A Church Called TOV (Good)

Review written by John Teal, September 17, 2021

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good (TOV), and he separated the light from the darkness. Genesis 1:3-4

Sadly, toxic cultures and abusive leadership exist within congregations, and tragically they have increased in recent years. In the past few years, abuses of power in large evangelical ministries have come to light – the sins of abusive leadership exposed. Charismatic or narcissistic leaders often nurture cultures where “retainers” (McKnight’s term) enable, maintain, and retain a power and fear-based culture that protects the institution rather than the TOV people of God.

Scot McKnight and his daughter, Laura Barringer, address this critical topic of our time in A Church Called Tov: Forming a Goodness Culture That Resists Abuses of Power and Promotes Healing. This book is a must-read for our time and the members of our congregations. I have included two YouTube videos worth the time to watch (Churchleaders.com interview / Pepperdine Harbor Interview).

Below are seven habits of goodness (TOV) that Scot outlines in the Pepperdine Harbor interview. Scot says that a TOV culture nurtures the following:

1.    A culture of empathy.
2.    A culture of grace as opposed to fear.
3.    A culture that protects people as opposed to the institution or its leaders.
4.    A culture that values truth instead of lying, deceiving, false narratives, or spinning the truth.
5.    A culture that values justice and doing the right thing at the right time versus loyalty to the culture or institution.
6.    A culture devoted to service rather than “heroes or celebrities of the culture.”
7.    And ultimately a culture that nurtures Christ-likeness that forms people who follow Jesus instead of a leader-centric culture.

May we of the Stone-Campbell tradition grow, learn and be a church called TOV - letting our light shine as Jesus would have.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16).

John Teal serves on the Board of Directors of Common Grounds Unity. John and Danna live in Simi Valley, CA and will be relocating to the Raleigh/Durham area in October 2021. They have two adult daughters Michelle and Jessica. John has a B.S. in Biblical Studies from Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, Missouri.