My copy of the book Call to Commitment finally arrived in the mail and I've been reading it in every spare minute. The book was written in 1963 and tells the story of Church of the Savior in Washington D.C. This is a church who has said, as Jesus did, "Count the cost before you follow me. Take up your cross. Die to yourself and don't look back." Their story and their influence continues to this day. And while they most certainly do things differently today than they did back in the 50's and 60's, the wisdom they've collected in this book is just as relevant to the church today as it was back then. Allow me to share a few quotes with you:
"The current easy access to membership is disturbing to many thoughtful Christians, some of whom are ministers of 'successful' churches, where plans are made, programs projected and projects adopted, which though in themselves worthy, do not serve the reconciling purpose. They become ends in themselves. Then people must be won to make possible the continuance of these programs rather than to enter a new life."
"It is easy for one generation to overthrow the structures of another and to think itself bold and adventurous. But the test comes in whether we can part with the structures we ourselves have created, for new forms, like the old, can come to represent safeness and security. The young have not proved more pioneering than those who have gone before them until they have been tested."
"We can discover the twentieth-century structures, learn modern techniques, and originate challenging programs, but these in themselves are not enough. They may win people to our organizations, but not to the living Christ. For this we need men and women abandoned to God, contagiously radiant because in their inner lives a conversation goes on with Him who is Lord."
"Although it is not adequately descriptive, in our congregation we speak of the professional minister and the nonprofessional minister. The value of this lies in the eventual acceptance of each member of his status as a minister, usually with the primary thrust of his ministry being in the world. The acceptance of this responsibility often takes time, because old patterns of thinkingar strong. But it is thrilling when it comes." (O'Connor, Elizabeth. Call To Commitment, New York, NY: Harper & Row. 1963.)
So, those are the most outstanding quotes (to me) from the first half of the book. I'll include some more from the second half, which I anticipate is going to be just as good.