Monday, October 17, 2011

Zombie Church by Tyler Edwards

“There are zombie churches among us,” Edwards says. Genuine life has been lost and in its place is something...scary, lifeless. On the outside everything appears normal. People smile. People are personable. But you sense something is missing.
Some say it is so bad we should give up hope for the organized church. Edwards admits the church has flaws and gets things wrong. But, he says, “The church was instituted by God and He has a plan for her.”
At the core of the church's problem, Edwards says, are Christians who are not living what they say they believe. He has written this book “to address the problem, reveal its significance, and illuminate the path to healing this condition...” His “goal is to identify what is missing and look at possible ways to fix it so that the church can become what it was created by God to be.”
Zombies don't produce anything. They just wander aimlessly, consuming everything in their path. “When a church exists without purpose, it slowly turns into a Zombie church.” But God is gracious and willing to breath the life of the Spirit back into Zombis churches.
The church used to make demands of people but now there is a fear of turning someone away. No commitment is required. We should expect Christians to live out their faith. We should expect commitment. We should avoid the “dead weight” Christians who don't. “Basically, the undead contaminate the living.” (51) We must maintain a relationship for the purpose of restoration.
Belief dictates our actions. If we don't act, it's because we don't really believe. “If we don't live for God, then the truth is we don't really believe in God.” (54) We need to be motivated by love.
Edwards gives the symptoms of a zombie church. He describes the heart problem, apathy.

There is a simple cure: do something. Zombies are not intelligent – their brains are rotten and useless. (121) Edwards reminds us we are to love God with all our minds. Read Bible passages because you want to, because you want to know God better. He uses the parable of the talents to shock us out of our complacency. Why aren't we using our “talents”? “We don't really believe the master is coming back. It's that simple.” (143)

We are to evangelize. Sometimes we make it too hard. “Evangelism is simple: tell others what you know and let them decide what to do with it.” (146) Don't try to do God's work in your own human effort. Learn to utilize the awesome creative power of God.
Edwards suggests, “I think that God is bored. I think that God is bored with the petty faith of our American churches. When was the last time we did something that would require God to act?” (151) “What if we had a vision so big that only God could get credit for it if we pulled it off?” (152)
Edwards observes that the exodus from traditional churches is happening for a reason. “[People] are weary of showing up at the doors of the church looking for answers and leaving with a sense of disappointment and dissatisfaction.” (166) He reminds us of the importance of being in a community – church. “The church cannot really be the church until we engage in community with each other and invest in the world around us.” (173)
Surviving a zombie church, “...realizing what's going on and doing something before it's too late is key.” (178) Ultimately, it is up to us. “We are not responsible for others. We are responsible for ourselves. So don't worry about what everyone else is doing: get your part right. My final appeal to you,” Edwards writes, “is this: love.” (210)
“All it takes is one: one person who sets Jesus as their focus. One person dedicated totally to Him. One person willing to follow Jesus whatever the cost. One person who has life. The life of one can give life to many.” (120)

Tyler Edwards is the lead pastor at Cornerstone Chriswtian Church in Joplin, Missouri, where he works to help people learn how to live like Jesus, love like Jesus, and look like Jesus - so they carry out the mission of Jesus to the world.
He graduated from Ozark Christian College with bachelor's degrees in both Biblical Literature and christian Ministry.  He has written articles for Lookout Magazine, spoken at various campus ministry events in Missouri, and served overseas in Mbale, Uganda.
Tyler loves cheesy horror films.  He is particularly fond of movies like Dawn of the Dead, The Signal, and 28 Days Later, where zombies run wild and threaten to infect an entire town.

Buy this book from Amazon.

Kregel Publications, 211 pages.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

1 comment:

Tyler Edwards said...

Thank you for this review, it is very encouraging. When I sat down to write Zombie Church I went many sleepless nights working out what was on my heart. Over the course of the work I often wondered to myself: "Am I just crazy? Maybe I am just rocking a boat that doesn't need to be rocked because my brain is just wired funny." It is truly encouraging to know that these ideas are relevant and meaningful to others outside of my little concentric circles.