Rediscovering the Essential Nature of Christian Community

The coronavirus pandemic has affected the lives of people in the world over. Especially early in, the world saw economic difficulties as businesses closed, and commerce came to a trickle. The effects that the pandemic has brought extend beyond economic and political, they also extend to social interactions, which also include weekly religious activities. Churches the world over stopped meeting completely for several weeks, that extended into a few months in many cases early in 2020. Even as infection numbers declined in the summer of 2020 churches met at lowered capacity to continue to offset social interactions. As a result, many people who were on the margins of religious activity or even those who were affiliated nominally began to drop out of church attendance all together. Conversely, it is crucial that churches encourage their people to return to participation in Christian community as it is a vital part of following Christ. It is extremely difficult to follow Christ isolated from other believers. For this reason, Collin Hansen and Jonathan Leeman published a short book titled Rediscover Church: Why the Body of Christ is Essential published in Crossway (2021)

In the book, Hanson and Leeman exhort followers of Christ, particularly in the in an American context, to rediscover the beauty and necessity of the Christian community. For many, as the pandemic lingers, church attendance has been difficult. I do not believe that the authors are intending to pick on those who have health conditions that have made it difficult to gather in larger groups, or those who have a difficulty coming to church in general due to extenuating circumstances. However, their call is to those who have, for whatever reason, used the pandemic as an excuse to neglect the assembly of themselves with other believers. Using a simple yet clear statement of what a biblical church is called to be, Hansen and Lehman walk through Each line of the statement in the subsequent chapters of the book.

“A church is a group of Christians who assemble as an earthly embassy of Christ’s heavenly kingdom to proclaim the good news and commands of Christ the King to affirm one another as his citizens through the ordinances; and to display God’s own holiness and love through a unified and diverse people in all the world, following the teaching and example of elders.”**

– Collin Hansen and Jonathan Leeman

This statement succinctly describes what a biblical church is called to be. Although the book is primarily written to Christians in a western context, the beauty of this statements simplicity extends beyond the borders of any one country and the societal implications of anyone people group. This is what is a Church is called to be in the New Testament. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the church will endure. As the apostle Paul says in Romans 8, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (v.38-39, ESV). And as Jesus promised, “the gates of hell will not prevail against [the Church]” (Matthew 16:18). Yet, even as Jesus is holding fast to his bride, the individuals who make up the body of Christ are called to hold fast to Jesus and the other members of the believing community.

Rediscover Church is an excellent yet challenging resource, as it causes the reader to consider the reasons why they need to participate in church gatherings once again. It is an excellent resource also for church staff to read in an effort to encourage other members of the body as they walk through the nuances of the pandemic and the effects of it has caused on the local church. This is a very needed resource for the church in this cultural moment. No pandemic or persecution, nor any difficulty throne at Christ’s Church can throw it off its mission of making disciples of all nations. It is precisely when the church finds it self in difficult days that it thrives the most. We are in such times.


Editor’s Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


**Taken from Rediscover Church by Collin Hansen and Jonathan Leeman, Copyright © 2021, pp. 26. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.