Among many memorable quotations from CS Lewis, these words express a common mistake which applies to our thinking about the church:

…our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by a holiday at the sea. We are too easily pleased. [1]

We are too easily pleased when we get what we expect from our church life, and too easily displeased when we don’t!

Gathered Together: The beauty of living as God’s church

Gathered Together: The beauty of living as God’s church

Matthias Media. 152.

In Gathered Together, Karl helps us to reflect on our relationship with church.

This book is clear, biblical, honest, timely and wise. It’s essential reading for everyone who wants to enjoy being part of God’s people, God’s way.

Matthias Media. 152.

This I think is the heart of this excellent book on the church. It’s seen, for example, in this quotation:

We rightly have high hopes for the church of God. But the tragedy is that often our hopes for the church are far more mundane than that. More often it seems we hope for lesser things: good music; a short service, slick leading, good creche facilities, or a great children’s program. And not only do we aspire to those lesser things, we see our failure to achieve those lesser things as an unbearable loss. We’re embarrassed by bad PowerPoint slides or dodgy music, while our failure to achieve a community of love and grace and worship and delight in God causes barely a stir.
The first step, then, in living as God’s church is to recapture God’s vision for the glory of his church. When our hearts are fired by God’s vision of the church in the New Testament our hopes are lifted up to much greater things.
You could have the worst music in the world, no kids program, a cold building with no windows and no heating, but if you had group of sinners saved by grace, indwelt by God, empowered by his grace, filled with love, constant in prayer, overflowing with generosity, labouring in the gospel, then you would have everything you could ever hope for or need. [2]


I particularly enjoyed the combination of the two great commandments and the great commission (50-63), the challenge to love the church (56-59), the focus on training believers for their life and work outside the internal ministry of the church (97-100), and the challenge to rest (124-138).

As I read this book I noticed how much the assumptions of our world and society influence and shape our attitudes to the church. People who are not Christians are selfish consumerists, impatient when they don’t get what they want, and looking for bargains: maximum benefit for minimum cost. This is often the way Christians treat their church: we are selfish consumerists, impatient when we don’t get what we want, and looking for spiritual bargains: maximum benefit for minimum cost.

This book is a great resource to help us glory in God’s church, the body and bride of Christ, the temple of God’s Holy Spirit. Ministers need it, and so do members of churches.

[1] CS Lewis, The Weight of Glory and other addresses, Eerdmans, 1965, 1,2.

[2] Deenick, Gathered Together, 13-14.