Move Toward the Mess: The Ultimate Fix for a Boring Christian Life by John Hambrick Published by David C. Cook
I am constantly reminded as I walk in malls, in hospitals and in churches that we live in an antiseptic culture. We fear infection. Go anywhere and there is the ubiquitous hand sanitizer. While I do support universal precautions within the clinical context John Hambrick reminds us that as Christians we do not have the luxury of ministering in a clean, germ free environment. He invites us to move toward the mess.
Early in the book the author tells about going into a large, unfamiliar mall and finding the directory of the stores so he could locate himself and where he wanted to go. He found that someone had scraped off the “You are here” sticker so he still did not know where he was and therefore didn’t how to get to where he wanted to go.
His book is a good resource for churches who want find out where they are. A church can then decide if it wants to go anywhere. His book will be a tough sell for churches who want everything neat and clean. In my opinion some Christians may read the book and decide to stay right where they are because there are germs out there.
I find it strange some churches are foregoing the shaking of hands and, in my tradition, the washing of feet and because of the fear of germs. I do not know of any medical journal detailing the story of someone who died because he/she shook hands. But I digress…
The author continues a theme addressed in an earlier book by Mike Yaconelli entitled Messy Spirituality. Both books remind us that working with people is messy. It is not sterile but it is necessary to move towards the mess if we want to engage culture and reach people for the Kingdom.
Mr. Hambrick takes us from Georgia to Northern Ireland to Pakistan to introduce us to people who moved towards the mess. He writes about ministries begun to reach those who need Jesus. He writes about a couple who took prostitutes into their home. He tells us about a man who builds homes.
This book isn’t just about people who have been given extraordinary gifts. This is about ordinary people who were touched by the God of compassion and who in turn want to touch (literally and figuratively) others with the good news of the Kingdom.
And some of the people who moved toward the mess started ministries years ago that continue to this day under the leadership of others drawn to the mess. One of these ministries is Wycliffe Bible Translators.
Each chapter ends with a hint about the next chapter drawing us in. Each chapter ends with a series of discussion questions about the chapter just read. These discussion questions make this book a valuable resources for churches serious about getting their hands dirty.
The final section of the book gives practical information on how to take the ideas and illustrations and put them into practice.
I highly recommend this book and I will promote it whenever I have the opportunity.
I was given a copy of this book by the publisher through NetGalley.com with only the understanding that I would write a review.