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Steeple Envy: Losing My Religion and Rediscovering Jesus [Softcover]
by Victor Cuccia
re:Think Publishing Company
172 pages, $8.99
Review by Steven King, MBA, MEd
How long has it been since you have had to look for a new church home? No doubt many Christians are probably very comfortable in their current routine: go to church, sit in the same area every Sunday, sing three songs, and listen to a 24.5 minute sermon. It is comfortable, routine, and feels good. For that week, you can check the box labeled, “I went to church.” Maybe even use your smart phone to “check in,” so all your FaceBook friends will be impressed. No fuss, no muss…week in and week out, it is all the same.
Having moved in the last year, I had to look for a new church home. Coworkers, neighbors, and friends suggested a church not too far from home that had “great” services, contemporary music, and relevant teaching. Everything at this church seemed to be perfect: polished and smooth. Those attending appear to have been worshipping and were somewhat engaged during the sermon (as long as the ushers roaming the aisles looking to seat latecomers did not bother you).
I never felt comfortable, though. Although I have come to understand that many pastors have abandoned exegetical preaching for “feel good” Christianity, it was not the teaching that made me anxious. Something did not “feel” right about the church. It seemed a little too plastic…maybe a touch too theatrical. All fluff and no substance. After reading Steeple Envy, I know why.
Victor Cuccia had a similar experience…except his awakening came from within the church. By anyone’s definition he had made it—he was on staff at a prestigious church which was attracting members and completing multi-million dollar building projects. When this church bought him a new, tailor-made suit, however, it toppled Vic over the edge. He felt as if he were losing his religion.
Thankfully he did not stay in that place; rather, he had a moment of clarity and knew something had to change. To combat his angst he decided to return to the New Testament to determine if the modern church movement was biblical. Sadly, he found that much of what is propagated as church is nothing more than self-aggrandizing religion.
Steeple Envy is a book that every Christian leader, teacher, and pastor needs to read. Professional ministry can be an arduous navigation—once you have the right degree and you are in the right post, it is usually just a matter of networking till you can move up. Envy is a fitting word for what pastors go through and its reality should cut them to the collective quick: has serving God been relegated to obtaining more bragging rights? To put it more to the point: is it the size of the steeple or the heart of the people that matters?
Join Victor as he unfolds his journey: from his epiphany to a pivotal interview with a very controversial pastor, to his present ministry in
. Most fittingly, his church is called Jacksonville, Florida Journey Church – and its vision seems to sum it all up: exists to encourage people to love God and love others, so that we can join Him in changing the world. Journey Church
It is enjoyable to read of God’s miraculous provision to bring his mission to fruition. When ministry and mission fall together in only a way that could have been God’s doing, you know the Church is on to something. This book will restore your faith in what church can be…a place where people reach out as Jesus’ hands extended…not merely a cappuccino-producing, laser-light dazzling, experience.
If you are involved in church leadership, this book is a call to abandon envy and rethink what Church is all about. If you are not involved in church leadership, buy this book for your pastor…it might be the most relevant book, aside from the Bible, he ever reads.