Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Reading Materials

I just finished two books that really spoke to my heart.  The first is a new work by Reggie McNeal.  Many of you will recognize Reggie as a prolific author of incredible value.  His leadership, church change, and missional work is remarkable.

This one is called Missional Communities: The Rise of The Post-Congregational Church.  It outlines the primary missional conversation and then provides real life models of missional community in action.  The two that spoke to me were the Future Travelers and the chapter on Mission Houston with Jim Herrington.  Incredible.  See Will Mancini's post about Future Travelers and the work of Alan Hirsch.

The other book is actually a wonderful resource for the 40 days of Lent by Chris Seay.  I had a chance to touch base with Chris at Ecclesia last weekend.  I can tell you, his teaching, writing, and vision process is really remarkable.  Like the Advent Conspiracy, this work helps us understand and walk with the poor of the world.  A Place At The Table: 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor is a wonderful tool for engaging your personal faith with the daily experience of the poor around the world.

The heart of the missional movement beats with several different rhythms.  Sometimes it feels like the conversation needs a pacemaker to keep it in alinement.  But, in a strange way, the beauty of the movement is the variety that it produces.  Some simply  denounce the attractional or church growth model while offering little to take up the slack.  Others focus on a radical lifestyle that becomes neo-monastic and harsh.  Still others try to look at leadership traits and discover the DNA of a congregation.

In the end, it is about doing church differently.  It is a movement away from building good church folks who understand, support, and participate in the structured organization.  It invites us to identify, adopt, and live fully into a Kingdom mentality.  In this process we discover new ways of loving God and serving our neighbor.  We discover that the church is really bigger than a set of doctrines and a stable of rules.  It is about worship that shouts 'I am not ashamed of the Gospel' and then moves into the streets to smell the reality of life.  It is the mission of God that becomes the ministry of the people.

These are books that will offer a head-lamp unto your feet.

BTW: if you have not seen 58:The Film ( now is the time.

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