His main question throughout the book is "How can we in the church best unleash the people of God in the Spirit of God with the Word of God for the glory of God in the world" (3). The book is very easy to read. What I mean is the style of writing, not the content. The content is not easy to read because Platt calls us as Christians to be, well, radical. And he calls our churches to be radical. But radical for a purpose, for our calling is not this world or the physical possessions it offers, but to live for Jesus & the eternal. If that means we have less here so more people can hear the good news of Jesus, so be it. If it means I have to downsize my house so people can be taken care of physically, so be it. Or if that means our church needs to get rid of that program I just absolutely love so money can be freed up to take the gospel to some foreign tribe that has never heard of Jesus, so be it. That's the radical lifestyle.
This book is about how we do church. Are we going to give up those good things in our church that we really do not need in order to free up money to spread the name of Jesus, as a church. He says that a church "is a community of individuals who have lost their lives to follow Christ" (10). I don't think many Christians think about losing their life. I agree with Platt, but it is radical! He is asking churches (and particularly church leaders) to ask the question of what needs to stay and what needs to go. What programs or activities need to be eliminated, even if they are good ones, in order to spread the good news of Jesus further into this world.
In chapter five, he asks the church to think not about who they are going to reach in their local community, but in the world. Many churches target certain audiences. He calls them "Brook Hills Bob" (the name of his church is Brook Hills). Brook Hills Bob is the average person that will come to his church, and the thinking by many church growth experts is if you can figure out how to reach them, you will know how to reach your community. But Platt says they want to reach Brook Hills Baruti. Baruti is someone in some foreign culture who has never heard the name of Jesus. They want to reach him. The strategize and organize and work so that Baruti hears the gospel. Having this mindset changes everything. Listen to his words:
"This changes everything about how we do ministry at Brook Hills. If our goal is all nations, then our strategy cannot be defined by what will best reach people within ten miles of our church building. If our goal is all nations, then our strategy must always revolve around what will best reach people who are ten thousand miles from our church building. This does not mean we neglect Brook Hills Bob . . . we are going to reach Bob and all kinds of other people in our community. But as they come to Christ, we are going to encourage them to spend their lives spreading the gospel to Baruti" (89).One last thing, this book could be used for small groups in a church. He has done a great job of putting study guide questions at the end of the book that will make you think. There are things that I am wrestling through with this book, but I am not sure if it is because it is wrong or I just don't like what that might mean for my life. Time will tell!
I received a copy of the book: Radical Together by David Platt from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for review.