by Léonce B. Crump Jr.
Trade Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Multnomah Books
Released: Feb. 16, 2016
Source: ARC review copy from the publisher.
Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
God is not wiping this world away. He is in the midst of renovating it. Léonce Crump, lead pastor of Renovation Church in the urban core of Atlanta, invites you to do what God did when He wanted to make a difference in this world – move in.
Whether you’re a pastor looking to plant a church, a missionary preparing to serve in a far-off land, a family preparing to move into a new community, or a follower of Jesus simply looking to engage more deeply in your current neighborhood, Léonce reveals how our agendas can often sabotage achieving real change in our world. Léonce and his family found that, before we can preach or reach others, we must first know the story of a place and its people – especially since skin color, cultural norms, and economic status often isolate us more than bringing us together.
Renovate is about becoming an active part of your community. It's mainly targeted at people who live in big cities. The author advocates putting down roots (rather than moving frequently) and getting to know an area's past and present so you can effectively impact the future. Instead of coming in to do what you think needs to be done, you discover what the locals want and need to help them flourish. He talked about avoiding classism, racism, and gentrification.
But much of the book was a look at Scripture to argue that our faith should have social as well as spiritual aspects. He argues that the belief that we will "go to heaven" has focused our efforts on saving souls while ignoring the physical world. He argues that there will be a physical world after Christ returns, so we should join now in God's restoration of his [physical] world. That God will remove the infection of sin from the world and bring about a complete healing of creation.
While I agree that the Scriptures talk about a "new heavens and a new earth," I understand that to mean "new" not just "fixed up" or "disinfected." Yet I think other verses support the idea of helping improve people's physical circumstances along with meeting their spiritual need for Christ. I have put down roots and gotten to know my community. I live in a rural area without a lot of diversity, though. I was disappointed that I didn't get much useful to my situation out of the book.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.