Comparative Book Review

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Comparative Book Review

By | Feb. 2005
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Comparative Book Review
Rediscovering church – Lynne and Bill Hybels

This book was written the founder and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church and his wife. Willow Creek is located in suburban Chicago. It has a weekly attendance approaching 20000. In this book the Hybels share part of their story in pasturing Willow Creek and a little bit of their philosophy of ministry. The underlying theology assumed by the author is that the church has the power to change the world. His theology seems to be more church-centric rather then Christocentric. I would not call Hybels a theologian. He presents very basic evangelical theology. This is in sharp contrast to Guder's book, which has very sophisticated theologically developed views on the nature of the church. There is no discussion of God's relationship to his creation or the kingdom. Actually there is very little kingdom talk. The emphasis seems to be that the local church is very important. But there is no connection to the global catholic (universal) church. This again contrasts Guder's global outlook. Guder does not discount the importance of the local church, but wisely sets it within the context of the global communion. The local church is primarily seen as a vehicle of evangelism and fellowship. I was surprised that Hybels says nothing about the importance of worship. I have come to the conviction that churches should be primarily worshipping community. All other activities (evangelism, teaching, discipleship, social care etc.) flow from this primary calling of worshipping the triune God. But Guder also does not address the issue of worship. Rather he is setting out a "map" for our missional witness in the world. The philosophy of ministry is outlined by Hybels most clearly in ten and twelve. In chapter ten he basically presents a message given by Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian at a church leadership conference at Willow Creek. The four key elements of a healthy church are: teaching, fellowship, evangelism...

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