Paul Bradbury - Home by another route: reimagining today’s Church
Bible Reading Fellowship 128 pages £7.99 ISBN 976 0 85746631 0
This is a readable reflection on Ezekiel’s Dry Bones passage in Ezekiel Chapter 37. The author sees the prophet as a pioneer, who has a fresh God-given take on what can be done on the present and the future.
Paul Bradbury leads what he calls a missional community attached to the Church of England; he views the UK Church as a community in exile. By this the author means that the Church should operate within a society where Christianity does not provide the primary language or narrative for most people.
Bradbury finds a breathtaking hope of a homecoming in Ezekiel’s message to the exiles. Yet this homecoming, if it is to occur, might involve coming back by another route.
The author provides a useful spectrum for assessing the nature of church leadership: Church Replicators, who repeat that which has always been done; Pioneer Adaptors, who use things like Messy Church and Café Church to create fresh zones for people to explore Christianity, and Pioneer Innovators who use more explorative, low-key ways to get alongside those who are seeking to make sense of life, God and the universe.
I found this book to be a stimulating read but wondered if at times it fell between the stools of being an academic or a popular treatment. I think I would also have liked a little bit more meat on the bones concerning how Pioneer innovators “venture into the edges of postmodern culture”.
That said here is a timely invitation to reimagine the way we do church, that is open to the breath of the Spirit and seeks to be shaped to come alongside those beyond the “usual suspects”!
John Woods is pastor of Lancing Tabernacle in West Sussex
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