Your Church Is To Small

Unity is not a cool topic to talk about. It is not something that is all the rage of churches around the world. You won't find 15 look alike books on the topic or hear many pastors preach about it on a regular basis. Frankly, unity gets short shrift when it comes to our local churches.

It's a topic that John Armstrong tackles head on in his new book, Your Church Is To Small, just released by Zondervan.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I went into this book. I believe in unity in the body of Christ. I haven't always seen it though in my travels. I have witnessed pastors standing in a bookstore refusing to acknowledge each other due to doctrinal differences, ministerials that broke apart because of how we practice church instead of focusing on WHO we worship!

Needless to say, John's book was a much needed breath of fresh air on a topic that seems stale in the body of Christ. This is not a book you can plow through in one sitting. John delves deeply into the topic and I found myself having to put the book down and chew on what I had just read. There is a lot of meat in this book. It also will raise a lot of questions. John does his best to answer those questions and reservations throughout the book. He looks at unity in the past, present and future. He builds naturally one to the other and I am left wondering, how did we get so far from what God intended.

Yet the book ends with hope as John shares a few stories of what unity looks like today and in the future. I for one am excited. I believe we can get to a place where we recognize we are all branches off of one vine. Unity does not mean uniformity. It does mean we need to practice love!

Your Church Is To Small is written by John H. Armstrong and published by Zondervan. Make sure you get a copy of a book destined to be a classic. I would also encourage you to check out the new website www.YourChurchIsTooSmall.com There you can find out more about John Armstrong, the book, and “Beyond the Book” articles.

Thanks to Zondervan for providing me an advance copy of this book.


John said...

Thank you Rick for a nice and clear review. I am grateful that you like the book. I note that you and your wife serve with YWAM. I believe the history and missional passion of YWAM makes such workers hunger for the things I write about in this book. I hope other YWAM readers will procure and discuss this book. I believe what you are doing, joined with the vision I cast in this book, is a combination the Spirit will bless beyond our ability to comprehend in the natural realm. God bless you both and all YWAM servants of the kingdom.

RDA said...

Thanks John. I agree this is a book YWAMers would love. I will do my best to promote it.

A. Amos Love said...

Unity. Hmmm?

Sometimes good and some times, er, not so good?

Just wondering...

What if God is the author of our
disagreements and separations?
“And all things are of God...”
2 Cor 5:18, Rom 11:36, Col 1:16-17, etc.

Are we working for “Unity?”
And NOW working against God?

Didn’t God confuse man’s language once before?
Aren’t those things that happened to others,
written for us to learn from?

Now all these things happened unto them for
ensamples: and they are written for our admonition,
upon whom the ends of the world are come.
1 Cor 10:11

For whatsoever things were written aforetime
were written for our learning, that we through
patience and comfort of the scriptures
might have hope.
Rom 15:4

Didn’t God intervene when “man was in unity”
with their own devices, their own plans,
trying to build something themselves,
to reach heaven and “make a name for themselves?”

Could that be the ekklesia’s problem today also?
Doing their own thing - NOT God’s thing?

**Man trying to build something?
(Movements? Denominations? Church Planting?)
**And make a name for themselves?
(“Titles” on buildings, schools, websites, books, etc.)
**Being in unity they could accomplish anything?

wikipedia lists many, 1,000's, of Denominations.

...let us build us a city and a tower,
whose top may reach unto heaven;
and let us make us a name...
Gen 11:4

Gen 11:6-8
And the LORD said, Behold,
the people is one, (unity?)(this doesn't sound good?)
and they have all one language; (unity-sound alike?)
and this they begin to do: (work together?)
and now nothing will be restrained from them,
(we can do anything, working together?)
which they have imagined to do.
(“the imagination of man’s heart is evil.”)
(Gen 6:5, Gen 8:21, Jer 3:17, Jer 11:8. etc.)
Go to, let us go down,
and there confound their language,
that they may not understand one another’s speech.
(Hmmm? Sound familiar?)

God often gives us what we ask for, and,
“A Little Bit Extra.”

Meat in the wilderness. Kings to rule over us. etc.

“Traditions of men” nullify the word of God.
Mark 7:13

Hmmm? Just wondering...
What if God is the author of our
disagreements and separations?

Then what...???

Are we working for Unity?
And NOW - working against God?

John said...


Provocative but if "God is love" he is not the author of sinful separation. It began at the fall and continues until redemption is complete in the day of Christ. Surely you write in some form of jest in this response?

My response, at the end of the day, is read the book if you want to see how I answer your question, if this is meant to be a question.

RDA said...

I agree with John here. I let the comment from Amos stand because differing opinions can produce dialogue.

However, I see Jesus promoting unity among believers in the NT and God spoke about it in the OT.

It's in the Bible and John clearly lays it out in his book, Your Church Is To Small.

A. Amos Love said...


Thanks for the response... And, no, I’m not jesting.

John - It’s a noble cause you’ve entered into, “Unity.”

You, I, and many others, have struggled with this idea of “Unity.”
What it means to the body of Christ? To “Me?” To “Us?”

Been around for awhile, have seen only seperations and divisions
with believers. Often - much pain, tears, and “Spiritual Abuse.”
Disunity among individuals, congregtions, denominations, movements.

What is popular is not always truth.
What is truth is not always popular.

I’ve come to understand God is the author of “My” separations.
God is the author of my crucifictions. Pick up your cross daily?
It might not be pretty but it’s worth it.

