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Matthew Hyam: I Still Have More Questions than Answers

 

Matthew Hyam, I Still Have More Questions than Answers: An Accidental Journey through Discipleship, Life and Leadership. (Cape Town, South Africa: Vineyard International Publishing, 2004), 164 pages.

Hyam writes reflectively as a pastor who is amazed at where God has brought him from and who is eager to go where God is leading. He recounts the beginning stages of unintentionally planting a new church and takes the reader through the stages of how this small group of friends becomes an established congregation. In doing so he is asking himself and his readers to reconsider the calling, function, and purpose of the church. He asks why do we do what we do and not what Jesus did?

Central to the thesis of this book are the questions one might ask in redesigning the daily outreach, work, and functioning of the church. He does not do this in a format that seeks to tear down any denomination or church tradition, but to challenge the daily living of the true Church—those who bear the name of Christ. Using simple business logic, Hyam thinks pragmatically about what the local church is suppose to “produce.” The product that is produced is a result of the present practices. Therefore, if you are completely satisfied with your church, then there is no reason to read this book. At the same time, he challenges the Evangelical paradigm for salvation, arguing that all too often there is a failure of discipleship. By contrast, he offers a redefinition of what he thinks discipleship should look like in the twenty-first century.

The process of rebuilding the daily reality of the healthy and functional church, according to Hyam, finds its foundation on the “great story of God.” The inward journey stands on two legs: the grace of God and the spiritual disciplines. Crucial to the life of the church is the genuine sense of community, which will be embodied in the concept of church family. Hyam champions two principle arms of outreach: the making of disciples and helping of the poor. Legs, body, and arms—with Jesus as the head—together forms an illustration of a man and an image of a healthy church (for this figure, visit Hyam’s church website: http://www.southamptonvineyard.org.uk/about/vineyardperson.html).

Hyam calls the church leader to rethink their assumptions of how church is to be done. In this he calls the church to place a renewed emphasis in the ministry to the poor, the disenfranchised, and the weak. He calls every believer into a renewed relationship with Jesus, not for the sake of doing religious acts, but to be the actualized body of Christ among those who are most needy. The challenge to care for one’s neighbor—and to ask who is my neighbor—is revived.

 

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Category: Living the Faith, Winter 2007

About the Author: John R. Miller is an ordained minister with Elim Fellowship of Lima, NY and serves as Pastor of Education with Living Word Temple of Restoration, Rochester, NY. He has a degree from Elim Bible Institute, a B.Div. (Trinity Theological Seminary), C.P.E. (University of Rochester), M.Div. (Northeastern Seminary), and Ph.D. (Regent University). He teaches at Regent University and Elim Bible Institute & College.

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