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Missional Paperback – Mar 1 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group (March 1 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: 4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #176,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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,

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,

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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"Straw - everything I have written before is but straw!"

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.
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Alan Roxburgh is a great teacher. Every church should get on board with this one. A real 'how to' book and one that will rock your church world.
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Is an interesting look at "Church" …….
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa1942ce4) out of 5 stars 19 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa26c1744) out of 5 stars A rich read - resituating the missional conversation in its rightful place March 5 2011
By G. Allan Love - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If anyone doubts whether anything new could be added to the missional conversation - doubt no more! Roxburgh, in his new book, Missional - Joining God in the Neighborhood, both propels the conversation forward, and rescues it from being derailed, absorbed, held hostage by the church growth/church-centric mindset. Roxburgh convincingly argues that in order to discern and detect God's activity in the world - specifically in our neighborhoods - we need to situate ourselves incarnationally in our communities, with humble hearts and listening ears ... surveys, demographic studies, etc. will not do. Using Luke 10 as the text for our context, Roxburgh shows us the way forward - "If you want to discover and discern what God is up to in the world just now, 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 neighborhoods and communities where you live. Sit at the table of the other, and there you may begin to hear what God is doing." His use of Luke's material to forge a way forward for God's people - to missionally enter our ever-changing world is both refreshing and convicting. I am grateful for this book, and do believe as one endorser put it, "to be a tour de force for the missional conversation."
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa26c1990) out of 5 stars Some good stuff with a lot of who-shot-john Dec 28 2012
By Corey - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've met the author in person and have heard and read some of his personal story. Thought I don't know this for sure, he strikes me as someone who decided ministry wasn't for him and found a way to make a living as a guru telling people still in churches what they're doing wrong. He is good at that. He dedicates the first part of the book - and spends a good portion of the second - to explaining what churches are doing wrong. And in many respects, he's right. He also has a good handle on the cultural shifts that are happening and why they present a challenge to the church. But you can tell that his comfort zone is in the abstract. The middle section of the book is essentially Bible study (incessantly repetitive and narrowly focused on Luke 10) as well as some literature review on Lesslie Newbigin. He has some great things to say, many of which are indisputably true, but when you get to his last section in which he tries to be more practical for the established church, it doesn't feel like the things he puts forth come out of trying and testing them himself. It's full of sentences that begin with "try to find a way to...", and when it comes to church leaders trying to affect change, he doesn't take organizational or family systems theory into account. And at one point, he recommends that churches form "neighborhood teams," contradicting something he had said one chapter previous about missional living not being accomplished through church structures. I can recommend this book to anyone who is totally new to the word "missional" and needs to get some of the basic cultural analysis and biblical interpretation, but if you are a church leader with one foot in both worlds and need some practical advice, look elsewhere.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa26c1954) out of 5 stars A Counter-Intuitive Approach to Mission Jan. 3 2012
By Sean A. Benesh - Published on
Format: Paperback
Missional is an intriguing book on many fronts. The premise is counter-intuitive to say the least. It is a book about the missional thrust of the church except that the author, Alan Roxburgh, would make the case that the conversation of the book isn't necessarily about the church. That's akin to writing a cook book but not deciminating recipes or even swapping cooking ideas. That's the point and that is the brunt of Roxburgh's argument. As paradoxical as it sounds he's right on.

In the interplay between Scripture, church, and culture, our predisposition is to think first and foremost in terms of church questions - Scripture and culture have become secondary to and a function of the church effectiveness questions. Like a frustrating computer program, we keep returning to the preset position, assuming it's the correct place to be. (45)

In the book Roxburgh walks the reader through the narrative of Luke 10. However, more than a mere commentary, he does a remarkable job of pealing back the layers of our assumed etymology and instead brings forth what he calls a "new language house." Meaning, we've come to the text with a preset lens, filter, and language house that informs and shapes what we see taking place in the story. "A language house predetermines how one sees the world or reads a text." (65) We're stuck in an outmoded language house that no longer fits the cultural milieu of the day as well as subjugates Scripture and culture to the domineering questions and conversation regarding "making church work." Instead, the beauty is to find God already at work in culture outside the bounds and confines of the church. He is wooing humanity and working in our neighbourhoods and cities and yet most often we miss it. This is where Missional does a great job in challenging our thinking.

The strength in the book lies exactly in this counter-intuitive approach. Far from techniques and how-to's it opens the readers' eyes and ears to seek and discover where God is already at work in our midst. It is a call back into the neighborhood and elevates the local and the simple. "The primary way to know what God is up to in our world when the boundary markers seem to have been erased is by entering into the ordinary, everyday life of the neighborhoods and communities where we live." (133) We need to leave our language house baggage behind, enter the neighborhood, sit at the table of others, and hear and learn what God is doing. (135)

On many fronts this book is a challenge to me personally as well as encouraging. First, to recognize indeed that our language house is off and we're in need of a new one. I believe that we're still giving answers to questions that are not being asked ... except by ourselves "in house." We're still dominated by, as Roxburgh calls, church questions. Instead of asking what is the vision of our church we ought to be asking instead what God is doing in our neighbourhoods and in our culture. Then church questions can form around that. Second, Roxburgh elevates the simple, the common, and of course, the neighbourhood. So often we've enlarged our scale or scope to be city-wide, regional, national, or continent-wide, but what about the local? The neighbourhood? The simple, common, and mundane? Are we missing out on the locality of God at work in the smaller scale? Lastly, which builds off the second, the work of God in our neighbourhoods is not confined to the elite, the superstars, or anything like that. God works through the everyday lives or everyday ordinary people ... like the unnamed 72 who were sent out in Luke 10.

