When I started reading REENTRY, I was preparing for a Wednesday night youth group class series about mental health issues. I wanted to be hope-filled in my approach to teaching these students about the different disorders, symptoms, treatments, etc. Little did I know just how relevant this book would be for the year 2020.
Though it was published in 2017 and prominently features a trip to Barrow, Alaska, that Josh made in 2014, the lessons he learned and shared are more timely now. Everyone is in the same situation. We are currently in the midst of a global pandemic with now clear end in sight. But we know we will get through this. The question is, what do we do once we’re on the other side of this thing?
Josh learned that for the citizens of Barrow, the months of darkness are not the hardest part of the year. The greater challenge is when the sun comes back over the horizon, the light returns, but nothing changes. It’s still as cold and bleak as ever.
For people recovering from addiction or mental illness, for those coming off a spiritual high, for those who have just gone through the valley of the shadow of death, reentry can be more challenging than we realize. Josh learned from the people of Barrow the importance of roots and rhythm.
We need to be firmly established and rooted. For God’s people, those roots should be in the love of God in Christ, the Word of God, and the community of believers. This gives us the firm foundation on which to stand as we get our bearings upon reentry. But we also need rhythm in our lives. Josh points to the rhythm of Jesus’ ministry: solitude, community, ministry, repeat. Most of us have been stuck in the solitude section for months now. We are ready to be back in community. But we also need to use our time of solitude with God and encouragement from the community to propel us into action for God’s kingdom.
This book really has me thinking about what the church is going to look like in the coming months as we reenter society. As our states reopen and people venture out into the world again, what role is the church going to play? What things are worth leaving behind and what is worth bringing with us into the future? How can we help our church members develop the roots and rhythm they need in their own lives?
This is an excellent, relatable, timely book that would be well worth it for anyone involved in church leadership and ministry.