Well, this is it: the third and final book review of the church trilogy by Joe Thorn. I was encouraged by all three books equally well, as each touched on important topics within the body of Christ.
The Life of the Church is, once again, a short, quick read, spanning only 106 small pages. It is broken up into three parts: (1)The Table, (2)The Pulpit, and (3)The Square. The Table focuses three chapters on the community of believers within the local church, namely "small groups" where life happens more organically. The Pulpit focuses the reader on preaching and worship over four chapters. Finally, The Square, surrounded the concept of evangelism, or "the church in the world".
I think the most important chapters in this little book -- while I found something beneficial in each one -- is chapter 5: The Word in Worship. Sadly, many churches today use the Bible in minimal ways, reading only small snippets that offer surface level encouragement. While this can be somewhat helpful, these snippets can be dangerously taken out of context. Additionally, many pastors only read a verse or two in order to proof-text what it is they want to speak about, rather than mining it for its instruction and wisdom. Thorn, in chapter 5 and the following chapters in the Part, does a great job drawing the reader's attention to how the entire worship gathering must be centered upon God's Word.
I truly believe that book 1 ("The Heart of theChurch"), book 2 ("The Character of the Church"), and book 3 (“The Life of the Church”) will be good resources for a church's bookstore and in new member classes. They are simple reading, not requiring much effort or time. But they inspire the desire to dive deeper into various issues of interest. So, the book (and the series) is perfect for the busy person who wants to read good theology is that isn't too "heady".
RATING: I give "The Life of the Church" 5 out of 5stars. You'll want to pick up all three books if you're going to pick up even one!
DISCLAIMER: I received this book free of charge from Moody Publishers in exchange for my unbiased review of it. All opinions are mine, and I was not required to provide a positive review of it.