More reading — Missional Congregations

I started reading a new book today (I often have a couple I am working on at the same time).  This book is called, “A Field Guide for the Missional Congregation” by Rick Rouse and Craig Van Gelder.  It is an Augsburg Fortress selection that was recommended to me.

I am just getting into this book but I wanted to share something with you that has already struck me and got me thinking.  Here’s a short excerpt:

The premise of this book is that becoming an effective witness to the gospel in today’s world — becoming a missional congregation — requires us to revision the way we ARE the church in order to more faithful DO church.  Consider the following shifts in an understanding of what the church is and does.

FROM:                               TO:
Maintenance                  Mission
Membership                   Discipleship
Pastor-centered           Lay-empowered
Chaplaincy (Self)         Hospitality (Others)
Focus on ourselves     Focus on the world
Settled                              Sent

That above list got me thinking about my own setting and context.  Are we a missional congregation or are we satisfied with the status quo?  Are we inward focused or outward focused?  Or consider this question:  If this congregation ceased to exist, would the community miss us?

More from this book later.


9 thoughts on “More reading — Missional Congregations

  1. Wow — it’s really interesting to see God doing the same thing half way across the country 🙂

    This is the direction the church I attend has been moving lately. The pastor there had a revelation one day: the Great Commission isn’t “if you build it, they will come.” It’s “GO into all the world and preach the gospel.” That means the church shouldn’t be waiting for people to come into our doors, but rather that we (as the church) should be *actively spreading* the Good News — that is, reaching out into our communities. Since I’ve recently been tapped to run the youth group at the church, I am trying to figure out how I can lead the youth into such a lifestyle. Looks like I’ll have to add this book to my reading list, as well!

    • I said almost the exact same thing this past Sunday in my sermon “We can’t just sit here and expect people to come to us. We can’t just sit here and wait for people to ‘come to their senses’. We can’t just sit here and expect the gospel to preach itself…”.

      My prayers are with you as you lead your youth to be more missional. Please stop back and let me know how that goes for you. We are starting a community youth ministry program here in Jackson and this is something that we would like our youth to do as well.

      Thanks for the comment. God bless your ministry.

  2. Our Lutheran history had pastors as chaplains and we’re still in that mindset in many ways. I’ve read about Lutheran pastors who came from the old country to serve the Lutherans in a large area of the west, hence they went out on long treks to pastor to their flock, but didn’t reach out much at all to the non-lutherans in the surrounding areas. I understand the difference, but I find that it is like head knowledge and heart knowledge for me.

  3. I have read this book and this “compare and contrast” list struck me too. Sometimes I think we focus so much on the “Gathered and Fed” we forget to be ” Enlightened and Sent” beyond our parking lots. I think sometimes of all of the time and energy and our budget that goes for the first, and how not so much for the second. I preached similarly this past Sunday about being being called to be sent out and willing to risk boundaries, and not just once in awhile. If we could embrace this more often we might find that the doing turns into being in new ways.

    • Absolutely.

      Later on in the book it talks about that this mentality of focusing on “us” comes from the state run church of Europe. And when people moved over to the Americas, people brought this mentality with them…where it does not work. Unlike Europe then, we can not assume today that everyone is a Christian and a member of a church. We need to “reprogram” our way of being the being.

      Thank you for the comment.

  4. Pingback: Backwards Priority | mnphysicists theological blog

  5. EDH:

    It was gratifying to read your comments on your blog regarding the recent book that I wrote with Craig. Would love to quote you on the writer’s website if that would be ok with you. Thanks for sharing! Rick

    • Rick – That would be fine with me. I am nearly done with the book and I am really enjoying it. I plan to use this with my council.

  6. EDH:

    Thanks again for your fine comments. You will be joining many other congregations who are using this book as a training resource for missional leadership. My co-author, Craig Van Gelder, and I, have been very gratified for the enthusiastic reception this book has been recieving across the church. Feel free to email me if I can be of any assistance as you study this book with your leaders. Best wishes, Rick Rouse

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