Paul Vieira graciously sent me a copy of his new book by this title. I spent an hour yesterday ransacking it. I don’t recall who it was who told me about this little known reading technique, but “ransacking” is one of three strategies with which one can approach books.. that’s for another conversation.

The book is not a theology, not really a strategic argument, but more a confessional and inspirational read. Paul tells stories about his own experiences of partnering with God in missional and incarnational life, and then relates Scriptural truth to his discoveries. In the process, he illuminates a great deal of the conversation that is occurring in emergent circles.

For example, Jesus did not come preaching the church, but rather “the kingdom of God.” There is no call to “plant churches” in the New Testament. Paul spends a few pages on this, concluding that if we were about doing the works of Jesus church would happen. It’s a great point. We tend to put the cart before the horse, and Paul is very aware of our modern shortcomings.

Paul likes to emphasize prayer. For him being missional is not a strategy, it is an outcome of a rich and living relationship with a loving God who is intimately involved in the world.

In the end the book is a nice companion to more theological and strategic treatments like “The Forgotten Ways.” At roughly 270 pages it would take about three hours for a solid read, but can be mostly digested in half that time. The Spirit of Jesus is easily found in these stories, and Paul helps to make sense of the decline in church attendance we see around us. While the visible church may be shrinking, the invisible one continues to grow as God does His work of building the kingdom.

Jesus Has Left the Building has a website of its own. Related, but not officially connected, The Church Has Left the Building is an upcoming conference in cooperation with Mustard Seed Associates in Seattle in April.

1 Comment on Jesus has left the building

  1. […] Len Hjalmarson posts a review of Jesus Has Left the Building, a book by Paul Vieira which I’ve mentioned around here a couple of times. Brief review, but right on the money. […]