Monday, January 22, 2018

Gospel Fluency Handbook Review

Gospel Fluency Handbook is a great complimentary group guide to go along with the Gospel Fluency book. Although you can do it completely independent from the book, I would recommend also getting the book by Jeff Vanderstelt. As with any guide or handbook it is important to remember that they are just that, guides and handbooks. While this book is not the gospel it absolutely points one and a group to the gospel, which is one of the aspects I appreciate most.

The book may catch some by surprise in the beginning, especially those that consider themselves believers, because it calls everyone an unbeliever in the first chapter. This is framed in such a way to help show that we all struggle with ongoing unbelief in our lives. It would be easy for those outside of any type of church leadership to think that they are isolated and alone in this, which is why it is so impactful to have leaders like Jeff and Ben to openly admit they too struggle with unbelief even as pastors.

The book from here points us to the gospel at all levels. First, it points the individual to the gospel within themselves. Second, it points the gospel to the collective group. Third, it points to the gospel in others. There are many extras included with this handbook such as the leader guide, supplemental videos, and sharing communion in community.

One of the many things that excites me about this handbook is the accessibility of it for everyday believers everywhere. I will say that I believe going through this handbook is best done within the context of community. It would be great for churches to use within existing small group or missional communities or it can even be a group you decide to take through it that has a mix of those outside the church altogether that agree to walk through the handbook over the course of a given period of time.

The handbook is fluid in the sense that the authors give you the structure, but it is made in such a way that you can also tailor to fit the needs of the group. You can speed through it in an immerse type setting or take a few months to slowly work through it.

Do not think of Gospel Fluency so much as a "how to" full of opinion, but it is a practical guide to speaking the truths of Jesus into the everyday stuff of life. Jeff and Ben did not write this book out of their opinions and experience and then find Scripture passages to fit, but rather they wrote the book from Scripture and filled with the truths that one needs to actually speak the gospel in the mundane day to day life stuff.

Tim Keller said, "The 'gospel' is not only the ABC's of the Christian life, how one gets started, but the A-Z of the Christian life." Vanderstelt and Connelly have provided a resource to help Christians move beyond thinking that the gospel is only the ABC's and actually provides the church with a guide how to live the gospel in the A-Z.

I would highly recommend this handbook as a resource for Sunday school classes, small groups, and missional communities (even though I believe those are three different things). This is a gift to the Church and one that I hope to see on many shelves around the country. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.