“Book Review.” Fitch, David E. 2005. “The Great Giveaway.” Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

David Fitch has his Ph.D. from Northwestern University. He is a pastor at a church in Long Grove, Illinois, called Life on the Vine Community of the Christian and Mission Alliance. He is also an adjunct professor at Northern Seminary where he teaches ministry, ethics and theology.

Evangelicalism has “given away” being the church in North America by giving church duties to exterior groups outside the church or compromising so that functions of the church are no longer recognizable (:13).

Whether it be big business, parachurch organizations, psychotherapy, consumer capitalism or other modern maladies (as stated in the title), the modern church has lost ownership over its church-ly duties, as well as having the ability to really influence people and make disciples.

Fitch takes a close look at the modern church and its maladies through 8 main segments. He defines success; Evangelism; Leadership; The Production of Experience by looking at practicing worship; The Preaching of the Word; Justice and how we understand it; Spiritual Formation; and Moral Education.

Through each of these segments, Fitch is able to make clear the problems of modern-day churches in North America and how we can become more Christ-like through some changes.

The most radical thing that Fitch does here is to show that what we, as modern North American Evangelicals, have deemed as evidence of success, may just be complete failures. He illustrates this well when talking about the large church that has so many members, but no one is keeping these people accountable. The pastor marries couples who were living together prior to marriage and have no plans of attempting to live a Godly life. Those that need counseling are sent to psychologists outside of the church. Thousands of cards that claim people have made decisions for Christ are coming in, yet no lives are changed and no disciples are formed. What is wrong with today’s churches?

I liked how he addressed that perhaps larger churches should split off and church plant instead of creating larger buildings. This is the same problem at Union Rescue Mission where I am doing my case study. The main issue I am encountering revolves around too much infrastructure and bureaucracy. While these things are needed, it is only because it is the largest homeless shelter in the country. With much power comes great responsibility, so there lies a lot of issues and time and management concerns.

Through my reading and research, I have begun to conclude that holistic ministry based on relationships is really the only agent for true change. Small teen centers, emerging house churches, and intentional communities appear to have the most influence over a person’s life. I ask the same question that Fitch asks of the church? Why are we so afraid to break apart? I believe pride, power and control issues are the factors here. We all need to take a step back and look at what we are doing on our Christian communities and really evaluate if this is what Christ had intended.

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One Response to ““Book Review.” Fitch, David E. 2005. “The Great Giveaway.” Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.”

  1. jrrozko1 Says:

    Good book review. It’s very apparent that you have thought through how this material relates to your case study. It would have been cool as well to hear how you thought this book related to other material and discussions from class.

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