Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Resourcing Mission - Practical Theology for Changing Churches

I started reading Resourcing Mission after the first ever UK political leaders’ debate on TV. Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg won on charisma and charm but apparently Gordon Brown had it on substance. Mission books lend themselves nicely to charisma and charm but what really is needed is substance. This book is not a feel good book on mission full of resources, video clips and exciting stories of working with the mafia, but it is a book of guidance for individual’s, leadership teams, congregations wanting to develop a framework through which to reflect on mission.

Two main premises hold the book together and give it momentum.

The first, recognising that local church can struggle to make sense of it's place within the role of mission, is that of 'doing theology'. The book offers the pastoral cycle as a tool for the theological reflection that is essential for any church wanting to live out it's essence in it's locality. The second recognises that the church is inextricably linked to its culture. To act like an ostrich with its head in the sand is not being the church. Church in mission needs to reflect, know itself and acknowledge what it presents as cultural signs. This book offers five cultural forms that the church presents as it helps focus upon examples on ‘missiological intention’.

The first two chapters in themselves are worth every penny for anyone wanting to apply the theory of mission to their context. The rest of the book helps those wishing to reflect on different aspects of church life and how they relate to mission. This book joins the dots with credibility and is a must buy for anyone frustrated with church not taking its missiological place.

If you want stories of church breaking drug cartels, rescuing trafficked women while growing your own veg this book isn't for you. However, if you are wanting to build a momentum of outward love into your community and you want to do it with sustained credibility - buy it.

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