I’ve been blogging on things missional for almost five years. Yet it’s often hard to get a firm grip on the paradigm and many questions still surround it. Questions like: What does a missional church look like? What exactly is the missional church model? How does it function? Can our old existing church become one?
These are some of the questions Scott Boren and Alan Roxburgh endeavor to answer in their book Introducing the Missional Church: What It Is, Why It Matters, How to Become One (Baker Books, November 2009, available in paper or Kindle).
I particularly liked the chapter titled “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” where the authors caution us to beware of formulas and models that can be copied and emulated. Instead they say “…we need to see ourselves being called out of the comfort and security of attractional church life onto a journey like Abram leaving Ur of the Chaldees; we are moving into a strange land without maps to guide us on our way to a land God will show us. We are like those early Christians after the church at Antioch was birthed by the Spirit. We know something has shifted, but no one has the formula; it’s confusing and filled with friction as we try to figure out the next steps.”
They dispute three perspectives in this chapter:
1. They challenge the elevation of any model, formula, or blueprint as the way to do church.
2. They challenge the argument that the Bible reveals a secret missional blueprint that will provide us with a magic pill for entering missional life.
3. They challenge the idea that there is some point in the history of the church that provides us with just the right pattern for creating missional churches.
The common thread through the book is that we are on a journey, we are wanders who need to “develop skills of reading the winds of the Spirit, testing the waters of the culture, and running with the currents of God’s call.”
“There isn’t one specific form, predictable pattern, or predetermined model. On these new waters we become pioneers who are creating new maps shaped in, with, and for the contexts and communities into which we have been called. Here we will learn to experiment and test ideas. Some will work; others will fail. Through trial and error we will imagine new ways of being Jesus’ people.”
There is also a great deal of practical assistance in the book for those existing churches who want to make this journey. Forty percent of the book is devoted to a missional change process that includes five phases: awareness, understanding, evaluation, experimentation, and commitment.
This table from the book will give you a feel for the process.
Introducing the Missional Church is highly recommended for those who want to begin or extend their “journey of entering into the missional river of mystery, memory, and mission.”
Brad Boydston or Scot McKnight.
Disclosure: I purchased this book with my own funds.