Are there gaps between what our churches believe and what we do?
Has our theology failed to keep pace with our practice?
Tackles contradictions between belief and practice
Based on a church leader’s day-to-day experiences
What is the root of many of the problems we experience in church? Why are our churches often places of stress and strain rather than peace and renewal? In Bridging the Gaps, Trevor Neill shines a compassionate light on the rampant and often unacknowledged contradictions of the contemporary UK Church. Demonstrating how these inconsistencies impact us both individually and collectively, he explores the roots of the gaps and their damaging spiritual, social and cultural consequences today.
Author Trevor Neill believes that, often, the problems we face in our churches are caused by our failure to be honest – with ourselves, with others and even with God. He thinks there are many ways in which our congregations are sharing life together that place a strain on people. We’re running around doing lots of great work on communal kingdom projects like foodbanks and debt counselling, but we have a theology of individual salvation which makes it ‘hard for us to realise their deeper redemptive purpose’. We are often exhausting ourselves by ‘doing’, an activism which on the surface seems to be driven by devotion to God but which might actually reflect a lack of trust, a feeling that things won’t happen in church unless we get on and do them. Our day-to-day experience of God is often falling short of what we’ve been led to expect we’ll find.
The book is aimed primarily at church leaders and pastors and those who serve on teams alongside them. Each chapter finishes with a series of questions which could also make it the basis of a series of home group studies or as healthy conversation starters in churches, giving people a common language with which they can name some of the challenges they’re facing. Written by a local pastor, someone who is facing these issues day to day in an average sized congregation, it is accessible, perceptive and realistic.
Trevor says, ‘I love the local church and also the privilege of spending every day immersed in a community of believers, some discovering what it means to follow Jesus and others who have years of wisdom to share, some coming to faith and others clinging on to it, each looking to serve God in the places where they live in the day to day. Bridging the Gaps is written out of that love for the church, out of the frustration I’ve felt in the many moments I see us misunderstanding each other and unable to make sense of the tensions and contradictions that are under the surface for all of us, and also out of a hope that naming these issues and the problems can be the start of overcoming them.’
With a passionate confidence in God and His people, Trevor shows how we can bridge the gaps one person and one church at a time, transforming our congregations and communities. Will you take up the challenge?
Bridging the Gaps by Trevor Neill (ISBN: 978-1-912726-15-8) is published by Instant Apostle and is available on 16th January 2020 from Christian bookshops, bookstores and online retailers. Non-fiction, 192pp, £8.99.