Renovate, Changing Who You Are By Loving Where You Are – A Book Review

A review of the book “Renovate, Changing Who You Are By Loving Where You Are” by Leonce B. Crump Jr.

This is a work of non fiction, which accounts the life of Pastor Leonce Crump and his ministry in Atlanta, GA. The book addresses the challenges of ministry, and the realization that Pastor Crump came to that changed his life, and ministry forever. This is a book for all ministry leaders, missionaries, preachers, teachers, and all believers. The overall content addresses how Pastor Crump and his family were able to reach the people of Atlanta by knowing them, understanding them, living among them, and knowing their story.

The book opens with a powerful quote “Go to the people. Live with them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. But with the best leaders, when the work is done, the task is accomplished, the people will say ‘We have done this ourselves’ “. (Crump, 2016)

The book challenges the reader over the theory of place. Crump asks the question “Why are we here?”, the whole book is built on this foundation. The author wants to challenge the reader to think about their community, are you their to bless people, contribute, and make a difference helping others, or are you in your community for yourself and your own gain.

Crump challenges his readers with the Christian idea that our home is not of this world and heaven is where we long to be. Crump calls this a false dichotomy. Crump asks “why would we live detached from what Jesus came to save?” Scripture says Jesus came to save the world. The escapist route is best captured by that word “transience”, which Crump calls the ministry problem, if not the life problem of our time. The renovating route evokes words like perseverance, faithfulness, long-suffering, staying put. (Crump, 13-14)

Crump states “Simply, our goal is not to get off the planet, but to see it renovated. Our goal is to see God heal the infection that affects His world because this world is our home” (Crump, 39).

Crump continues on in his book to draw on this theory of place. Crump talks about the understanding that the earth is our eternal home where God will renovate and restore his creation that he called good and came to save. Crump makes a point that once as a believer we understand this, we can move our hearts to that of a redemptive spirit, and passion for our cities.

The author continues on talking about the importance of knowing your city, the ins and outs of your community. Know the business’s, where people like to go in the community, and most importantly learn and dive into the local culture of the people. Crump States “if you can’t speak someone’s language, it doesn’t matter what you are saying”. (Crump, 74)

“Renovation happens through networks of people who think critically about culture and seek out ways in which the gospel can be applied to their work or creativity, creatively”. (Crump, 127)

“God speaks of a collective people, not individuals. And our efforts to renovate our culture must be in the same light”. (Crump, 127)

Crump covers the importance of understanding what being sent to minister means, and like the Israelites who were exiled we are to live and build homes among those we are wanting to love and serve, bless the community, 

Crump discusses how he learned the importance of living among the people in the heart of Atlanta instead of living in a different place than he ministered in. Crump quotes Jeremiah 29:1-7 this section of scripture has given him a passion for how he is to do ministry. He believes that in order to live out the call of being sent and theory of place, we as believers must have “renewal in all facets of the social structure of a place is an implication of the gospel, as the gospel has a deep, vital, and healthy impact on business, the arts, government, media, and academia of the society.” (Crump, 172)

Crump also discusses from Jeremiah 29 the importance of intermarriage to create a new ethnic, “…to be freed from the bounds of predjudice, fear, and hang-ups, of simply being identified by our race, class or culture. We belong to become a new people altogether, a beautiful tapestry of Gods creation…” (Crump, 185)

My reactions to this book was that I was greatly challenged spiritually in my view of ministry, how I viewed heaven and earth and my understanding of place. Crump gave a lot of insight in understanding how to reach a city, how to live and be among the people you want to reach. Crump had amazing insights into scripture, and the power of his message. As an ordained minister I was challenged in how I have practiced, done and viewed ministry. This book has provided me with a bag full of tools on how to effectively reach my community as the Israelites were instructed to do in Jeremiah 29:1-7. 

Renovation Church

Author: Pastor Leon B Crump Jr


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I received a review copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of a review.