Trends in church life have boomeranged in every direction during the past few decades, causing well-meaning church leaders to chase after the next big thing that ensures church growth. In Reverberation, Jonathan Leeman brings the search for an elusive key back where it belongs: Godís Word. Leemanís thesis is that all spiritual life begins and continues with the Word. We hear it, encourage each other with it, pray through it, evangelize it, sing it, and live it. All of these actions are centered on the speaking and hearing of the Word, and reverberate outward into all facets of the believerís life.
As Jesus told Martha in her busyness (which was on His behalf!), ďMartha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:41-42). Leemanís appeal to leaders to refocus on Godís words and less on techniques is a wake-up call to those trying to be hip or culturally relevant.
The first part of Reverberation covers the ministry of the Word. The author explains how it not only pulls some seemingly hostile people into the family of God, but also drives others away who have chosen to reject God. And although we are tempted to make the gospel more appealing so that we donít offend potential Christians, Leeman assures us that our role is to be faithful to Godís Word and allow the Lord to do what He will in the lives of others. Also covered in this section are the truths that God acts, frees his people, and gathers his church by his Word. Basically, Godís power is unleashed through his Word.
Addressed primarily to pastors and teachers, the second section stresses the importance of preaching the Word within the local church. Leeman gives three main functions that Scripture fulfills in a sermon: it exposes what God says (without changing or embellishing it), it announces the good news of Jesus Christ (gospel), and it confronts the listenerís reality and replaces it with Godís reality. All of this, it must be asserted, occurs through the power of the Holy Spirit who gives wisdom, discernment, and enlightenment to the Christian who hears.
In the last section, Leeman describes the outer rings of the reverberation of the Word: singing, praying, discipling, and evangelism. He is brief, but makes his points plainly and effectively. When we sing, we sing truths from the Scriptures. When we pray, we pray the way the Bible demonstrates. When we disciple, or counsel, one another, we do it in the wisdom of the Word. With evangelism, he rightly points out that our mission on earth is not to evangelize, but to glorify God, and in the process we will naturally be sharing our faith in the Lord with others.
Overall, Jonathan Leeman writes with simplicity and biblical accuracy, grounding each point in Scripture and exemplifying it in real-life scenarios. In addition to ample biblical support, the author lists excellent recommended reading at the end of each chapter. My immediate reaction to reading this book was one of relief! As a sincere follower of Christ, I can easily get wrapped up with trying to do all the right things within ministry, and lose the beauty of Godís power and plan. Only one thing is necessary Ė to sit under the teachings of God and let the Spirit change my heart and those in my care. Reverberation is easily the most important book pastors, elders, and other church leaders could read this year. Ė Stacy Oliver, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
What is the most effective way to grow a church? It's not a new methodology or cultural outreach strategy, it's...the Word of God. In this book, Jonathan Leeman wants you to realize that the Word, working through God's Spirit, is responsible for the growth of God's church and we need to trust it! Leeman not only informs and equips the leadership of local churches for greatest effectiveness in their preaching ministry but explains how to translate that into the life of the church throughout the week. The book also deals with two errors - not trusting the Word (resulting in a pragmatic ministry philosophy) and not living in light of the Word, (resulting in a ministry philosophy of "preaching is enough").
Reverberation explains the pulpit ministry and traces the theme of how the Word continues through the life of the church. Both theological and practical, Reverberation focuses on how the church hears, responds, discusses, implements and is transformed by the Word. No high-octane production, superstar personalities, or postmodern entreaties, just stuff that is really old, really good, and really powerful!