The Least, the Last, and the Lost (Book Review)
Mez McConnell’s new book is a must-read for pastors, church planters, and those trying to reach people in schemes or council estates with the gospel.
If we’re honest with ourselves, most of our churches are quite uniform. People enjoy similar jobs, family lives, backgrounds, and culture. But is that what God intended for church to be like?
How can church membership represent accurately the community it is in? How can it welcome the marginalised, those who speak differently, act differently, and experience church very differently?
Research and experience
Mez draws together over 1,000 hours’ worth of research and more than 21 years of ministry experience with the poor and/or marginalised in The Least, the Last, and the Lost. In addition to this great book, there is a website that outlines all the key statistics and research that is the background of the book. It is fascinating to go through.
nb. The book is coming from a Scottish context where a ‘scheme’ is similar to what you would call a ‘council estate’ in England or Wales.
There are a number of aims in this book but some of the things I think it gets spot on are:
- Proving a tool for churches to understand the landscape of the schemes on their doorsteps.
- Helping the reader understand the cultural and social make-up of a scheme community.
- Helping churches and Christians think through how to engage evangelistically in scheme communities.
Throughout the book you also hear voices of others through little ‘spotlight’ stories. These stories are relevant to the particular chapter and are written by different people from different cultures, backgrounds, and social classes. The stories help you get a fuller picture of what scheme-life and scheme-ministry looks like.
Challenging, unsettling, and glorifying
Reading this book will challenge your approach to reaching those from a working-class background, it will unsettle you and it may even make you feel uncomfortable, but the goal is to glorify Jesus and make us all better disciples.
This book will be useful for pastors up and down the UK because it helps you understand the different cultures around you. It gives practical advice on how to, and how not to, reach those in council estates in your area, and it will give you a greater burden for those around you who don’t know Jesus.
There were points where this book made me cry, points where it made me laugh, but most importantly it was a book that reiterated Jesus’ call to go into the world and make disciples.
If you’re a pastor, buy this book and read it with your elders. If you’re a Christian, buy a few copies and give them out in church. I can genuinely say this was the most challenging and insightful books that I read in 2021.
You will be challenged, you may even be offended at points, but most importantly you’ll be better equipped to know how to share the gospel with, disciple and train people from schemes.
You can order a copy of The Least, the Last, and the Lost from 10ofThose for £12.99.