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Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  901 ratings  ·  69 reviews
The Reformers viewed the gospel as not merely one thing among many in the life of a church but rather the means by which the church exists. When the gospel is rightly declared and applied to God’s people, the church becomes “a creature of the Word.” She understands, embraces, and lives out the reality of Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection in more than her doctri ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by B Books (first published September 5th 2012)
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4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  901 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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Oct 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: challies-2018
This book had some good food for thought about the modern church. It is probably best suited for those in leadership roles, but I still benefited from it. I listened to an audio version but think I would have done better with a print copy.
Ruth Hill
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads, christian
I always enjoy books that take Christian themes and look at things in a bit of a unique way. This book does just that. The reader is taken on a journey through how the church was supposed to be biblically, how it has lost its focus over time, and how it can become what God intended. The three authors seamlessly present their perspective, and it is fully backed by Scripture.

This book is divided into two parts, and the first part truly spoke to me. It was relatable and completely spoke to the aver
Carrie Daws
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Definitely a good read for those who lead in church or ministry. The authors do a great job of turning readers to the critical view that if everything in and of the church isn't about Jesus, we're wasting our time and efforts. They cover various aspects of the church, from services to programs to administration, and include excellent questions and tips to consider as ministry and church leaders consider the impact they are having versus the impact they want (or should want) to have. While it was ...more
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Readable and necessary for church leaders to grow in shared vision. As a church member, I also found it valuable and echoing what I'm asking God to do in women's ministry.
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite book on the nature of the church: who the church is and what the church does. The three authors are addicted to the gospel of Jesus Christ believing that everything the church is about must be rooted in the life, death and resurrection of Christ. The insights the authors give on the subject are refreshing as I believe they are lost on many churches today. They show how every aspect of church life can be based on the gospel. They even outline how the children ministry must be ...more
Tyler Clarensau
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
This might be the best book I've ever read on how to be a Biblical church. If you were to read only the Bible and this book, you would get a fairly balanced overview of what the Church should look like and how it should operate. I'm surprised at how many topics are covered well in such an easy read. You can tell that Chandler, Patterson, and Geiger are not just throwing out ideals, but telling the story that their local churches are living out. This is a book that every church leader should get ...more
Matthew Shedd
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must read for pastors, elders, and deacons alike. Chandler does an excellent job of reminding his fellow leaders that even the right actions, if not rooted in and formed by the gospel will find themselves faltering to produce true life change.
Jul 19, 2016 rated it liked it
I actually was only expected to read the first five chapters of this book. I tried to read more, but the rest didn't seem very relevant to me and I have lots of other things to read! So I only read part of it.
Joshua Woodlief
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Anyone planting a gospel centered church should read this book!!! It was an amazing help to me in terms of seeing how the gospel relates to every aspect of church!
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a really wonderful, helpful, and insightful book. Highlighting the idea that the Gospel should be present in all aspects of a Christian life, it really forced me to wonder how the Gospel is present in my own life.
I read this book to learn more about the music ministry, but it ended up teaching me about every aspect of ministry. I'll definitely be rereading this one at some point in the future!
Steve Johnson
Nov 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Not enough Chandler. The collaborative nature of this book/discussion led to an uneven presentation of warmed over content that comes across as samples where a meal should have been served instead. We used it as a group study at our church but it’s better utilized for elder or staff meetings.
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it

Though written with ministry leaders in mind this is a great book for any church member. It talks about keeping Jesus Christ the focus of our ministry, and not getting side tracked by other things, that while good things, are not the gospel.
Judah Cofer
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: church
This was an amazing book! I'd recommend this book literally to anybody to both church leaders as well as any Christian who wants to understand and love the church like Jesus does! Nice job the the authors!
Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian-living
Decent book, good stuff, not really a page turner... kind of felt a bit repetitive at times.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My new favorite from Chandler. Chapter after chapter of practical and challenging meat for the layman and the pastorate.
Daunavan Buyer
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Creature of the word is a fantastic book. The authors look in depth at many different aspects of the church culture and ask the question: What does this look like with a focus on gospel centeredness? From children's ministry to Sunday services, to the flower committees, a lot is evaluated and commented on. What I like about this book is two fold.
1) It's not deconstructionist. This book does not see the authors negatively critiquing the church and saying that all Churches are wrong because of ho
Eddie Williams
Jan 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2014
Creature of the Word is a very basic and foundational overview of the church and how it should behave through the lens of Jesus

This one doesn't go very deep, but it does have some valuable information, particularly for new believers or students. Seasoned readers won't find much new here.

