Most British congregations are long-established churches. But few are vigorous, few make a significant gospel impact on the communities of which they are a part, and even fewer train their members to simply and spontaneously share the Good News. Some are positively sick. Others resistant to change, failing to grasp that change is of the very essence of the Spirit’s work of sanctification, whether in individuals or in congregations. So it is regrettable that little is available to help to get existing, perhaps run down, congregations renewed, reinvigorated and revitalised for mission, which makes John James’s 'Renewal: Church Revitalisation Along the Way of the Cross' all the more valuable.

The book is short (130 pages). It is possibly too short to be really useful — it is certainly not a handbook — but it is helpful and it is worth reading. Each chapter is short too. Occasionally provocative, sometimes humorous, John James seeks always to be biblical and pastoral. One fault of many books about the Church and its mission is that they forget that any discussion about the Church is ipso facto a discussion about people. This book doesn’t share that fault, but is warm, pastoral, sympathetic and considerate. It is well worth buying, reflecting on and using as a springboard to help towards further thought and action.

John S. Ross, Kilmallie & Ardnamurchan Free Church