It’s the Structure, Stupid

David Fitch has a really good post entitled, “Just Another Program? Is ‘Missional’ Doomed?” In it he interacts with a letter Bob Havenor wrote to him on the Missional movement and why it is failing.

Well worth the read because it touches on a paradox difficulty we face in the deconstruction of traditional church structures, particularly the Sunday focus.

Here are a couple of quotes from the post that allude to this difficulty:

Havenor: “The latest attempt by church people to reinvent the Church is failing precisely because they are repeating the same error: assuming that new ideas within the same structure will produce radically different results.”

Fitch: “However, I still see the gathering as essential spiritual formation for mission. The formation that happens here is what resists the church from being absorbed into ‘the world’s’ story.”

Give it a read and enter into the discussion.

Seeking Slowness

I’ve posted on the concept of missional being the “slow movement” of Christianity. Give it a quick read and then see where Dan White takes another slant on this topic in “Missional-Marinating.”

I really like this quote:

I’ll tell you up front, my old-high-capacity-leader-self resists this marinating process. My old self can’t rest, it can’t sleep. It needs quick returns, escalating numbers, regional buzz and high excitement. All of those pieces previously helped me not feel like a failure. But here in the laboratory of a Missional-Community, slow is our friend. Seeking slowness is essential in the stew of discipleship. Cultivating a culture saturated in the embodied life of Jesus requires purposeful patience. A new character needs to be developed while leading in this type of atmosphere. Slow is not something to bear with, it’s something to embrace. No longer am I trying to launch an organization that sparkles before its consumers. The call is to shape a way of life; to create a conducive setting for transformation. In this stew we need unhurried time and grace-filled space for:long conversations, unearthing conflicts, detox from consumerism, facing missional fears, relearning how to listen, frustrated prayers and moving beyond suspicion to trust.

You can follow Dan on Twitter @danwhitejr .

Mink Lake Basin in Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness

Last week, hiked 29.1 miles over five days into the Mink Lake basin of Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness. The three of us on the left have been backpacking together for well over 30 years. Not in our 20’s anymore, but we still love doing the miles.

Neighborhood Action

For many years, our faith community has worked with our neighborhood high school to help them maintain the school grounds and landscape. One year we took a Sunday, and instead of the usual worship service, we had everyone show up at the school. It was amazing what a few hundred people can get done in a few hours.

Today we joined with Waterfront Foursquare, Portland Christian and local community neighbors for a clean-up, fix-up and spruce-up before school starts next week.

A great way to “moved into the neighborhood” and become involved with our neighbors.

Coaching Questions

Hugh Halter posted today on the topic of “How I Coach People into TRUE Missional Leadership.”

He gives four key aspects of life that must be coached in order for a leader to be a true missionally incarnational leader: Deep in Character, Clear in Calling, Culturally Savvy, and Able to Lead Inclusive Community.

Here are his coaching questions that can help our ability to engage our the lost culture with the Gospel:

  • Do you know the names of all your neighbors? If not, what can you do this month to get to know them without being a dork?
  • Are you doing any recreation, hobbies, or school functions with the intent to make friends?
  • Tell me about some good conversations you’ve had with lost friends this month? Have you made any plans to invite them deeper into your lives or go deeper into their lives?
  • How could you bless the children of the people you’re meeting?
  • Have any of your lost friends invited you to anything this last month? Did you go? How did it go? Any plans to thank them by inviting them to something cool?
  • Have you done anything this last month that you may need to apologize for to a lost friend? Maybe not being more helpful to them? Saying no to an invite they gave you? Maybe being gone when something bad happened to them?
  • What are you finding is always good news to your lost friends? Have you made any plans to be good news? What is that?
  • Have you taken much time this month to exegete the needs of your community? Have you talked to any school employees, city workers or government officials? How can you make that happen or begin to help where they expose need?
  • How many parties have you thrown or gone to this last month?
  • What types of non-profits are working in your area that you could help out with and support?
  • Have you been able to share much of your story to a lost friend this month? How did that go? Any follow up?
  • Are you showing patience with the people around you or have you overstepped any lines the culture is giving you lately?
  • Have you helped serve anyone this month?
  • How are you praying for the people around you? What does that look like? Has God led you to do anything unique for a friend?
  • Have you invited any new friends to anything this last month? What was it? How did that go? Any next steps?
  • Are you and your spouse in the same stride in how much time you’re giving to lost folks? How many times a week or evenings have you been opening your home?
  • How many of your 21 weekly meals have you been sharing with people?
  • How have you been engaging the culture with those in your Christian community?
  • Do you feel that your Christian community is trustworthy to bring any new friend to? If not, why and how can you mentor your community toward inclusiveness and trust?
  • Have you been advocating for any people this last month?
  • What common space, coffee shops, pubs, etc. have you been hanging out in consistently? Have any interesting relationships started to form?

I plan on using these to challenge my own missional journey and those I’m coaching.

I’d be interested in anything you’d modify, delete or add. Leave a comment.

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Books on Theology

Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus || Spoken Word

Great spoken word poem.

Best Selling Bible Translations for 2011

The Christian Booksellers Association has just published its list of best selling bible translations. Here are the lists for 2011, but keep in mind that the ranking is based only on sales in U.S. Christian retail stores.

2011 - Based on Dollar Sales

  1. New International Version
  2. King James Version
  3. New King James Version
  4. New Living Translation
  5. English Standard Version
  6. Holman Christian Standard Bible
  7. New International Readers Version
  8. The Message
  9. New American Standard Bible
  10. New Revised Standard Version

2011 - Based on Unit Sales

  1. New International Version
  2. King James Version
  3. New King James Version
  4. New Living Translation
  5. English Standard Version
  6. Holman Christian Standard Bible
  7. New International Readers Version
  8. The Message
  9. New American Standard Bible
  10. Common English Bible

When comparing with the 2010 list, the top seller are the same. At the bottom of the list, the “Reina Valera 1960 (Spanish)” version has been replaced with the “New Revised Standard Version” and “Common English Bible.”

As you can see from the 2006 list below, the “Reina Valera 1960 (Spanish)” version has been in a steady sales decline. Everything else is pretty stable.

2006 - Based on Unit Sales

  1. New International Version
  2. New King James Version
  3. King James Version
  4. New Living Translation
  5. English Standard Version
  6. Reina Valera 1960 (Spanish)
  7. Holman Christian Standard Bible
  8. New American Standard Bible (updated)
  9. The Message
  10. New International Readers Version

I doubt much would be different, but research related to online sales would be interesting.

For me, I’ve been switching between the English Standard Version and the new 2011 New International Version. I’m enjoying the latter.


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God With Us

god with us


If Robert E. Lang and Arthur C. Nelson are right, there is a birth of a new geography: “megapolitans,” regions that encompass counties and cities linked through man-made and natural connections sharing common economic, landscape, social, and cultural characteristics.

Their new book details this urban geography. It predicts that by 2040, there will be 10 distinct clusters composed of 23 megapolitan areas in the contiguous 48 states of the USA.


The rise of megapolitan areas points out the differing pockets of social and cultural characteristics growing within the USA. The old divisions like East/West, North/South, and inland/coast continue to need reexamination.

So I’m wondering how the authors premise might help develop our understanding, practice, and communication of what it means to be a Jesus follower within this new geographical framework.

No answers yet, but certainly worth some time to contemplate.

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