I love how the authors continually point to Christ as the answer for everything in the church. And how everything that the church is is birthed out of the idea of Jesus. It's unfortunate that more churches don't
Oct 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Matt Chandler certainly addresses a felt need, specifically within the American church, with Creature of the Word. Light is shed on big questions that all pastors have: how can I stay culturally relevant while remaining biblically faithful? How can I contextualize without compromise? I appreciate the way Chandler handled these questions, always pointing us back to Christ and the need for our ultimate affection to be placed on Him. One aspect I enjoyed about reading this book was the wide array o ...more
John Foster
Oct 08, 2012 rated it liked it
This a good one, but maybe not a great one. From a teaching perspective on how the gospel forms a community of Jesus followers and has an impact on others, it is direct and helpful. There were many helpful insights. Things we tend to overlook when we talk about the gospel and being missional, etc. But I found myself skimming instead of entering fully what the authors were presenting, mostly I think because of the lack of story. I wish they'd have used more reality, more stories to not only give ...more
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
I didn't think it was an extraordinary book. It was helpful in a few clarifications it made about how the gospel should influence a few church functions. The most helpful parts of the book for me, as a layperson, were its consistent and clear reminders that all saints are servant-leaders, all are broken because of sin, all are continuously being sanctified, and the chapter (9) on leadership with its reminder that a leader ought to be humble because he or she is replaceable and any wisdom or tale ...more
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
The authors do their best to blend theology and practice, but fall a little too heavily on the theology side. The result is a book that seems more suited to the classroom than the local church. Which is unfortunate, because its really supposed to be for the local church. The illustrations that began each chapter were fantastic. I would have liked to have seen more on how the principles played out at Matt's and Eric's churches. Stories of the principles in practice would have helped the rock soli ...more
Jeff Noble
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
The first chapter on "A People Formed" and the chapter on ministering the gospel to children and youth ("Pulpit to Preschool - and Puberty Too") are both excellent.

After that, the chapter on community is good, and there are some profound thoughts in the chapter on worship.

However, the book overall left me mostly "meh." It was solid, just unevenly inspirational. I found myself plodding through it in many places.
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: pastors
Shelves: jesus, theology
A great, basic resource on Jesus-centered church. While it is written to pastors, it was readable and accessible for even the layperson. As a resource book, each chapter really stands alone on its topic rather than being part of a meta-narrative, so it reads differently than most books. I actually read one chapter out of order and it did not make a difference at all. If you want something clear, simple, and Jesus-centered on the topic of church, this is the book for you.
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
This book is a survey of what the church should look like and how to get there. It would be an excellent read for pastors, deacons, elders who find they are shepherding people who want to be more culturally relevant while remaining doctrinally sound. It is a perfectly acceptable starting place for reading material of this sort and a worthy companion to Explicit Gospel.

I have given it four stars because I was both convicted and encouraged.
Oct 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
While primarily written to church leaders there's still plenty of good information for every member of the Church in "Creature of the Word." Essentially, the heart of everything our churches (and individual members) do should be focused solely on the Gospel. Some things labelled as important to many churches may not be vital to their mission and Chapman and his co-writers offer some great insight on how to keep the proper focus in our lives and make a greater impact on the world for Christ.
Isaiah Jesch
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
This book was an excellent read. Pastor Matt Chandler is one of my favorite modern preachers and his communication style is carried over into this book. This book would be an excellent read for a church staff as it deals with examining and understanding why we do church the way we do. A great call back to being a body that is born out of, and subject to, the Word of God. This book is highly recommended.
Daniel Ligon
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
A good book but a bit inconsistent. Parts of it were excellent and other sections seemed not to connect very well. The general theme was great: keeping the church focused on the Gospel of Christ. The chapter on how to achieve this in children's ministries was particularly good. I think the overall structure could have used some work, but there was certainly some excellent content.
May 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Everyone in church leadership, missions, or lay leadership should read this book. You might not totally agree with everything he says, and that is ok. The message he give I think will be beneficial to a lot of people wanting to serve the Lord. I've been in a lot of churches, I've seen how they operate. They miss the mark sometimes and this is a good book to get you back to what's important.
Nov 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014-read
This was a good resource to help someone in the church refocus their attention at the church to the things that matter. I specifically liked the chapters on leadership, kid's ministry and contextualization. The authors provided some great insight and reminders that every leader and even parent would find beneficial to consider.
Dec 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very helpful. I'm still reeling from Center Church, which has some overlap. Creature of the Word is much more accessible, which is wonderful because most of my friends would not be able to finish CC! But because of that it goes into less depth so I missed that. That's just me though. Very good book!
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Matt Chandler is the lead pastor of The Village Church, a multi-campus church in the Dallas metroplex of over 10,000 people. His sermons are among the topselling (free) podcasts on itunes and he speaks at conferences worldwide. Prior to accepting the pastorate at The Village, Matt had a vibrant itinerant ministr
“Your approval before God is woven into the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, not what other men and women think about you.” 24 likes
“God ultimately raises up leaders for one primary reason: His glory. He shows His power in our weakness. He demonstrates His wisdom in our folly. We are all like a turtle on a fence post. If you walk by a fence post and see a turtle on top of it, then you know someone came by and put it there. In the same way, God gives leadership according to His good pleasure.” 19 likes
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