Barefoot Church: Book Review
Barefoot Church is a reminder of Jesus’ call to serve the least. Author Brandon Hatmaker recounts how he was convicted to give his brand new boots to the homeless during a worship service. “It feels like just yesterday that I turned to around to look up the stairs and saw an entire church being sent out into the city…barefoot”. Serving communities outside of the church is the essence of Barefoot Church.
Hatmaker describes how his church plant, Austin New Church, began to engage its community through service. However, instead of making service a ministry of the church, he built service into the DNA of the church. Hatmaker says, “One of the challenges of our existing church structure is that we are inclined to view service as an event or program instead of viewing it as a way of life.”
Drawing from his own experiences, Hatmaker offers practical suggestions for serving communities. For example, he explains how churches can be structured to serve through small groups. His church begins this process by encouraging church members to connect with small groups from the beginning. Hatmaker also recommends that churches partner with existing non-profit organizations that are already meeting needs in their communities.
Hatmaker argues that serving communities takes the focus off of us. “When we orient our ministry around mission and the kingdom, we tend to get increasingly more dependent on God and increasingly more thankful for his movement.”
Reading the Barefoot Church will not change a church; putting it into practice will. A companion study guide, Barefoot Church Primer will be available in January.