Cried out to God once, nay, screams and tears, after so many...
Church splits... After years of fellowship together... division... :-(
Good friends, brothers, who you trust, turn on you...
Lie about you... Good friends, who you love, are no longer around...
Seperation after seperation, pain after pain...

He replied...

I’m not seperating you from people, I’m seperating you unto myself.

Hmmm? All the pain, tears and broken hearts, only Jesus can heal.

Now, I can give thanks for all the division and seperations. Peace

Come, and let us return unto the LORD:
for he hath torn, and he will heal us;
he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
Hosea 6:1

I know, O LORD, that thy judgments [are] right,
and [that] thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.
Psalm 119:75

Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours,
a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us.
Psalm 44:13

Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth?
I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
Luke 12:51

What if God is the author of our crucifictions,
disagreements and separations? Hmmm?

A. Amos Love said...


Yes, I also find “Unity” in the Bible.

It’s good to dwell in unity. Psalm 133:1
There’s the unity of the Spirit. Eph 4:3
And the unity of the faith. Eph 4:13

I now believe, “the Body of Christ,” the true “ONE,”
is in “Unity.” It’s “His Body.” Jesus adds to the body.

I don’t believe there is disunity in...

Jesus - He is the head of the Body,
(the ekklesia, the called out one’s,) The Church.
Col 1:18

There is “ONE” fold, “ONE” shepherd, “ONE” voice...
}}}} Jesus {{{{
John 10:16

And when we’re in Christ “we” are “ONE.”
No division or separation.

There is neither Jew nor Greek,
there is neither bond nor free,
there is neither male nor female:
for ye are all “ONE” in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:28

Does that verse say male and female are equal?
Or, does it say, male and female do not exist?

Neither Baptist nor Assemblies of God.
Neither Evangelical nor Pentecostal.
Neither Leaders nor Followers.
Neither Clergy nor Laity.
All “ONE” in Christ Jesus.

Now, “The Church of Man,”
“The Church of Baptist,”
“The Church of England.” Choose one...

That’s a different story. Oy Vey! ;-)
That's what you see with your eyes.
But, the kingdom of God comes
NOT with observation. It is within.
Luke 17:20-21.

“The Church of Man,”
That’s the thousands of denominations
started by man and seen by others.
Would be “Christian Leaders” who had a better idea.

And I believe there is a possibility that “God” has...

“ **confounded their language,** that they may
**not understand one another’s speech…**
Gen 11:4-8

Because those in “The Religious System”
are trying to make a name for themselves. :-(...

Be blessed in your search for truth... Jesus.

John said...

OK Alex, I follow your thoughts more clearly with this additional post. When you read my book you will see I too have been there and felt the same rejection and pain you have felt. In fact, some of these same people will not publicly attack me and the book.

If saying God gave you/me these divisions means that in his divine providence is was there and guiding and using them then I am with you. If it means he is the primary (first) cause of the division then no he is not. The evil one sows discord. He means evil. God works good for his cruciformed people in all situations (Romans 8:28) so in that sense, yes he was there and he ordained it. What I was not clear about was the idea that somehow we accept these tragedies passively and rejoice in them as if they were really what God revealed to us as the way we should pray and move. John 17:20-23 answers that question, thus my book is built on that text along with several more obvious ones.

I do hope you will read it now more than ever since your story cries out for hearing mine and reading how we can pray and work as broken men for the unity of the church.

A. Amos Love said...


You write...
“we can pray and work as broken men for the unity of the church.”

Thank you for the offer.
Brokenness does bring a different perspective on things.
It’s the things you learn after you “know it all” that really counts.
I’m sure I would enjoy sharing a cup of coffee with you and praying.

“cruciformed people” I like it, parden me if I borrow that.
Isn’t “brokenness” “crucifixtion” part of God’s puposes in our lives? Benefit always.

I've come to believe it's NOT "our work" to do. "Work for the unity of the church."
"Unity" will come from God, in His time, in His way, if and when He wants it.
We don’t even know; “Who is The Church?”

Our focus, according to John 17, is on becoming "ONE" - not unity. Hmmm?

Focus for me, for now is; Are people, believers, following man, or Jesus?
Most folks I meet are looking to man and NOT Jesus.
Looking for a King to reign over them and NOT Jesus. 1 Sam 8:1-22
When they turn to the Lord, become “ONE” with Jesus,
“Unity” might have a chance.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
John 10:27

It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God.
John 6:45

Trust and obey... NOT think and decide...

Do a word study on "ONE" and see what the Lord will show you.
Jesus warned us about "Traditions of men" that nullify "The Word of God." Mark 7:13
Along with false apostles, many false prophets, false teachers, etc...

When John is “ONE” in Christ...
And Amos is “ONE” in Christ...
Then... Have mercy Lord...

Blessings on your journey.

John said...


I love your words and spirit. Yes, we never create unity since it is discovered, found, realized by our being truly "in Christ." But we can get to know and love one another in a relational context where this becomes more than a spiritual fact but something translated into visible reality that causes the world to see our love for one another. This is what I "work" for by my prayer and intentional efforts to meet, love and serve Christians, especially Christians I would not know without trying bridge our human barriers. Doing this leads to love but also to hurt and pain, as you and I have found out.

Grace and peace to you!

RDA said...

Amos and John,

Thanks for your dialogue. Amos I would encourage you to read the book John has written. I think you will find it helpful in answering and addressing some of your questions.