“I like Jesus but I don’t want anything to do with the church!” That is a frequent mantra of young people today. Almost everybody you talk to can share a bad experience they had with the church. If you do word association with the term “church” you will probably get responses like, “judgmental,” “critical,” “condescending,” “out of touch,” “insignificant,” and “old fashioned.” This is hard to hear for those of us who have always loved the church. But we should pay attention. We are doing something wrong. The church has a message of acceptance, forgiveness, and love but it is not being heard. 

This book is not a how to repair the church book. It is more like a journal. It is an honest look at what is going on with the church and how some are seeking ways to allow the church to be a place of grace. It is about putting Christ at the center without delineating a circumference. 

If you are a church leader, this book will probably make you uncomfortable. If you have turned your back on the church, this book might give you hope once again. If you are interested in joining the conversation about how to be the church this book will be a good place to begin.

Acceptance, Forgiveness and Love: 
Building a Church Without Fences
Austin Brothers

Some churches today believe that their task is to offer entertaining pageantry to gain market share, but the fad-driven church has lost its way and, as a result, its authority. This book is about recapturing God’s vision for the church. If the church is to become the body of Christ in the world, then Terry Austin delivers sound instruction about the need for congregations to tear down fences that would limit God’s freedom and that keep them inwardly focused only on their own preservation, privileges, and power.

David E. Garland
The Charles J. and Eleanor McLerran Delancey Chair of the Dean 
Professor of Christian Scriptures
George W. Truett Theological Seminary 
Baylor University

Study after study show the decline in the church's importance in the lives of Americans of all ages. In "Building a Church Without Fences," Terry Austin draws on his experiences as a "paid Christian" to take a fresh, constructive look at how the modern church can reverse this decline and pull down fences keeping people away. Terry shares with humor, honesty and wisdom how churches can focus on Christ, and truly enable and equip disciples to share God's unwavering love with a hurting world.

James Aydelott
Struggling Pilgrim/Amateur Theologian/TV Meteorologist

One of the things I learned from my father, a long-time Texas Baptist pastor, was that when you take Christ out of the center, you begin to "wrangle" about peripheral things.

Terry Austin and Charlie Johnson are to be commended for their effort to beam the light of truth onto the crucial need for those of us who say that we are followers of Christ to be conscious, intentional and passionate about returning Christ to the center.  Pointing out how we in the church, the Body of Christ on earth, after all, have lost our way and ensnared ourselves in things out beyond concerns even with buildings and budgets, and issues that divide us, from within, and make us irrelevant and ineffective without.

I would love to be a member of Bread Fellowship, and I commend Terry, Charlie and the adventurers and pilgrims who have joined them on this exciting journey.   God works mighty things through a remnant -- a group of people who remember just what it is we are about when we say that we are followers of Christ, attempting to be the church.

Read this book and name your own frustrations with what has happened to the church, carried off by thieves and robbers.

Read this book and call forth your inspirations for being a part of the remnant that wants to re-establish Jesus in his rightful place at the center -- of our personal lives and our life together.

Jeanie Miley
Author, “Joint Venture:  Practical Spirituality for Everyday Pilgrims” and 
“Dance Lessons:  Moving To the Beat of God's Heart”

I found much to think about in Terry's concise reflection on the church in the 21st century. Ours is a numbers culture, and that includes the church, which continues to measure success by the coins in the coffer or the people in the pews. Jesus affixed no numerical value to His command to love one another. He just said, "Go. Do this for me." Terry and Charlie are going and doing, led by the Holy Spirit to wherever it takes you. What freedom! What faith! 

Jill "J.R." Labbe 
Editorial Director, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Not knowing Terry, except through online connections, I was quite surprised to be asked to write this recommendation. However, as I thought more about his request I realized I would be able to read his book from a unique background and perspective. 

After reading the manuscript I became fascinated with the path Terry has taken, the journey he is on and what God has been teaching him. The illustrations he uses throughout his book come from his former experiences serving in the institutional church and his present experiences exploring a more organic form of church (Bread Fellowship). I found his illustrations brought back memories of times spent serving as a professional minister and similar stories shared with me by many of my friends. This made it easy for me to relate to the gist of his book. There were numerous times I found myself experiencing uh-huh moments as Terry shared from his many years of ministry and life experience. 

The journey God is leading Terry on appears to be very similar to the one God has been leading me and many of my friends on over the past number of years. I look forward to discovering, alongside Terry, the destination Jesus has in mind for those wanting to remove the barriers that continually keep us from sharing the truth with everyone who wants to hear it. Acceptance, Forgiveness, and Love: Building a Church without Fences is a book that will provide a great deal of food for thought on how we need to listen to Jesus, be obedient to Him and teach others by example (be accepting, be forgiving and be loving) to do the same. 

Rob Ross
Rob is a disciple of Jesus. He serves as a facilitator for Oikos Ministries. 
He enjoys being a husband, father, friend, online missionary, 
writer, storyteller, and chaplain. 
He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his family.

The church in the West and especially here in America has become a country club. We have replaced unity with homogeneity, sameness. Everyone must look the same, act the same, believe exactly the same or they are made to feel unwelcome. This seems to be an extension of, or leads to the consumerist church. That place where one goes to have her needs and desires met. We go to be entertained, to meet likeminded people of our own socio-economic status, people just like us. While there is no dearth of books more than willing to point these ills out to us, Terry Austin in Church Without Fences goes beyond and offers a model of how to overcome this trend. Church Without Fences offers us insights on how to form authentic community out of which arises radical love. This book promotes radical inclusivity while telling us that it is the job of the Holy Spirit to change people, ours is to love them right where they are and provide a rich environment for the Spirit to do His work of transforming people into the image of Jesus. Church Without Fences is a short, enjoyable read that packs a lot of insight into its just over 100 pages. I highly recommend this book.

Paul DeBaufer, one of those in the margins, unwanted in many churches, 
the despised, the unforgiven (by society and those in our churches)
and one who stands with the disenfranchised and unwanted

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