DG: Tim, what do you and Steve Timmis mean by the title Total Church?
Tim Chester: The phrase is actually adapted from the world of football (or soccer in the States!). “Total football” was a style of play associated with the Dutch international side in the 1970s.
“Total church” is our way of capturing the idea that church is not one activity in our lives. Church isn’t a meeting you attend or a building your enter. It’s our identity, our community, our family. It’s the context for the totality of the Christian life.
DG: How would you summarize the message of the book?
TC: Total Church argues for two core principles: We need to be gospel-centered and community-centered.
Being gospel-centered means we’re word-centered (because the gospel is a message; it is good news), and it means being mission-centered (because the gospel is a message to be proclaimed; it is good news).
I think most conservative evangelicals are strong on this. But we also need to be community-centered. The Christian community is the biblical context for evangelism, discipleship, pastoral care, social involvement, and so on. That doesn’t mean meetings. It means the shared life of the community.
One of our catchphrases is “ordinary people living ordinary life with gospel intentionality.” It means doing the chores, having meals, watching sports, and so on with an intention to talk about Jesus, to pastor one another with the gospel, and to share that gospel with unbelievers.
Adding this book to my must-get list.