I have recently had the pleasure of catching up with Rick Apperson. I attended a ministry school with Rick and his wife Sarah twenty years ago. Rick has recently published a book that recounts much of his life since that time. Killed by the Church, Resurrected by Christ is a memoir of Rick’s journey through the struggles of church life to a place of true life in Christ. In the book Rick alternates between stories and inspiration. He shares his experience as a missionary, pastor, and church member, and he recounts the pain and struggle associated with a life of ministry.
Rick shared with me some of his thoughts about Killed by the Church, Resurrected by Christ.
Can you tell me a little about he process of writing Killed by the Church, Resurrected by Christ? What inspired you to write the book? How long did it take?
Originally I had not planned a book. Though I had always wanted to write a book, I had no concrete plan or vision. I had spent about a year just chatting and discussing church and church life with friends and mentors. Out of that I shared some concepts and thoughts from the pulpit and just sort of fleshed these ideas out a bit more. As I talked and thought about these things, I also saw where God had healed me as well and I wanted to encourage others.I sat down to write my thoughts out around the same time that I became aware of a writing contest here in Canada. I tucked that thought away as I began writing down my feelings about church. I came home every day after work and put down 500-1,000 words. As I began to write, I hit a sort of groove and the words just flowed. The basic book took 3 months. Around the 2nd month I sent an email out to friends asking about their church experiences. When I finished writing, I looked over the submissions and each one fit a specific section of the book.Life happens and I mostly sat on the book for a year and then completely re-wrote the ending and added the study questions. After that it was done.
I hope and pray that people will realize that though bad things may have happened to them, Jesus Christ can heal, save and restore. As they learn who they are in Christ (Gal. 2:20) they will hopefully view their past church experiences and life itself through a new lens.
That dichotomy is real but the opposite is also true. As I share in the book, I also found vibrant, life-producing churches as well. However, I did not recognize the good until I recognized who I was in Jesus Christ. I believe every believer should be seeking Christ daily. We should not just look for life within the church but in our daily relationship with Jesus Christ. If we know who we are in Christ and are living that out, then we can also see the life available in our local bodies as well. I see the church as one tool in the toolbox to building our relationship with Christ. Sometimes it works and sometimes we need other tools as well.
I think a crisis event is what often drives us to our knees and ultimately to the cross. However, the process of surrender is an ongoing event. In Luke 9:23 Jesus says if someone wants to be His dicsiple they need to take up their cross daily and follow Him.
So many people have had negative church experiences and can relate to the stories found here. I would recommend this book for anyone who has ever felt like giving up on faith, church, God and even life itself. Anyone who wants a new beginning!
Rick Apperson’s experience of the Christian life, his observations about the church, and his life in Christ is an encouragement and inspiration to any of us who have struggled with church and faith. Killed by the Church, Resurrected by Christ is an interesting read which may just bring you closer to God’s heart for you and His church. Check it out!