Saturday, July 21, 2012

Love Without Walls by Laurie Beshore

"Love without walls" by Laurie Beshore.

I recently received an ebook copy of "love without walls" From Zondervan.    

This book is the story of Mariner's church and the process behind their development of a community based ministry module. Before I get too far into this review Here is what's the publisher had to say about this title:

We see it all around us: Poverty. Unemployment. Crime. Hopelessness. Anger. Disenchantment. Injustice. We want to help. We want to do something. But what? Good intentions are good, but often our efforts at helping others can actually make things worse. And in many communities the church is viewed with suspicion, if not downright hostility. So how can churches effectively serve the needs of their communities in ways that communicate the love and grace of God? According to author Laurie Beshore, churches need to step up and take action, but it all begins by learning. You must get to know the people in your community and establish relationships built on mutual trust and respect. This is the compelling twenty-five year story of how Mariner's Church, a growing mega-church in Irvine, CA, began reaching out to their community and how they made more than their fair share of mistakes along the way. But these hard-earned lessons are now of immense value to a new generation of church leaders trying to serve their own communities that are skeptical, if not understandably suspicious, of the intentions of the 21st century church. Laced with ultra-practical teachings and transferable principles for churches and ministries of all sizes and styles, this is a book filled with potent lessons and powerful stories both heartbreaking and inspiring. 

I am active in my church. I am on boards. I oversee and run missions trips and teams through our church to multiple locations and in fact am in route to Haiti as I write this. Our church actively seeks to be apart of the community and partners with the homeless and a pregnancy resource clinic.  But year after year we fail. We fail to energize new volunteers. We don't engage them long term. We have a group of folks that we can count on to do every ministry. This is faulty but we as leadership in the church have not been able to get at the core of the problem.

Last year while traveling to Mexico I was introduced to a book "When Helping Hurts"  this began a journey in my heart to ensure our teams had an understanding of what helped and hurt on a psychological level.  Yet taking the data and details of that book and transferring it to anyone else was difficult. It was a college course on the poor.

This book is the practical outcome of hand up not had out thinking. This is a book of stories that our team needs to see and hear. It is unfortunate that DC and California are so distant. I would love to see this church in action and watch the inner workings of their team.

I would give this book a five star our of five star rating. Now let me state that this really has not just to do with the book itself but also with the timing in which this book came to me. The very concept of sharing steps and a solid process to others of how they can start these community based ministries is much needed. But the beauty in this book is not all just sitting in the process but also in the honesty of the process and explanations or examples. When they have succeeded they shared the stories but where they failed or lost focus they shared these stories as well.

This book is written to all churches in spite of their size or lack of.  It is written for all Christians in spite of their passions. Not one takes presedince over another. No one story is better or is given prominence in this book. In fact if any are they were the stories of missing the mark. This added a level of resonation to the reader that we all can try and fail.

This book is my dream church. Ministering at the Community, city, state out to the world. I pray that readers will take this book and put it info action in their communities.

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