Less than one year ago, my husband was thisclose to being hired as a pastor for a church in the United Arab Emirates. Moving to the UAE had been a dream of ours for several years, and we were ready to accept. However, God had other plans. Instead of moving overseas, we found ourselves heading right back to our hometown of Waco, Texas.
When I came across Staying is the New Going by Alan Briggs, I was intrigued. After all, our big plans for “going” had turned into seemingly small plans for “staying.” In this newly released book, I found an encouraging treasure of insight into living a missional lifestyle in my very own city, no passport required. While there is a great (and right) desire in the hearts of many Christians to preach the gospel in far-off lands, Briggs says, “In case you’re wondering, God is already at work in your friends, your neighbors, and your city. You don’t need to take him anywhere” (p. 168).
Throughout the book, Briggs makes a case for the importance of each and every Christian living intentionally as a representative of Christ wherever God has placed them, even if it doesn’t require traveling thousands of miles. He says, “Jesus chose to spend his life in an area the size of New Jersey…You’re not a failure if you don’t grow up and move out to a grand place. You can live your life in a small radius and make a big impact” (p. 60). Also, “You’re not a second class Christian if you never cross and ocean or leave your town for a mission trip” (p. 91). These statements were so refreshing to me as I settle into a life of staying in an “unglamorous” place, presumably for many years.
I also found some much-needed conviction throughout this book. “Many Christians have ‘a heart for the nations,’ buy fair-trade products, wear TOMS shoes, sponsor a child, and pray for unreached people groups. But many of those same Christians can’t tell you the names of their neighbors” (p.92). Ouch. That statement describes me perfectly, as I only know the names of our neighbors directly across the street and next door. Staying is the New Going is an excellent source of motivation to fully invest in my neighborhood and city, seeking to bless those closest to me instead of merely blessing those across the globe.
Towards the end of the book, there are a number of practical ideas for meeting neighbors and forming lasting relationships with them. Briggs is able to speak from experience in this area, making the suggestions highly practical instead of theoretical.
I usually give away these review copies, but I’m going to hang on to this one because I want my husband to read it! Even though I don’t have a copy to pass along, I encourage you to grab your own copy of this fantastic book.
FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.