This is a book about becoming water. It is a call for churches and ministries to become adaptable, flexible, and fluid with their cultural surroundings. Gibbons points to the increasing globalization occurring as the primary reason driving the need for churches to become this way. Neighborhoods are becoming more diverse, and the amount of cultural information that is available to us because of new media has created a sort of global village.
The essence of Gibbons’ challenge to the church lays in his definition of neighbor. For him, neighbor isn’t someone just like you who lives across the street, it is the person who is culturally or socio-economically different from you–the person who lives on the other side of the tracks. If churches want to thrive in the emerging world, they must be all about meeting the needs of their ‘neighbor’.
Dave’s church, Newsong in Irvine, CA, has done a lot to reach out to their neighbors, and this book is chalked full of motivating stories. They’ve planted churches in community centers in Crenshaw, in pubs in London, and in nightclubs in Bangkok. He shares what being liquid looks like with real stories of gospel fluidity in places where the church has often times failed to exist.
This book was a of rah-rah-rah sort of motivating book. I had this feeling of, I want to go out and conquer the world while I was reading it. He paints a picture that puts the church at a crossroads. We stand with incredible opportunity to embrace our changing world and have significant impact, or we can retreat from the changes all around us and fail to make a lasting mark. He shows us what the path forward that embraces the changing world looks like, and it is very hopeful and exciting.
Here is an interview Dave Gibbons did for Christianity Today. In it, you get a good sense of what this book is about.