In 2020, churches around the United States as well as other parts of the world were told to shut down along with other "non-essential" businesses or organizations due to the outbreak of Coronavirus. At first, when speculations predicted death rates in the many millions nationwide, most churches gladly complied for the sake of what was explained by governments officials as an effort to flatten the statistical death curve. This was to take place in a matter of weeks. But government help quickly turned to government overreach and the theological question was now at the forefront: What rights does the government have over the Church of Jesus Christ? The Essential Church chronicles one church's journey in this process, a journey beginning with cooperative compliance for the sake of public health to a theologically biblically based position that the government does not have the divine right to interfere with the worship function or content of the Church. It is hoped that this book will help give churches courage to be the ekklesia--the gathering of Christ no matter the cost or circumstances.
"COVID has exposed the church’s great need for a biblically-rooted ecclesiology that isn’t driven by political, cultural, or medical winds...In The Essential Church, Steve Swartz offers a refreshing and encouraging alternative."
Eric Dodson, Pastor
Grace Community Baptist Church, Texas
"Whether or not we admit it, the cultural landscape has changed, perhaps even permanently. As we move forward, it is imperative for us to have sound, level-headed, truthful, biblical resources to help us navigate our future engagements. The Essential Church will help bring clarity and encouragement; it is a true blessing."
Harvest Bible Church, New Hampshire
"Steve's passion encouraged our congregation to be bold and courageous. I have no doubt that The Essential Church and its chronology of our journey at Grace Bible will strengthen your own love for Christ, increase your knowledge of His Word, and embolden your understanding of the essential nature of His Church."
Darren Wiebe, Pastor
Grace Bible Church of Bakersfield, California
A hymn, from the Greek word hymnos, is a God-focused theologically rich song which explains and celebrates truths of Scripture. The fact is that the greatest hymns of the Christian faith tend to outlast - often by centuries - the greatest sermons ever preached. And what the hymn writers of the past...
It has been said that we are most like God when we forgive, but what does forgiveness really look like? In this short look at the book of Philemon, Steve breaks down forgiveness into three easy-to-understand parts.