I’ll tip my hand right from the beginning. Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture is one of the best books I’ve read all year. It’s filled with great, inspiring stories that come from real life, hands-on ministry experience. If you’ve ever wondered whether this church thing ever works, you need to read this book. It provides much-needed hope and direction, as well as a shift in the way we think about what defines “success” in the church.

Hatmaker is careful to avoid common pitfalls. Without in any way letting the church off the hook for all its failings, Brandon still keeps the perspective positive: on what we can do. There’s no sense of giving up. He also addresses the tangling and untangling of evangelism and social action deftly and realistically: a solid theological work.

Although early on the author says that the point is not to copy his model, I do hope that you’ll steal an idea here or there. Pick and choose some elements from his ministry to incorporate into your own. The broader Kingdom will be the better for it.