Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Search Committee - Tim Owens

An unlikely group of people from a small-town southern church are thrown together to find a new preacher. There's Travis, married and whose wife is keen to start a family, but he's just not sure. "A middle-aged busybody" with strong opinions called Dot. Susie - a single parent. Bill, older than the rest of the group whose life centers around his wife. Joyce, recently moved south and is the resident 'Yankee'. Matt who is "highly educated", but is the quiet one and finally Frankie - an easy going woman with a hidden heartache.

Their quest takes them through towns, some off the beaten track but with the final outcome of being  - will they, at this church, find a preacher that's right for them? In part, it's a story of subterfuge on all levels really. As a search committee they can't tell the churches that they are going to why they are there (or they would be hounded out!) As individuals, they are all carrying their own burden - be it the prospect of becoming a father, confirmation of a cheating husband or closure on the death of a brother.

Throughout their journey, they listen to different sermons, some of which bring home a message to them in one way or another. In the end they all find peace with their worries and find a preacher - from an unexpected source!

I loved this book. It was quietly charming, funny, and poignant. These characters felt so real and I was privileged to be able to dip into a chapter of their lives. I enjoyed the sermons that Owen's "allowed" me to "hear", and by no means did they come across as preaching. In fact, it further developed an understanding of the troubles each member of the committee was facing.

When interviewed, Owens hoped that his readers would take from this novel - "reconciliation, redemption, forgiveness, spiritual growth and grace - especially grace." And I certainly did. It's an unassumingly powerful book that reminds me that people may have many foibles, but they're all still great.

A highly recommended read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers. I am not required to give a positive review and the opinions expressed here are my own. 

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