Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Book Snap: Charles Roesel's "It's A God Thing"

It’s a God Thing is not, strictly speaking, an apologetics book. But I want to highlight it because it mirrors an important point I’ve been making for a while. Before we begin, though, some disclosure.

Charles Roesel, the author, is the father of my local ministry partner, Carey Roesel. He is also pastor emeritus of First Baptist Leesburg (FL), a prominent church in the mostly rural county to my west.  But I’d write this review as I do even if none of that were true. I’ve said a few times that if the church as a whole were doing its job, we wouldn’t need things like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare. FBC-L under Pastor Roesel was (and still is, under the new pastor) one of the few churches I know of that is actually fulfilling its mission properly. It’s a God Thing is a sort of manifesto for “ministry evangelism,” which is the phrase Roesel uses to describe the mission.

How is that mission fulfilled? At FBC-L it is fulfilled with a wide variety of ministries associated with the church. You’ll find everything there from a ministry for homeless men to counseling to a thrift store to services at nursing homes. The campus of FBC-L is filled with buildings dedicated to ministry. One of these is a local motel that was purchased to house the homeless.

In an age when so many of our churches are engaged in frivolous pursuits like building swimming pools, this is a refreshing difference. Roesel knows that the Gospel comes with responsibilities. Like me, and like Carey, Charles Roesel sees that the church is losing members, and he knows why: We’re not doing our job. To answer the obvious question: Yes, he also thinks we need more in the way of apologetics as a ministry, too, though in the book this would be under the rubric of discipleship and education (as I agree it should be). He and I have talked in person, of course, so I know how he feels about it.

At about 84 pages, this book is an easy read which you can pick up to give you an idea how those responsibilities can be fulfilled. I wish there were more pastors like Charles Roesel around – even though if there were too many, I’d be out of a job!

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