book review: pure scum by mike sares

Written by Amber French

My name is Amber and I'm a blogger, aspiring writer, bookworm, youth leader (just to name a few) living out this thing called life while glorifying God in the process. Blogging is like eating Lay's chips. You really can't eat just one! (unless you're Chuck Norris).

April 16, 2010

Pure Scum is about the birth of the church “Scum of the Earth” written by pastor and founder Mike Sares. He talks about how the church is “…a place where everyone is welcome, a place that we like to call “the church for the left-out and the right-brained.”

The name of the church is found in 1 Corinthians 4:13: “Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.” He talks about the struggles he’s faced, both personally and as the pastor of the church – decisions he’s had to make that weren’t popular.

I feel like the whole book can be summed up with this quote by Sares:

“Could it be that one of the avenues to deeper relationship with Jesus is taking the risks that Jesus asks you to take – following Him where He bids you to follow?”

For Sares this meant moving to a new place, starting a church, naming that church Scum of the Earth and countless other decisions where he must’ve wondered if he’d heard God correctly.

I love Sares’ honesty. He doesn’t hide the fact that he’s not perfect. He talks about the struggles he’s faced in his marriage, how he feels like he’s not the best father or pastor at times. He shares his doubts. I think it’s the fact he’s so real that I liked the book so much.

He comments, “the times I have been closest to God are times when I have been literally knocked to my knees.” He’s fully aware that he’s only a vessel and God is the One speaking through him.

“When pain roars into our lives, God does not call us to be stoic. He does not expect us to keep stiff upper lips. God expects us to let our true feelings out because he can handle our honest emotions. Jesus was forsaken of God so that we don’t have to be. He was cut off from God so that we don’t have to be. Jesus said after his resurrection, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” He will never leave us. Never.”


  1. Billy Coffey

    This sounds like an excellent book, and I think honesty like that is just what Christians should be more open with speaking. Loved your bio, too. I think you're right–Chuck Norris really is the only person who can eat just one Lay's chip.

  2. @bibledude

    I'm with you on this Billy! I definitely agree that this type of honesty should be much more prevalent among Christians these days. I appreciate the feedback on the review!

  3. Chopper

    I’m reading this book for the 3rd time in 2 years. It’s incredible. Being a big fan of Five Iron Frenzy, I’ve always wanted to hear about this Scum church they helped create. The day after their Kickstarter show (and driving from Toronto to Denver to see it) I went to Scum and met Mike. What a very authentic, kind, gentle soul. His love for the Lord and others leaps off of the pages.

  4. John McF

    If you are a proponent of the “Keeping it Real” approach to life then Mike Sares’ personal story and that of Scum of the Earth Church is a must-read. Mike takes us along the journey of his testimony and testimonies of others to help anyone understand how to be more Christ-like. Throughout the book Mike’s message is told in entertaining and engaging language – as if you were sitting with an old friend and having a chat over a coffee or a drink. Mike’s book is delivered with great wit and naturalness, but make no mistake it will challenge you and make you think hard. A great read.


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book review: pure scum by mike sares

by Amber French time to read: 2 min