- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Baker Books (March 8 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 080107231X
- ISBN-13: 978-0801072314
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.3 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 376 g
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #335,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Missional Paperback – Mar 8 2011
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From the Back Cover
You can transform your community
The missional church movement is a sign that we increasingly feel the call to impact our communities, which is a good thing. But, says Alan J. Roxburgh, these conversations still prioritize church success over mission--i.e., how can being missional grow my church? But to focus on such questions misses the point.
Missional calls you to reenter your neighborhood and community to discover what the Spirit is doing there--to start with God's mission--and join in, shaping your local church around that mission. With inspiring true stories and a solid biblical base, this is a book that will change lives and communities as its message is lived out.
"This is the best book yet from one of the leading voices in the missional conversation."--John R. Franke, Theologian in Residence, First Presbyterian Church of Allentown; general coordinator, the Gospel and Our Culture Network
"Many books are worth reading but few worth absorbing. This falls into the latter category, and if you allow it to, this book will take you into a new world and give you eyes to see what God is doing all around you."--M. Scott Boren, pastor; author, Missional Small Groups
"This book takes us to new places for the future of Christ's church in North America. It is sure to be a tour de force for the missional conversation. I am not being excessive when I say this book is brilliant."--David Fitch, B. R. Lindner Professor of Evangelical Theology, Northern Seminary; author, The End of Evangelicalism?
"Missional may well be the best yet from author Alan Roxburgh as he prophetically reclaims the Newbigin engagement of gospel and culture as the key to rediscovering what it really means to be church."--Craig Van Gelder, PhD, Professor of Congregational Mission, Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, MN
Alan J. Roxburgh is president of the Missional Network (formally Roxburgh Missional Network), an international group of practitioners and academics committed to partnering with and calling forth missional churches and mission-shaped leaders. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including Introducing the Missional Church. Roxburgh and his wife, Jane, live in Canada. He can be reached at his website, www.roxburghmissionalnet.com.
About the Author
Alan J. Roxburgh is a teacher, trainer, and consultant who works with Allelon and framing resources for the missional church internationally. He coordinates an international project involving leaders from twelve nations who are examining leadership formation in a globalized world. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including The Missional Church; The Missional Leader; Missionary Congregation, Leadership, and Liminality; Reaching a New Generation; and Introducing the Missional Church. He and his wife, Jane, live in Canada. He can be reached at his website, www.roxburghmissionalnet.com.
Top customer reviews
I think it might have been Thomas Aquinas who made this statement - after a life time of work and suddenly having his eyes open to the glory of God.
I read Alan Roxburgh's latest this Saturday morning, and the feeling he reflects is similar. All these years in the missional conversation, and only now beginning to see! The book is worth a read. There is nothing especially new here, if you are familiar with Alan and his work. But there is a new urgency as he pulls together threads from other books, from recent conversations, and even - yes - Charles Taylor (59).
In fact this is the second book in the missional conversation that I have seen that references "social imaginary." I may have missed other references, but the only other one I know - is my own ("An Emerging Dictionary for the Gospel and Culture." If you know of others, chime in. "Desiring the Kingdom" doesn't count).
Alan's thesis is that we continually ask church questions of the gospel, when we should be having a dialogue. More, he argues that in the trialogue between church, gospel and culture, we are really still in a monologue. There is no real listening to the gospel or to the culture, but rather we import our questions and ways of seeing and so are not able to truly listen. Finally, he makes the point that more STUDY and new STRATEGIES are not the answer.
How to really enter a free and open space? How to listen anew to the Scripture?
Alan walks through Luke-Acts briefly, arguing that we see the same struggle in the early church. The Gospel was ethno-centric and very Jewish. Up until the tenth chapter of Acts, the "language house" (or social imaginary) remained virtually static. As with other commentators (Stuart Murray) Alan sees the real struggle of our time to be the move from Jerusalem to Antioch - that is my shorthand not his. The Gospel needed to break out of the narrow cultural frame it was in, and the Spirit was straining to make the break.
Alan is straining to communicate here, and there is a fresh urgency in his voice. He admits that even in "Missional Church" the emphasis remained on "church," and that he had not realized until recently that even in his own conversations the questions were still dominated by an ecclesial imagination. How do we move beyond this framework? We are still working on "church growth" but now with a missional label.
Chapter 6 asks for a "new text." Matthew 28:18-20 is inscribed in the memory of most Christians of the past generation. This text dominated our imagination - and became the horizon at which we aimed. But it was a text that came to prominence in a certain social context. That environment is almost gone, and exists only in isolated stands of areas largely clear-cut by modernity.
The texts that are critical for Alan in attempting to develop a new set of ears and eyes are Luke 10, and perhaps secondarily John 20. These texts have become critical to many of us in the past five years. How do we enter these texts and let them form a new imagination? Not by further study - but by EXPERIENCE. We actually go out two by two with jesus. If we enter the texts and let them read us, at the same time as we engage in listening in our neighbourhoods, there may be hope for the Gospel in our generation. Make no mistake: we DARE NOT do one without the other (see below).
The closing five chapters may be the best part of this book. Many of us don't need convincing that the church is a mess and has turned so inward that it has become anything but the living Body of Christ. It has too often become a business, or a caricature - a simulacra - of the real thing. In chapters 9 to 13 Alan gets practical. Here are the final chapters listed:
9. Sending the 70 - A Guide for our Times
10. A New Set of Practices - Themes of Luke 10
11. Peace, Healing and the Kingdom of God
12. Rules for Radicals
13. Beginning the Journey
In chapter 9, speaking out of Luke 9 and 10, Alan notes that we carry a lot of baggage on this journey. But it is simply not possible to travel forward unless we are willing to "unlearn." Alan spends a lot of time on this, because it really is tough for church people to get outside the box. We go out with our answers, not really prepared to listen. We need to truly make space for "the other." We can only do this if we experience the strangeness of this new location ourselves.
At the opening of chapter ten Alan makes the challenge of new practices clear: "We will not know what God is up to in the world by huddling together in study groups, writing learned papers, or listening to self-appointed gurus. The normative means of figuring out answers in the once dominant Eurocentric churches has been to do study and analysis - then come up with strategies and programs (including "church health"). All of these activities.. are focused on the church and how to make the church work. Luke's [text makes] this point: If you want to discover what God is up to in the world, stop trying to answer this question from within the walls of your churches. Like strangers in need of hospitality who have left their baggage behind, enter the neighbourhoods and communities where you live. Sit at the table of the other, and there you may begin to hear what God is doing" (134).
Two thoughts, not really in critique, but in reflection.
I thought it would have helped his argument to clarify further - how does "social imaginary" relate to "language house?" Why does he describe the first term, then prefer the second?
Furthermore, how do both of these relate to two much more familiar (which is not to say, "understood") words - "culture," and "worldview?" A portion of a chapter working these out might help, especially because others are working in this area with similar concerns (ie. James K.A. Smith) and have added some clarity to the dialogue between worldview and "social imaginary."
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Roxburgh invites us to enter our neighborhood, discover what God is up to in that neighborhood and to shape the local church around that mission. Creating additional programs in order to gain more members is not the solution; rather it is imperative that we engage in effective outreach in the communities around us, sharing the Gospel, and watching how the Holy Spirit will work in those contexts.
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