Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Churches in the Missional Renaissance

I just returned from a two day meeting in Dallas at Leadership Network with Reggie McNeal, Eric Swanson, DJ Chuang and church, civic, and business leaders representing ten cities.

The group is part of Leadership Network's Missional Renaissance Community which is being co-lead by Reggie and Eric. LN asked me to write up some of the learnings of the gathering for their larger constituency and other interested parties.

They've just published the first paper based on my interviews with nine of the churches participating.

Churches in the Missional Renaissance: Facilitating the Transition to a Missional Mindset

Here's an excerpt:

Some of the leaders in today’s missional churches began moving in that direction as they became increasingly uncomfortable with traditional church-centric ministry.

Greg Bouvier, executive pastor at Sheridan Lutheran Church in Lincoln, NE, explains, “Essentially we realized that we were really consumer-oriented and just helping people get their needs met. It came to feel that we were really just very focused on ourselves. I came to feel that I was doing a fair amount of good for people who already have a lot. I felt that I was providing wonderful services for people who already have a plethora of services at their fingertips. I didn’t feel that I was making their lives better because if they didn’t get what they needed from me they could probably get it from someone else. We felt that the Spirit was calling us to take the focus off of ourselves and to move it out!” Greg feels great about the switch, feeling that they are moving into a position of helping folks who wouldn’t be assisted otherwise. He says that their ministry is “really to the least of these. It warms my heart to know that I’m not just making the comfortable that much more comfortable.”
The second paper I'm working on now will benefit from the further insights of the additional ten churches we've added to the original nine.

Reggie also has a book called Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church that's coming out in February 2009.

These city, business, and church leaders are truly pioneers as they seek to holistically serve the needs of their respective communities.


tony sheng said...

hey stephen
some friends of mine [and yours too i think] from Christian Associates have started the same kind of thing in urban centers in Europe. it's called Serve the City and is a movement for serving the needs of a given community - might be fun for you, your readers and some of the LN peeps to watch. it originally started with the Brussels CA staff, but has now overflowed to a few other cities including Lisbon, Dublin, Madrid, Rotterdam...

Bob Robinson said...

Thanks so much for the link to this excellent paper. This is the kind of "Ecclesiography" that we need to see more of - the real nuts and bolts of doing missional church! Bless you!!