Dustin Willis co-authored the book Life On Mission with Aaron Coe and is now following up with his second Moody Published book, Life In Community | Joining Together to Display the Gospel. Dustin’s desire is to see everyday people join together in the history-sweeping mission of God.
Dustin currently serves with the North American Mission Board and speaks across North America. Dustin earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing from Clemson University and his master’s degree from Liberty Theological Seminary. Dustin is a regular contributor at sendnetwork.com.
Dustin lives in metro Atlanta, with his wife, Renie, and their two children, Jack and Piper.
*The information above has been copied directly from the author’s website.
For years I have been trying to encourage others to embrace community, I use the word fellowship. When I discovered this book, I was very excited, and I could not wait to read it. While reading the book, it seemed, at times, that I was reading my own thoughts. Which really isn’t that strange, since Dustin and I read the same Bible, and listen to the same Holy Spirit. I could not help but chuckle when I read what he wrote on page ninety-five, “my wife and many others tell me that I seek controversy. I constantly have to check my argumentative nature and make sure my motive is for the other persons’ wellbeing, not for my desire to get into a fight.” Yep, we have a lot in common. Our difference, I could not write such a book. Dustin Willis wrote an excellent book, on a much needed subject. I am grateful to Dustin for such a fine book.
Dustin used Romans 12 as a proof text, as a foundation to propose biblical community. At first I was a little skeptical, uncertain that Romans 12 was the appropriate passage. But, as I continued to read the book, it became clear that Paul’s commands to individuals were/are for the benefit of community. Dustin writes about the loneliness that we all experience, and the innate God-given need for community. He emphasized the importance of love, transparency, encouragement, and hospitality. He defines hospitality, to ensure that there is no confusion about what hospitality is (thank-you Dustin). The book contains many passages from Scripture, way to go Dustin! He discusses real people, real scenarios, and even himself. The only chapter that I believe needs improvement, was the chapter discussing suffering (Persevering Together). Since suffering is such a tough topic, no one can fully explain suffering in context, within one chapter. Those who try, always write ambiguously (in my opinion). However, I do appreciate the encouragement to suffer as a community, the urge to empathize with one another.
The book is divided into three sections.
Section 1: Forming Community
Chapter 1: The Need for Community
Chapter 2: Common Ground
Chapter 3: Continuously Transformed
Section 2: The Values for Living in Community
Chapter 4: Your Best at the Table
Chapter 5: No Masks Allowed
Chapter 6: Hate Can be a Good Thing
Chapter 7: Glue to the Good
Chapter 8: Love, Like, and Honor
Chapter 9: Persevering Together
Chapter 10: Meeting Needs
Chapter 11: Pursuing Hospitality
Section 3: Next Steps for Strong Community
Chapter 12: Do Something and Start Now
Dustin provided practical, personal reflection questions at the conclusion of each chapter. The book includes a six week, small group, study guide for the purpose of aiding local churches. I believe, that the role of the church, and the role of individuals within the church, has been misunderstood for a long time. Life in Community, written by Dustin Willis needs to be read by pastors, deacons, church/group leaders, and everyone else.
I have received a free copy of this book from Moody Publishers Blogger Review Program, for an honest review. I have given an honest review.