Book Review by
As I skim over the books in my library, I see that most of those books clearly fall into easy-to-define categories like preaching, reference, Christian living, spiritual disciplines and so on. Even though I use those books often, there is a very small part of my library that challenges me and cannot be easily labeled like the rest of my collection. “Called to Stay: An Uncompromising Mission to Save Your Church” by Caleb Breakey is a book that fits into that category. It is written to those who have already or are planning to leave the church, and it calls them to stay and become agents of change. Breakey’s book comes from his own personal experience as a believer who was tired of the church not living up to its calling.
“Called to Stay” is easily divided into three sections. In the first, the author lays out clear biblical reasons for not abandoning the church. The first three chapters may be the best part of the book. They consist of some great arguments from Scripture and an introduction to the role of the infiltrator, a role that is referred to constantly throughout the book. Breakey encourages those who have been disenchanted with church to begin changing the church instead of leaving. He writes, “Investing in believers – no matter which spiritual stage they’re in – is a massive part of the great commission.”
The second section of the book is a practical, how-to guide to being an infiltrator. Breakey discusses the need to dig deep and get beyond the surface with other believers. He gives a number of questions and ways to take average conversations in a deeper spiritual direction. In this section, the author also deals with the role of the Holy Spirit, praying and dealing with emotions. The infiltrator gets to know other believers better by gauging how they respond to four areas of the Christian life: love, obedience, trust and knowledge.
In the concluding chapters, readers are told when they should leave the church and are encouraged to stay if their church does not meet those guidelines. At the end of each chapter, Breakey leads readers to an online video that discusses the chapter and invites them to have a discussion about the chapter with him and others through social media.
Overall, this book presents a great argument for staying in the church in spite of the flaws we so often see. While it is primarily written to the laity, pastors will also benefit from reading this book. Breakey did a great job of addressing a very current issue in the church from a biblical and practical standpoint.
Rusty Keltner is pastor of First Baptist Church in Corning. The Arkansas Baptist News welcomes book reviews from Arkansas Baptist pastors and church members on religion-based books, preferably published in the past six months. Reviews should be 350-400 words in length.