Posts about “missional church”

I’ve made this list available because I’ve been doing quite a bit of work on “missional church” recently with Communitas and King’s School of Theology here in the UK. The basic thesis that I want to develop and test is that a narrative-historical reading of the Bible also helps us to frame the task of the church in the West after Christendom.

What is “missional church”? For my purposes it is the “indigenous” Western church, the direct heir to Christendom, the remnant of the Christendom church, in crisis mode, as it self-consciously and deliberately gets to grips with the task of recovery, renewal, and reorientation in the face of the rise of secular-humanism and the dawn of the Anthropocene.

In the six week course I have been doing on “missional church” for King’s School of Theology I have made quite extensive use of the story of Paul’s visit to Athens in Acts 17:16-34 to underline the point that mission in the New Testament is not about the salvation of individuals, it is a call to… (20 May 2022 | 2 comments)
I have been having an online conversation with someone who is rather suspicious of the charts I have been using (such as the one below) to map the story of the people of God throughout the ages. One of the problems is that I have not defined the y-axis. My assumption was that the chart rather… (13 May 2022 | 0 comments)
Frankly, it is an absurdity that we still have such a hard time making sense of Jesus’ core proclamation about the kingdom of God. The problem comes up again in another book by Alan Roxburgh on “missional church,” this time co-written with Scott Boren: Introducing the Missional Church: What It… (9 May 2022 | 2 comments)
In their book Practices for the Refounding of God’s People: The Missional Challenge of the West (2018), Alan Roxburgh and Martin Robinson first offer a rather pessimistic analysis of the consequences of modernity’s “wager” (the metaphor is Adam Seligman’s) in letting go of its Christian… (2 May 2022 | 14 comments)
My recently developed narrative missiological model has three main parts to it. During periods of stasis the people of God is 1) new creation and 2) royal priesthood. During periods of crisis those functions tend to be reduced, and 3) a prophetic identity comes to the fore. We are currently in a… (22 Mar 2022 | 2 comments)
Not to put too fine a point on it, the church in the West is facing an existential crisis. Most of the remedial effort has gone into doing things differently—trying new approaches, developing ways of operating that restore confidence, find favour, get attention, etc. Much good theological… (15 Mar 2022 | 6 comments)
The Hebrew word shalom features prominently in “missional church” discourse. John Franke says, for example, in his Missional Theology: An Introduction: “The restoration of peace or shalom, the all-embracing blessing of the God of Israel and Jesus Christ, may be the simplest, most… (25 Feb 2022 | 0 comments)
The books I’ve been reading on “missional church” have a couple of key objectives in common: to describe the progress of the Western church towards a new “missional” paradigm, and to map that paradigm on to an expansive reading of the biblical narrative. It’s an obvious, perhaps inevitable,… (9 Feb 2022 | 6 comments)
A significant tranche of missional church thinking centres on the APEST paradigm. The argument is that if the church is to become a movement again after the sclerotic institutionalism of the Christendom era, it needs urgently to reactivate the gifts of apostle, prophet, and evangelist. Shepherds… (4 Feb 2022 | 2 comments)
It is clear from reading recent books on missional church that a missional theology needs to extend in two directions. It needs to extend in a social direction to encompass the existence of churches as communities interacting with societies; and it needs to give an account of the… (31 Jan 2022 | 0 comments)
If you’re looking for a primer on missional theology, John Franke’s Missional Theology: An Introduction is not a bad option. It’s clearly presented and to the point, with just five chapters on “Missional God,” “Missional Church,” “Missional Theology,” “Missional Multiplicity,” and “… (27 Jan 2022 | 0 comments)
John Franke’s Missional Theology: An Introduction starts with the idea associated with Karl Barth and the missiologist Karl Hartenstein that the biblical God is in his very nature a missional God. Mission is not primarily what the church does; it is what God does, expressed most fully in… (25 Jan 2022 | 0 comments)
I am trying to give serious thought these days to how the church goes about its “mission” (for want of a better word). The methodology is usually pragmatic: the church as it currently is, in its various institutional forms, faces challenges of numerical decline or social irrelevance, and asks what… (21 Jan 2022 | 2 comments)
The practical question that I’m trying to answer here is: how do we assess the effectiveness or validity of missional activity when the “product” is more qualitative than quantitative? Church growth models are proved effective if they result in larger churches or the multiplication of churches. The… (11 Nov 2020 | 2 comments)
I work with an international mission organisation called Communitas. We have a small presence in the UK, and if anyone wants to know more about us, please get in touch. This is the personal background for the question that I want to address in a couple of posts: how do we measure the  (3 Nov 2020 | 14 comments)
What I say is: a narrative theology ought to be able to account for the whole experience of the people of God, not just the beginning, middle, and end of it—creation and fall, redemption, final judgment. We may give some sort of priority to the early biblical sections of the narrative, but… (14 Mar 2019 | 17 comments)
Last month the Pew Research Centre published the results of a survey of the level of religious commitment of people in Western Europe who self-identify as Christians. The basic finding appears to be that people who call themselves “Christian” in Western Europe are less actively religious—less… (26 Jun 2018 | 1 comment)
In his talk on Daniel 4 this week Barney made passing reference to the “biblical mandate to bring justice by changing the structures of society”. I forget exactly the point he was making, but it would have had something to do with Daniel’s words to Nebuchadnezzar after interpreting the dream about… (15 Dec 2016 | 20 comments)
The piece I wrote last week on the difficulties that post-charismatics can have finding an honest place for the gifts of the Spirit in a justice-oriented “missional” framework provoked a rather aggrieved response from Michael Frost on Facebook. That appears to have been largely a matter of… (2 Jun 2014 | 10 comments)
We had an interesting session on the gifts of the Spirit last night in Harlesden. Many in the church are from a charismatic background but seemed wary about pursuing the conversation. One young woman put the choice rather starkly—she could spend her time praying that someone’s back-ache would… (28 May 2014 | 10 comments)