Book Review: Jim & Casper Go to Church

JimandCasperAs a missionary and church planter, I spent a lot of time thinking about church. When I get together with other missionaries and church planters we talk 

about church. I mean church with a little “c”—the building, the programs, the parking lot. Why does church look like it does? Does it have to be this way?

In that vein, I highly recommend the book Jim & Casper Go to Church. This book is perfect for anyone who has ever hesitated to invite a friend to church or felt uncomfortable during a church service. It’s a quick read, playful, yet profound.

Jim Henderson recruited atheist Matt Casper to attend several churches across America with him. Casper shares interesting insights as an outsider looking in.

  • Nones (those who "identify their religion as 'nothing in particular,'"http://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise/) notice and appreciate churches who obviously and overtly invest in their community. This is particularly true for churches in high-needs neighborhoods. Why is church where it is?
  • People who have never had a relationship with Jesus look for practical help and advice in church services. Even someone who doesn’t believe in God can find following typically Christian advice like “love your neighbor” helpful. What do you want me to do?
  • Outsiders attending a church service for the first time want a personal connection. A greeting from another attender carries more weight than a friendly handshake from someone with a nametag assigned to greet visitors. Did you notice me?

Regardless of the form of your connection with universal Church (capital “C”) this book provides plenty of food for thought. Enjoy.

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In Her Own Words: My husband Kyle grew up planning to be a doctor. He met Jesus late in high school. Our first year in college, we went to a church planting conference. He very clearly heard the Holy Spirit tell him that he would be a church planter in Latin America. He argued for a while, and eventually gave in. In the 12 years that have followed, he hasn't looked back. When we told me his new plan, I was thrilled. I never saw myself as a doctor's wife. We got married, finished out degrees, and spent 9 months in training at our local church. In the summer of 2007, we loaded up my grandpa's pickup and moved to Mazatlan, Mexico.

Seven years later, we have three small children and a bustling church in the middle of a low-income neighborhood. We consistently meet women who think they need to be perfect before they can connect with God. Poverty puts people in difficult situations, and many have made choices they aren't proud of as a result. Our church motto is "Imperfect people full of Jesus' love." Over and over again we find ourselves explaining God's wonderful, amazing grace. My favorite part of ministry is watching people hear from the Holy Spirit.

 
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