Book Review: Steeple Envy

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

Steeple Envy by Vic Cuccia

Steeple Envy is the story of Vic Cuccia’s journey from pastor at a large church to his involvement with the birthing of Journey Church in Jacksonville.  Along the way Cuccia offers commentary on the state of the Church, particularly in the United States, and how it has strayed away from its biblical roots and the from the example of Jesus.

The ground that Cuccia is covering in this book is nothing particularly new.  There are any number of authors out there making the same comments and delivering much the same critique.  What sets Cuccia’s book apart is that he doesn’t spent a whole lot of it focusing on what he perceives as the errors and shortcomings of the larger evangelical churches (although he doesn’t let them off the hook either), but instead he prefers to focus on different ways in which we can be the Church.

The book takes it’s title from a term used in a conference hosted by Rob Bell when he was still at Mars Hill Church.  The point made was that much of what drives churches in the U.S., and in Canada as well, is the looking at what other churches are doing and copying so that we can achieve “success.”  Unfortunately this success is simply based on numbers of people and budgets.

What Cuccia suggests is that we need to measure success on how well we love.  This love that he writes about is not some warm, fuzzy emotional feeling, but a love that gets the church out into the world around it, whether it be in the church’s local neighbourhood or as in the case of Journey Church, building houses in Guatemala through the 12X12 love program.  Love for Cuccia, however, is not so much a program, but a way of life, one that all of the church should engage in.

Along with being an active love, Cuccia calls for the church to engage in a vulnerable love, one that requires us as Christian’s to engage in honest and caring conversations with each other.  It requires Christian leaders and pastors to be willing to admit that they are not some sort of Super-Christians, but the struggle that are part of the life of every member of the Church are the same struggles that pastors have.

If you get the opportunity I recommend that you take the time to read Steeple Envy.  Cuccia has an affable writing style that makes this book a relatively easy, although challenging read.


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