What should the church look like? Who should make up the church? These are very important questions that most of us don’t stop to ask. Many would answer that Christians should make up the church. Some would say that the broken, needy, and hurting should be in the church. These are good answers, but Scot McKnight wants to help us answer this question. In his recent book A Fellowship Of Differents, his answer to the question, “What then is the church supposed to be?” is a mixed salad. The church should be made up of a different people. What most of us see and are accustomed to, however, is a group of people who are all relatively similar. While the church that I grew up in had different kinds of people, the overwhelming majority of them seemed to be like me.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with a bunch of people like me in the church, that’s not all the church is supposed to look like. McKnight argues that, “The church is God’s worldchanging social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together are designed by God to be. The church is God’s show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a family.“ The church is for and should have different kinds of people. God wants the world to see that his love and his grace is for all kinds of people.
For many of us, we just don’t think about it. We define church by our experience, which for most is sadly not very diverse. This book challenges those assumptions. McKnight shows how from the very beginning the church was a radically diverse body. In the earliest centuries of the church it was made up of men, women, children, slaves, free, Romans, Greeks, Jews, rich, and poor. It was a group unlike any other bringing everyone together in fellowship around the table of Jesus Christ.
So why is this important? Why should our churches be full of different people? McKnight’s answer to that question is that “a local church really does shape what we think the Christian life is all about.” When our churches lack diversity, the lack a full picture of what the kingdom of God should look like. This makes is harder to reach all kinds of people with our churches.
I believe that this is an extremely important book for American churches right now. We are at a point in our culture where we can continue to make the church about ourselves or we can make it the fellowship of differents that it was designed to be from the beginning. The church was made for all people and our local churches should really be for all people. If we are not careful, certain people will be invisible to our churches. We won’t see how they could belong. I know that this book opened my eyes even more to the continued need for diversity in the church. I hope that you will take the time to pick up this book and let it challenge your view of the church.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”