring the entire ministry away, and unbiblical because it violates the essential doctrines of the priesthood of believers and spiritual gifting. (184)
Every single thing the Church does teaches. Culture is continually being reinforced as leaders are always teaching and people are always learning. Much of this teaching and learning comes through implicit messages rather than explicit ones: the songs selected, the way Scriptures is read, the attitude of the children’s leaders, and the programs that are offered. If the implicit message communicated via the programs contradicts the explicit message communicated in the teaching environments, then people are left confused and frustrated. (188)