This book was borne out of a real need in a church that was doing well at caring for each other and developing long-lasting friendships, but as Anyabwile described it, "The caring was rooted in friendship, not in Christ and His body as a whole." I'm sure many believers would love for their church to have that problem. But whether your church is full of people who care deeply for one another or not, all church members would benefit from reading Anyabwile's book on what he calls "spiritual fellowship."
This book is great. Anyabwile's examination and explanation of the various Bible passages for each chapter is both enlightening and encouraging. I never came to a point where I said, "Where is he getting this?" or "Why does this matter?" He takes his readers straight to the work of Christ as the foundation of our fellowship and then explores the various aspects of that fellowship and how it should play out in our churches. If more people were presented with the truths in this book when they first join a church, they'd know exactly what is expected of them as members of the church and how the church should function as a body. This kind of discussion is sorely lacking in many churches today.
I do have a few minor quibbles with the book, not so much in content as in format. The book is more or less a cleaned up transcript of Anyabwile's sermon series that he preached in 2008. The audio is even available to download on his church's website. My quibble is that the book reads too much like a sermon transcript. There are a few instances where it reads like this: "We're really glad you're here this morning." Also, although I appreciate that he tries to connect with the unbelievers in attendance at his church on Sunday, those pieces could have been taken out of the book or revised so as to better address the audience that will be reading the book, which is going to be different than the audience which was in attendance when these messages were first given.
Still, I would recommend this book to any believer. It clearly and biblically explains what it means to be a member of Christ's body and gives very practical direction in how we are to live that out, embracing the "spiritual fellowship" that we should have, one with another.
I received this book from the publisher for the purpose of review.