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Breaking News: Nine Steps to Becoming the Good News the World Could Use

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If Christians are called to bring the Good News into the world, why are churches dismissed as divisive, or judged as judgmental? New reports indicate people are leaving the church in record numbers. What can we, as followers of Christ, do to reverse this trend and change the headlines? In his new book, pastor and author Chris Altrock explores nine effective strategies for If Christians are called to bring the Good News into the world, why are churches dismissed as divisive, or judged as judgmental? New reports indicate people are leaving the church in record numbers. What can we, as followers of Christ, do to reverse this trend and change the headlines? In his new book, pastor and author Chris Altrock explores nine effective strategies for approaching ministry and the world in ways that are shaped by biblical themes such as birth, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, Pentecost, and return. Altrock guides you in experiencing the personal and church renewal that comes by living out each of these for today. As Altrock shows, the way in which Jesus became Good News is the same way we can become the Good News the world could desperately use right now. Each chapter concludes with "Breaking Good News Through Your Life" and "Breaking Good News Through Your Church," leading you, your small group, or leadership team to put what you read into practice out in the world and in your faith community.


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If Christians are called to bring the Good News into the world, why are churches dismissed as divisive, or judged as judgmental? New reports indicate people are leaving the church in record numbers. What can we, as followers of Christ, do to reverse this trend and change the headlines? In his new book, pastor and author Chris Altrock explores nine effective strategies for If Christians are called to bring the Good News into the world, why are churches dismissed as divisive, or judged as judgmental? New reports indicate people are leaving the church in record numbers. What can we, as followers of Christ, do to reverse this trend and change the headlines? In his new book, pastor and author Chris Altrock explores nine effective strategies for approaching ministry and the world in ways that are shaped by biblical themes such as birth, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, Pentecost, and return. Altrock guides you in experiencing the personal and church renewal that comes by living out each of these for today. As Altrock shows, the way in which Jesus became Good News is the same way we can become the Good News the world could desperately use right now. Each chapter concludes with "Breaking Good News Through Your Life" and "Breaking Good News Through Your Church," leading you, your small group, or leadership team to put what you read into practice out in the world and in your faith community.

1 review for Breaking News: Nine Steps to Becoming the Good News the World Could Use

  1. 4 out of 5

    Robert D. Cornwall

    What is the good news and how should it be shared? These are central questions for Christians to consider. Chris Altrock is a Church of Christ preaching minister serving a church in Memphis, Tennessee, who believes there is good news to share and that Christians haven't always been too good at sharing it. Or, better yet, being that good news. Altrock speaks both of message and means in this new book, that has strong evangelical overtones, but also shows a broader concern for society. In the book' What is the good news and how should it be shared? These are central questions for Christians to consider. Chris Altrock is a Church of Christ preaching minister serving a church in Memphis, Tennessee, who believes there is good news to share and that Christians haven't always been too good at sharing it. Or, better yet, being that good news. Altrock speaks both of message and means in this new book, that has strong evangelical overtones, but also shows a broader concern for society. In the book's first chapter Altrock lays out his premise: "We strive for a gospel revival in our congregations and in our own lives, so that we might participate in the gospel revival in the surrounding culture" (p. 12). He writes for congregants. The book is designed for both personal and group use, with guidelines for a five week group study that invites personal and congregational reflection on the ways in which the good news breaks into life and congregation. How then do individuals and congregations embody the gospel? Altrock answers with a nine step process that follows Jesus' life from birth through his life, death, resurrection, ascension, and final return. Before he gets to the nine steps, he speaks of the "downside of the good news," by which he means the gospel's implications for earth (upside is heaven). Like many evangelicals today, Altrock wants to make sure that Christians are no longer so "heavenly minded that they're of no earthly good." He speaks of kingdom in terms that seek to bring it into our human context, and he's clear that Jesus is the king. There are, he suggests seven chapters (related to nine steps) to the gospel. While the cross is a central chapter, it's not the only chapter. Thus, these are the seven chapters: birth, ministry, crucifixion, resurrection, Ascension, Pentecost. and Return. Steps one and two relate to birth -- blessing and nearness (nativity). As for the steps regarding Jesus' ministry, with step three he speaks of surrendering "someday," by which he means that the kingdom is coming now. Then he moves the "treasure of the ordinary." In this chapter he speaks of Jesus' early, unexceptional life, and suggests that God can do great things through ordinary people and congregations. When I hear or read pastors of larger churches speak of ordinary (read small) churches I'm wondering if they really believe that small congregations like mine are really harbingers of good news. From there we move on to the cross, the resurrection, ascension (here he wants to lift up Jesus ascendancy to the throne where he rules all things. In the ascension, which he rightly notes we often neglect, is the reminder that Jesus now rules everywhere. From Ascension we move to Pentecost, where the Spirit begins to move outward. He speaks here of how in Pentecost restrictions are erased. racial and national, age and gender restrictions are all removed (I'll come back to this in a moment). Finally in step nine we wait and pray for Jesus' return. He invites us to face the future with hope, for with his return evil, injustice, violence, suffering will all end. The future he suggests will be bright. Having laid out his nine steps to how the Gospel spreads, he ends by speaking of how the church can become a community of many gospels. You might say that he thinks in terms of targeted gospels, where churches excel at addressing some communities better than others. He hopes that the church can do more, but knows that his congregation is doing better with middle class Americans than with other groups (isn't that true with many predominantly white suburban congregations?). There is much to commend about the book. Altrock reminds us that we have a full-0rbed gospel that starts with the birth of Jesus and concludes with the parousia. The cross is key, but it's not the only key. He speaks of inclusion and breaking down barriers. He wants the church to have a this-world effect. Although the language is fairly evangelical, I think it could fit nicely with a more "mainline" congregation like mine. Where I have reservations is in regards to how inclusive a vision he has. I speaks of gender inclusion and believes that his congregation does a pretty good job at including women, but he doesn't speak of women preaching or serving as elders in his congregation. This raises questions because I know that there are very few Church of Congregations that allow women to preach. Another related, but different concern emerges in the first chapter where he speaks of how the church often fails miserable at turning the good news into bad news. With this said he tells the story of a mother who shared her concern about whether the church is a safe place for her daughter who "was struggling with same-sex attraction." He doesn't say whether his church is that safe place, but I know that many evangelical churches say they are welcoming of LGBT folks, but place limits on how accepting they are. I know that churches fall short. Mine does. I as a pastor fall short. But I'm just wondering how welcoming of women and LGBT folks his congregation is. With these caveats, here's my thinking about the book. It's written for a lay audience. It's very accessible. As I would expect from someone within the Churches of Christ he is concerned to bring scripture into the conversation, though his interpretive conversation partners are more likely to be evangelicals like Scot McKnight, N.T. Wright, and Tim Keller, than Churches of Christ people. He brings a conversational tone, offering his own life as part of the conversation. So I liked it. It is a good reminder that while the church can be bad news, it needn't be. Instead, we can bring the good news to the world now, through our lives.

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