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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Friday, March 2, 2012

Missional (again!)


Ever since coming back to Canada East Mission in 2009, I have felt an urgency for our congregations to be proactive in their mission. For three years I have probably wearied our congregational leaders with my constant questions about mission and being involved in the life of the surrounding communities. To that end, the number one goal of the Mission Advocate support network is to help congregations discern/be about their mission. Similarly, the intent of What Matters Most workshops is to help congregations determine what they feel God is calling them to do, and help them structure to do that effectively. Despite all of this preparatory work, with a few notable exceptions, not much seems to have changed and many congregations continue to decline. Despite this, I am not discouraged and still believe our congregations need to clarify their purpose and be on task.

This is the context for what I want to say about a book I have recently read. The book is entitled Introducing The Missional Church: What It Is, Why It Matters, How To Become One, written by Alan J. Roxburgh and M. Scott Boren. I had read Roxburgh’s earlier book, The Missional Leader, which personally I found rather dry and academic. Despite having attended a workshop with Alan, I did not recommend that book to very many people. This one, however, is different. This book is very readable and helpful. Examples of churches that are actively working at the process of becoming missional are included. Even more important is that Roxburgh and Boren recognize and acknowledge how difficult it is for congregations to change, and outline a process that will help. It will take about five years, they say.

The authors encourage congregations to start slow and small, having deliberate conversations among the members about what has changed in the world around us, admitting that the old methods no longer seem to produce the desired results. Churches are not encouraged to change overnight, but to gradually start some small experiments, reaching out into the neighbourhoods where the congregation members live. Starting small will produce confidence that “we can do this”, and will eventually change the church culture from an inward and protective stance to one that wants to reach out.

Perhaps most helpful is a warning to outside leaders (like me) who see the need for congregations to be about their mission, not to try to hurry or short-circuit this process. To do so is to endanger the entire effort and probably derail it. In other words, be patient, Carman, be patient!

I heartily recommend Introducing the Missional Church to all those who want to better understand what it means to be about their mission, and how to get there. The book is especially recommended to Mission Advocates and Pastors.

Posted by Carman

2 comments:

  1. excellent review Carman and thanks for the suggestion! this is one book that is in my "pile" (my queue for reading)... perhaps i will bump it closer to the top!

    john

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  2. Check out the website for the Missional Network. It has tons of ideas, resources, encouragement to experiment (a key concept to learn!). I recommend it for browsing and thinking about.

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