Friday, October 15, 2010

Introducting the missional church - pt. 3

These are some of the highlights (the things I underlined) I found from reading Alan Roxburgh & Scott Boren's book Introducing the Missional Church. My review of the book as a whole is HERE. My highlights from chapters 1-3 are HERE (pt. 1). My highlights from chapters 4-7 are HERE (pt. 2). These are the things that stuck out to me in part 3 (chapters 8-15), and will be my final post on the book:
  • p. 118 - "In this clearing we have to let go of our need for manageability, predictability, and control in order to listen to the God from whom new things emerge. This is how missional life develops. Our choices are between discerning God's presence or defaulting to predetermined goals, vision statements, and strategies. We need to follow Mose's example - he had confidence that God was present in the journey even though he had no maps of this strange territory."
  • p. 120 - "We are arguing that in this new clearing we have to learn again how to attend to the ways the Spirit is seeking to form us as mission-shaped people in our neighborhoods and communities. If a local church does not get this, it will only see mission as one among numerous other programs that make it successful and more attractional."
  • p. 122 - "Very practically, a missional church is formed by the Spirit of God at work in the ordinary people of God in a local context. A practical implication is that this imagination changes the focus of leadership. Rather than having plans, programs, strategies, and goals, they ask how they can call forth what the Spirit is doing among the people."
  • p. 123 - "The missional journey begins where people are, not from some vision for where we would like them to be. Visioning and radical language about what the church should be are of little help; in fact, they create barriers to entering this journey of catching the winds of the Spirit."
  • p. 130 - "Rather than asking, 'How do we attract people to what we are doing?' we need to ask, 'What is God up to in this neighborhood, and how do we need to change in order to engage the people who no longer consider church a part of their lives?'"
  • p. 137 - "A key to missional innovation is empowering the people of a local church to discern and develop actions that come from among themselves rather than strategies and programs proposed by leadership... Leadership has a choice: it can either be in control of plans, programs, and outcomes or it can work at creating the environment that will release the missional imagination that is among the people of God."
  • p. 139 - "The leader (whether pastor, clergy, or board) needs to develop skills in creating environments in which the people themselves do the work of discerning and discovering the imagination that the Spirit is giving them for mission. The leader creates space and experiences for others to imagine what the Spirit is calling forth."
  • p. 140 - "Restoration calls for us to deglamorize leadership and consider it a quality that exists in all human beings. We need to simplify leadership and construct it so it is infinitely and universally available."
  • p. 146 - "It's not a box we fit people into but a way of learning together how to travel into places we have never been before." *****
  • p. 148ff - Nice section on "Where Is There Space?" God, practical examples...
  • p. 150 - "Pastoral care at its best is about asking the question, 'How is your soul?'" ***
  • p. 150 - "In fact, having all the answers and Bible verses on hand runs contrary to what we are trying to do. We need an environment in which people feel safe to give voice to what is happening inside them right now."
  • p. 152 - Some good questions to ask your church people: (1) Reflect back on your entire experience at our church. When did you feel most engaged, alive, and motivated? What was happening that contributed to that experience? (2) What do you think are the most important, life-giving characteristics of our church? (3) When are we at our best? (4) Describe a time in our church when God was most real and alive to you?
  • p. 153 (see above) - "What is always interesting about these interviews is that when people are asked to participate, they automatically assume something is wrong. They are amazed and wonderfully surprised to discover that nothing is wrong but that we want to learn how to listen to the Spirit through one another." *****
  • p. 164 - "...allow people to develop an understanding that the answers to their lives as God's mission-shaped people are among them, not in the hands of experts and professionals."
  • p. 165 - "...the job of the leadership is not to come up with grand plans for the congregation but to cultivate an environment in which the missional imagination of the people of God is called forth in lived action and lives. This happens as we create spaces and time for people to trust their own voice as a people, to dwell together in the Word, to listen to one another what the Spirit might want them to risk in connecting with their neighborhoods and communities."
  • p. 166 - "This is what dialogue is about: it is the context in which the freedom and imagination of the Holy Spirit have the potential of coming to speak among ordinary people who have long believed they cannot possibly be the clay jars that bear God's future." ***
  • p. 168 - "Missional transformation is about boundary crossing and learning to be with others and listen them into free speech. If we can't do that with the others in our local churches - the persons who sit in other pews or whom we pass in the vestibule - how will we ever learn to welcome and listen into free speech the stranger across the street or colleagues at work?" *****
  • p. 182 - "Instead of implementing a large program or organizational change to move a church toward missional life, cultivating small experiments allows missional life to arise from the grass roots and thereby lead to long-term change."
  • p. 184 - "What experiments say to people is that there are not going to be any big programs or major changes. In fact, almost everything will stay the same, which produces an environment of security. The experiments are small ways of addressing the question of forming mission-shaped life in the neighborhoods we live. They might succeed, but they might not. The important thing is that only through such trying, testing, and experimenting do we learn new skills and habits."
  • p. 186 - "What we have learned is that to transform the DNA of a local church from being primarily attractional to becoming missional doesn't require everyone being involved. Once around 20 percent of a local church is entering into missional experiments, the system shifts and won't go back."
Note: this post was written while listening to Jason & the Scorchers 'Midnight Roads and Stages Seen', side one, and ended nicely with "Somewhere Within" right at the end. It was a rather surreal moment.

Thus ends my posts covering this book. Once again, this seemed to be the plainest and most practical book I've read yet on the missional church.

Peace out; and in.