As I mentioned a week and a half ago, I’ve been plowing through lots of books on how to “do” church. My most recent read is Houses that Change the World, by Wolfgang Simson. And I have to say he’s shaken my understanding of church.
The book has been around a while—maybe you’ve already read it. Published in 1998, a number of his predictions have failed to materialize, but that doesn’t diminish what he has to say. (He was merely analyzing trends, not trying to be prophetic, so we don’t need to take him out and stone him.)
In general, Simson argues against churches patterned after the synagogue, with a set routine performed by “professional Christians” in front of a lay audience, and in favor of small “organic” house churches where our faith is lived out in the context of real life. I certainly see his point. He’s very persuasive, and I tend to agree with him more often than not.