There are few contemporary authors who have influenced me as much as Tim Chester. The Gospel-Centred Church (co-authored with Steve Timmis, and later expanded in Total Church) & Good News to the Poor were books that both radically changed my thinking, as well as giving words to a general unease in my soul when it came to contemporary church. Neither of these books are simply easy-out deconstruction of contemporary evangelicalism but are an attempt to address significant issues with solid theological reasoning and a call to a radical gospel-centred, counter-cultural lifestyle.
Here is a short introduction to Tim’s New Book, “A Meal with Jesus”
“Hospitality involves welcoming, creating space, listening, paying attention, providing. Meals slow things down. Some of us don’t like that. We like to get things done. But meals force you to be people-oriented instead of task oriented. Sharing a meal is not the only way of building relationships, but it is number one on the list.”
“Many people love the idea of community. But when we eat together we encounter not some theoretical community, but real people with all their problems and quirks. The meal table is an opportunity to give up our proud ideals by which we judge others and accept in their place the real community created by the cross of Christ with all its brokenness. It’s easy to love people in some abstract sense and preach the virtues of love. But we’re called to love the real individuals sat round the table.”
“Jesus spent his time eating and drinking … His mission strategy was a long meal, stretching into the evening. He did evangelism and discipleship round a table with some grilled fish, a loaf of bread and a pitcher of wine.”
You could also read an excellent interview with Tim here:
One final quote from the interview:
“The great thing about using meals to do community and mission is that it doesn’t add anything to your busy schedule. We already have 21 ready-made opportunities each week. Nor do you have some kind to special missiological training. You just need to love Jesus, love people and enjoy eating! It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Sometimes you may want to make a special effort and celebrate the goodness of creation in a fancy meal. But most of the time it is just a question of sharing an ordinary meal with people.”