This review will be quite short, because the book it is about is quite short, and I think it is well worth reading. If you are a pastor, church planter, or otherwise involved in church and mission in the UK, you should read this book, not because it is right, but because it is deeply helpful and sheds some light on the realities of mission in the UK.
Knowing Our Times: how British culture impacts our mission is a superb little book by the National Director of the FIEC. But that isn’t strictly relevant to just how useful it is. John starts in the right place – ‘knowing our eschatological times’ – and reminds us of where we are, all things considered. We don’t need to be afraid, as Christians, because actually the church has been here, or somewhere very similar, before. One of the most helpful aspects is the honest observation about the state of various churches, evangelical and otherwise, in the UK, and seeing that as a cause for prayer and encouragement for mission. As a non-conformist, John has a robust ecclesiology, which meshes well (if perhaps uncomfortable for Church of England friends) with his take on the state of the church in England today.
A lot of books on mission and culture that I’m aware of as being popular in UK evangelicalism and beyond have broadly American roots. This is no bad thing! But ‘British culture’ is quite an odd mish-mash, and so a book focused on this is an invaluable tool. With a mix of research and reflection, John unpacks some of the challenges, opportunities and realities of the church in the UK, and what it might mean for the faithful proclamation of the gospel, so that more and more people might come to know Jesus.
This is not just a book for FIEC leaders – it would be a valuable read for anyone passionate about the people of Britain meeting Jesus. At around 70 pages, it isn’t a huge read, but is a helpful tool for leaders and evangelists to think about what mission looks like today.