Just a quick heads-up about a book that was released today by my friend Tim Chester. Tim is a prolific author and has blessed the church with some phenomenal books over recent years, not least You Can Change, Captured By A Better Vision and A Meal With Jesus, as well as co-authoring Total Church and Everyday Church, to name just a few titles! He’s also director of Porterbrook Seminary and pastor of The Crowded House, Sheffield.

However, his latest book is especially exciting as it addresses an issue that I’m deeply passionate about. The book, titled “Unreached: Growing churches in working-class and deprived areas” is a timely, provocative and much-needed book that Tim has spent a long time researching and writing.

Here’s the blurb:

‘When I became a Christian, I didn’t have many Christian men to look up to. There were few who could show me what a council-estate Christian looked like.’ Duncan Forbes

Think of the thriving evangelical churches in your area, and the chances are that they will be in the nice areas of town and their leaders will be middle class.

Unreached is about reaching deprived, urban, working-class areas, often estates or housing schemes. It offers us the combined experience of the Reaching the Unreached working group http://www.reachingtheunreached.org.uk, an informal network of Christian leaders from different parts of the UK.

This book doesn’t claim to offer the final word, but it presents us with a vision of what can be done. We pray that it will start a vital process in all our hearts and minds.

Much of the content of Unreached has been shaped and inspired by the Reaching the Unreached working group, of which I am a member. I’m humbled that several of my blog entries that featured on the RTU site have been included in this book, but that’s not why I’m profiling the book here on my blog. I’m profiling it because it raises important questions about the mission and gospel ambitions for our churches in the UK to grapple with, not least how do we best serve and see the gospel take root in the poorest and most deprived communities in the UK? I’m so grateful to Tim for the thought, passion and courage that he has so clearly poured into this work.

Check out some of the things that people have been saying about Unreached:

“Tim Chester has done the church in the UK a great service. This is thoughtful analysis at its best, supplemented by some excellent practical suggestions and ideas for reaching a part of British community that is seriously under-represented in the life of the national church. Tim’s passion is to make sure that the under-represented are not the unreached!”

Stephen Gaukroger, Director of Clarion Trust International and former President of the Baptist Union.

“This book is the fruit of passionate engagement of local churches with struggling neighbourhoods across the UK. It offers flashes of penetrating insight and perception into the challenges and opportunities of ministry in our more deprived areas.”

Frog Orr-Ewing, Rector of Latimer Minster and Chaplain and Missioner to the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics.

“This is excellent. It breaks new ground, is outspoken and provocative, but issues a straightforward challenge which the evangelical community in the UK desperately needs to hear. In some places it will not be popular, but it is absolutely clear that the writing is driven by a missionary passion and by a profound desire to see truth transforming areas of our society which for far too long have been closed off to effective Christian witness because of the middle-class captivity of the majority of congregations., The work is enhanced by being based on actual experience, both of Tim and the colleagues he draws into this narrative, and it is further enriched by the intensely practical nature of its conclusions and suggestions.”

David Smith, Senior Research Fellow at International Christian College, Glasgow, and author of a number of books on Christian mission, including Seeking a City with Foundations.

“Tim Chester has worked hard to show how the raw, uncut gospel must be applied in the ‘unreached’ people groups of once ‘Christian’ nations. He writes form both ministry experience and a passion for the gospel. He is also wised-up about the missional challenges before us, bringing valuable practical insight and needed advice for the reader.”

Joel Virgo, Church Elder, Church of Christ the King, Brighton

So, GO BUY THE BOOK! You can find it here.

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