Next Door As it is in Heaven
By Lance Ford and Brad Brisco
Published by Tyndale House Publishers
181 Pages

Back Cover: There was a time when neighbors knew each other’s names, when small children and the old and infirm alike had more than their families looking out for them. There was a time when our neighborhoods were our closest communities.

No more. Neighborhoods have become the place where nobody knows your name. Into this neighborhood crisis the words of Jesus still ring true: Second only to the command to love God is the command to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

In Next Door as It Is in Heaven, Lance Ford and Brad Brisco offer first principles and best practices to make our neighborhoods into places where compassion and care are once again part of the culture, where good news is once again more than words, and where the love of God can be once again rooted and established.

REVIEW: The authors describe a time “When neighbors knew each other’s names, when small children and the old and infirm a like had more than their families looking out for them. There was a time when our neighbors were our closest community.”

They talk about how we have compartmentalized the different communities in our lives.. “Our work”, “our church”, “our schools” none of them intersect.”

The authors then describe a movie titled Avalon that shows the breakdown of close communities. They say, “Avalon begins as a portrait of a robust, relationally rich extended family. Life is lived with others, both in times of shared joy and periods of struggles and hardships. People are connected. Conversations are many. Common meals are the norm. Life is rooted not only in relationships with others but also in relationship to place.”

“Three forces are introduced into the life of Avalon that fragment their relationship connectedness. But once the family fully embraces the modern American way of living there is no possibility of holding the pieces together.”

1.    Creation of Suburbs 
2. The Rise of the Automobile 
3. The popularization of television.

The Suburbs was viewed as a better place to live.” Automobile took every day fathers away. They were able to relocate their families to the suburbs without giving up their jobs in Avalon. Every day they would drive out of the neighborhood, alone, to work in a place that was no longer home.”

“Change in our culture - Jesus went to masses. Embraced people. Talked about who our neighbor are and how Jesus saw community.”
At the end of each chapter there is a reflection time and suggestions on how to apply what you’ve learned to your life, at the same time assessing where you’re at! 

I found it fascinating to learn about how exciting innovations to help improve life degraded our sense of community. I always wondered about how we’d gotten to a place where we do not know our neighbors names and they don’t know ours. I wondered how we’ve become so isolated and compartmentalized while we are a society that is more connected than ever.

This was an eye opening read showing how we’ve lost our unity with each other – the sense of belonging. How we’ve become isolated and compartmentalized. It helps to explain about how we’ve gotten this way relationally. I liked how these authors showed what Jesus did to connect with people. How he created community no matter where he was. I also liked that they gave examples and urged readers to reach out to their neighbors. “Take hold of the heavenly vision and run with it. If we do this “you and your neighbors can experience life next door as it is in heaven.”

Can you imagine how life could be if we all gave this a try? 

ABOUT AUTHORS: BRAD BRISCO has been involved in church planting for over 17 years and is currently a church-planting catalyst for a network of Baptist churches in Kansas City. He is the cofounder of Forge Kansas City and co-author (with Lance Ford) of Missional Essentials and The Missional Quest.

Together Lance and Brad serve on Forge America, a missions-training network, and they train and consult for churches and faith communities. They both are co-founders of the Sentralized Conference.

LANCE FORD was a church planter and pastor for 20 years. He is the author of several books, including Revangelical, UnLeader, and Right Here, Right Now (with Alan Hirsch).

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale Publisher. 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 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!  
The Book Club Network blog 
Book Fun Magazine 


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