Book Review: The Spirit Filled Church

spirit churchWhat should church life be like? What values and principles should be evident to any observer? How should a church be led and who by and what gifts should we be looking for?

These are the questions that Terry Virgo addresses in The Spirit-Filled Church: Finding your place in God’s purpose. As the founding and father to the Newfrontiers family of churches this is a clear and accessible explanation to the way Newfrontiers has attempted to answer those questions. As a, largely, contented member and leader within that same family of churches it should be no great surprise to learn that I am in agreement with the positions taken. However even though it all seems ‘obvious’ to me, it was still a pleasure and a benefit to read the reasons so clearly articulated.

Terry makes the case for the baptism of the Holy Spirit and our need of it, the ongoing work of praying for the sick and other supernatural gifts; for churches committed to the teaching of and obedience to the Word of God; for churches that know and live out lives of grace, that are generous and compassionate to the poor; that love the presence and praise of Jesus and where genuine friendships are built. He also makes the case for anointed and appointed eldership that works freely and willingly with apostolic teams.

In each chapter Terry teaches, laying down his thinking through biblical examples and supplements these with personal examples. Whether you agree with Terry’s workings out or his conclusions on these various subjects that can be no doubt about the warmth and affection with which Terry holds the church. The book wins you over with its gentle insistence that, ‘wouldn’t it be great if the church, your church, was like this?’ It’s written in such a way that it’s hard not to find yourself saying, ‘yes it would be great’ or even ‘it is great, isn’t it!’

This is a clear presentation of a movement’s vision and values; a vision of how a church and all its members can get caught up with the will of God, the ways of God and the worship of God and what a local church might look and feel like as a result. How would I use this book? Primarily I’d give to anyone who was interested in joining my church or wanted to know more about our values and if they weren’t reading people then I’d use this to talk things through with them. This is a superb resource for that.

Personally I found the insights on leaders being able to confront with grace, the primacy of prayer in the life of a church and the chapters explaining grace and the baptism of the Holy Spirit to be outstanding and as such places I’d turn to again and again.

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