Book Review - Joining God, Remaking the Church, Changing the World: The New Shape of the Church in Our Time by Alan Roxburgh

At CLA, we believe that essential to the practices that shape our passion for the mission of God is developing a robust understanding for how to live as Christians in today’s world through reading. Alan Roxburgh has been a friend of CLA from its beginning and we would like to recommend this book, which we have reviewed for your reading pleasure, for you. The book is called, In Joining God, Remaking the Church, Changing the World: The New Shape of the Church In Our Time. If you have been interested in what is making our new churches so successful, this book is a great primer for beginning to understand the theology and practice that makes a difference. 


In Joining God, Remaking the Church, Changing the World: The New Shape of the Church In Our Time, the church has a beneficial new resource for reimagining the everyday church in North America. The book is well-suited for introducing people to the larger missional conversation and provides a deep sense of wisdom from a seasoned author, Alan Roxburgh. As with Roxburgh’s previous books, he includes a healthy balance of both theory and practice, as he explains how to think and act as a Christian in today’s world. 


Roxburgh does well to pack both Biblical and theological perspectives into his new book. Drawing from the Old and New Testaments, Alan includes various references to scripture and gives thoughtful reflections on those scriptures for people to better understand how they fit into the larger Biblical narrative of God’s mission. Alan also includes a robust historical perspective that helps people understand why the church is finding itself in the place that it is in the 21st century. Beginning with the middle of the 20th century, Roxburgh walks readers through the past seventy five years of what he describes as the “Euro-Tribal Protestant Church”. The Bible and Alan’s theological reflections on the Bible then continue into carving a new path forward for how churches can better participate within neighborhoods today. 


Alan does not leave readers with only lenses through which to view the world, but also introduces applicable practices within each of the chapters for how to be and act in the world. He does this in two ways. Firstly, embedded within the book are practical stories from various leaders throughout North America. These stories are pertinent for helping readers to better engage with the theory that Roxburgh discusses. All of the stories are tangible for the common reader. It will help readers that the practical stories are from different cities and consist of various denominations. Secondly, Alan includes numerous questions and exercises at the end of many of the chapters. These questions and exercises will be ideal for small groups of practitioners to better engage with Roxburgh’s work. 


In conclusion, Joining God, Remaking the Church, Changing the World: The New Shape of the Church in Our Time is an accessible book. It is relatively short, which adds to its accessibility. It is one hundred and eleven pages. There are minimal, but important footnotes for readers in case they decide that they’d like to go deeper into the missional conversation. And the language is reachable for anyone connected with the church. Pastors would do well share this book with curious parishioners, parishioners would do well to pass this book to leaders and/or pastors who are looking to have more of an impact on their culture. Overall, CLA works with dozens of people starting churches on the West Coast and we will be encouraging these pastors to include this book in their toolbox of tools that can guide people deeper into the Mission of God. We suspect that Roxburgh’s work with this book will be lasting and find its deepest impact in such groups.