McNeal puts forth questions which I think hang around in the dark corners of many Christian minds, particularly those minds that may have a bit of a post-modern bent to them. He brings these questions out of the cobwebs and forces them where they really need to be -- in our hearts and, hopefully, in our actions.
Though I am not yet finished with the book, the emphasis is on how do churches avoid a "Field of Dreams" (if we build it, they will come) sort of mentality? While recent years have seen the growth of mega-churches, McNeal asserts that in many cases these churches just stole members from other smaller churches. They did not go out and reach pre-Christians.
Don't get me wrong ... there are mega-churches out there taking it to the streets in powerful ways today but, in the 80s and 90s, I think McNeal is right in that many mega-churches got their members from other churches. Great mega-churches I am watching today for their ability to reach out include Ridge Stone Church, NewSpring Church, Granger Community Church, Mars Hill, and The Rock Church ... there are many others I am sure.
This book is raising the question and giving some creative examples of how today's progressive churches are reaching people where they are at, not only spiritually but physically. How do we truly live out Jesus' example by showing God's love to others? How do we live out the fact that we are here to serve, not to ask folks to dress up and come to our churches to sing songs and give money? The realization that disciples of Jesus are here to serve really throws pre-Christians off -- it may take awhile but it eventually gets their attention (just read "Same Kind Of Different As Me" for proof of this) ... God works through that ... whether it is at Wal Mart, Starbucks, a foreign country, or that biggest mission field -- your workplace.
What is your church doing -- today -- to reach pre-Christians where they're at and not just force them inside your walls? Any ideas to share? If you are a pre-Christian, what are the spiritual questions you struggle with? What are the areas of your life where you struggle most?