I recently read Introducing the Missional Church by Alan J. Roxburgh and M. Scott Boren. I think this is perhaps the best book on the subject I have read so far. They've taken the work of Leslie Newbigin and made it easier to understand and more readable for simple folk like me. In fact, the point of the book is phrased in three questions: What is the missional church, why does it matter, and how does a church become missional? Or, as the authors say, "How does one communicate the mystery of the ways God is moving in mission when so many have lost the memory of what the church is meant to be?"
I thought the first part of the book - where they explain the concept of "missional" - was the best part. My only complaint is with the last section. It seems to become a bit of a sales pitch to market the author's resources in helping your church become missional. It kind of rubbed me the wrong way, and almost made me wonder if that wasn't the real motivation for writing the book. Nonetheless there is still some useful information even if you don't get sucked in (and I suppose it's also possible that it is worthwhile stuff).
The book is broken into three parts, like so...
Part 1: One Missional River
Chapter 1. Not All Who Wander Are Lost: Stories of a Church In Between
Chapter 2. Just Give Me A Definition: Why Missional Church Is So Hard to Define
Chapter 3. Does Missional Fit? Can My Church Be Missional
Part 2: Three Missional Conversations
Chapter 4. What's Behind the Wardrobe? The Center of the Missional Church
Chapter 5. We're Not in Kansas Anymore: Missionaries in Our Own Land
Chapter 6. Why Do We Need Theology? Missional Is about God, Not the Church
Chapter 7. God's Dream for the World: What Is a Contrast Society?
Part 3: Countless Missional Journeys
Chapter 8. The Journey Ahead: Following the Winds of the Spirit
Chapter 9. Starting from Here: Where is Your Church Now?
Chapter 10. The Missional Change Model: Getting There from Here
Chapter 11. The Awareness Stage: Staring Reality in the Face
Chapter 12. The Understanding Stage: Can We Really Talk about These Things?
Chapter 13. The Evaluation Stage: A Snapshot of the Church
Chapter 14. The Work of the Church Board: How Do Innovators and Traditionalists Work Together?
Chapter 15. The Experiment Stage: Little Steps toward Something Big
I will likely share some of my own personal highlights in posts to come, but I would definitely recommend this book for church leaders or anyone interested in the missional conversation.
Peace out; and in.