I'd highly recommend this book. It's a fast and fun read. Very stimulating, challenging, and at the same time encouraging.

"The Spirit is out there ahead of us, inviting us to listen to the creation groaning in our neighborhoods. Only in the willingness to risk this entering, dwelling, eating, and listening will we stand a chance as the church to bring the embodied Jesus to the world." (151)
HASH(0xa26c1e4c) out of 5 stars Highly readable biblical theology of local neighbourhood mission (Luke 11) July 8 2013
By Darren Cronshaw - Published on
Format: Paperback
One of the most formative biblical passages for missional church planting and revitalisation in our day is Luke 10:1-12, the sending of the seventy disciples. It offers surprising insights for following Jesus into our neighbourhoods, accepting local hospitality, discovering and engaging local community rhythms, and fostering shalom and the Kingdom of God. Most significantly, it is a helpful paradigm for mission outside and beyond church preoccupations - joining in with what God is up to in the world and communities around us. So says Alan Roxburgh in this timely contribution to the missional conversation.

Alan Roxburgh, from Vancouver, Canada, is well-known to Australians as a writer, international consultant to churches and denominations, and speaker on mission, church and culture. He leads The Missional Network and has authored or contributed to a number of significant books including the seminal Missional Church (edited by Darrell Guder). His expertise is missional transformation and leadership development that engages with the cultural shifts in the Western world. He often uses Luke 10:1-12 and invites congregations and conferences to read it, reread it and let it "read them" and discuss its implications.

The book is arranged in three parts. Part 1 urges moving on from a preoccupation with church questions. Roxburgh outlines the contribution of Newbigin and the Gospel and Our Culture Movement to the missional conversation, explaining their appeal was to give attention to gospel, culture and church, not just church albeit adjectively described as "missional". This is perhaps the most startling reminder of the book - that we need to grapple with gospel and culture issues, and let that inform mission and shape church. Otherwise church can become like the member of a circle of three friends each of whom only wants to talk about themselves and not listen to the others (the subject of an intriguing parable that Roxburgh narrates).

Part 2, the longest section with a little over half the book, delves into Luke-Acts and especially Luke 10 as a narrative language lens for missional formation. Luke addressed the crises of Gentile communities working out how to respond to their context: What's gone wrong? What is God up to? And what does this mean for church? These are similar questions we face today in Australia and Luke is still helpful. Roxburgh critiques what the church has inherited from the Euro-tribal religious reformations of the 16th century and appeals for Christians to experiment with new forms of mission. He says the disconnect between church and society and the dissatisfaction - even among many Christians - with Church as it is suggests God is breaking us out of our boxes and pushing us out in mission beyond ecclesio-centricity. We will understand the Kingdom message best, he says, not through imported programs or teaching from the latest gurus or asking questions in our churches, but by getting out of our churches and into our neighbourhoods.

Part 3 is a concise set of practical steps and "rules for radicals" to guide churches in implementing a Luke 10 approach to neighbourhood mission. The book is worth buying alone for the practical steps for knowing and mapping your neighbourhood.

Missional: Joining God in the Neighbourhood is ideal reading for leaders or church members who want to move beyond conversation about church structures and programs. It offers an accessible and highly readable biblical theology of local neighbourhood mission with a countercultural reading of Luke and especially Luke 10. Its challenge to readers is to discern and join with what God is up to by submerging in local neighbourhood rhythms and relationships.

This review was originally published in Australian Journal of Mission Studies, June 2013.
HASH(0xa220715c) out of 5 stars churches need all 3 - church, culture and Scripture Feb. 28 2012
By Greg Smith (aka sowhatfaith) - Published on
Format: Paperback
As churches seek to find ways to effectively adjust to an increasingly postmodern and pluralistic world their leaders can find an almost innumerable listing of ideas in recently published literature. Those texts seek to change the church, but, in Roxburgh's view, will ultimately fail because they are church-centric rather than affording equal attention to church, culture and Scripture. He counters with an alternative way forward that builds heavily upon the work of renowned missiologist Lesslie Newbigin and the biblical text of Luke-Acts while intentionally avoiding a church-centric model. To more fully experience what it means to be a local church, Roxburgh proposes:

*Recognizing the church's current identity crisis is largely a result of being heavily shaped by and continually dependent upon a "Eurocentric Reformation" outlook, which has become irrelevant in the early twenty-first century

*Shifting the church's "language house" from its current Platonic perspective to an Aristotelian vantage aligned with Luke's understanding

*"Retheologizing" for our time much as Luke did for the Gentiles in his time to move away from the narrative of loss by connecting with what God is doing in the world

*"Practicing eschatology" by learning to leave our baggage behind and enter the neighborhoods where we live to genuinely receive hospitality and engage the other without an underlying motive of getting these people to become a part of our church family

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