John Crotts’ Loving the Church explains why regular attendance and participation in a biblically faithful church is of vital importance to a Christian’s spiritual wellbeing. The book chronicles the weekly meetings of six friends from assorted walks of life, summarizes their findings about the church, and reveals the implications of their beliefs for believers – all from the warm, loving atmosphere of a local coffee shop. Crotts’ main goal is to address the growing number of Christians who have left biblically faithful churches for family gatherings, Christian mission organizations, and watered down or even unbiblical denominations. Reasons for these departures range from the church’s intrusion on family time to negative experiences in bad churches to minor scheduling conflicts.
Throughout the book, Crotts gently reminds these confused believers of the supreme reasons for which God created the church, but also warns them of the spiritual risks they run by not being actively involved in one. Ultimately, Crotts declares that attending, loving, and being involved in the church is not just an option; it is a direct order from God. This is in direct agreement with 1 Corinthians 14:26, which says: “When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.”
Crotts’ extensive pastoral background allows him accurately to describe Christ’s blueprint for the visible church and to explain how it impacts individual members. Loving the Church is divided into two segments: “What Is God’s Family?” and “How You Fit into God’s Family.” The chief intent of the first section is to explain the purposes and functions of the church, as they are outlined in the New Testament. The second part of the book discusses how God uses Christians of all shapes and sizes to mold the church into a fully operational body. The six coffee shop regulars serve to mirror the book’s intended audience, as well as to highlight the importance of diversity to fruitful Christian fellowship.
Although not all church members are Christians and not all Christians regularly attend church, God designed the church to give much needed instruction, support, and fellowship to its members. Crotts highlights the importance of the church in keeping Christians spiritually healthy and fully prepared for Christ’s return. This is supported by Hebrews 10:25, which states: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Crotts further explains that “God wants you and your family to be all you can be spiritually. He made the church part of the process to get you there!”
Loving the Church is a well-written, practical book, chock-full of supporting Scripture. The book is the perfect length: brief yet detailed, and certainly never prolonged or tedious. Although the coffee shop conversations might seem out of place in a theological book, they are what help make this book applicable to present-day Christians. This book is highly recommended for all Christians: especially chronic church-hoppers and those seeking to overcome negative church experiences. – Nick Van Heest, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Loving the Church reminds us how glorious God's family really is, and the countless ways that you can flourish within it. In recent years the family has experienced a revival within Christian culture, but with this increased emphasis on the importance of the family, less value has been placed on God's family, the church. Loving the Church explains the importance of God's family and explores the beauty and joy of being a member of the household of God.