Once upon a time, Moses had had enough. Exhausted by the challenge of leading the Israelites from slavery to the Promised Land, Moses cried out to God, "What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? . . . If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me" (Exodus 11:11, 15). If that sounds hauntingly familiar to you, you may be the senior pastor of a contemporary church. The burden of Christian leadership is becoming increasingly unbearable--demanding skills not native to the art of pastoring; demanding time that makes sabbath rest and even normal sleep patterns seem extravagant; demanding inhuman levels of efficiency, proficiency and even saintliness. No wonder pastors seem and even feel less human these days. No wonder they burn out or break down at an alarming rate; no wonder the church is missing the mark on its mission. In Creating a Missional Culture, JR Woodward offers a bold and surprisingly refreshing model for churches--not small adjustments around the periphery of a church's infrastructure but a radical revisioning of how a church ought to look, from its leadership structure to its mobilization of the laity. The end result looks surprisingly like the church that Jesus created and the apostles cultivated: a church not chasing the wind but rather going into the world and making disciples of Jesus.
JR Woodward is a church planter, activist, consultant, missiologist, speaker and writer. Graduating with a master of arts in global leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary, Woodward went on to co-found Kairos Los Angeles, a network of neighborhood churches in the Los Angeles area. He also cofounded and is now director of the Solis Foundation, a faith-based foundation that partners with churches in third-world countries to equip new entrepreneurs through small business, micro-loan programs and venture grants. Woodward previously published with Ecclesia Press in 2010. Follow his blog at www.jrwoodward.net.
Alan Hirsch is the founding Director of Forge Mission Training Network. He is the co-founder of shapevine.com, an international forum for engaging with world transforming ideas. He leads Future Travelers, a learning journey applying missional-incarnational approaches to established churches and is an active participant in The Tribe of LA, a Jesus community among artists and creatives in Los Angeles. Known for his innovative approach to mission, Hirsch is a teacher and key mission strategist for churches across the western world. His popular book (with Michael Frost) is widely considered to be a seminal text on mission. Alan's recent book , has quickly become a key reference for missional thinking, particularly as it relates to movements. His book is a radical restatement about the role that Jesus plays in defining missional movements. , his latest book (with his wife Debra) is about missional discipleship for a missional church. His experience in leadership includes leading a local church movement among the marginalized as well as heading up the Mission and Revitalization work of his denomination. Hirsch is an adjunct professor at Fuller Seminary and lectures frequently throughout Australia, Europe, and the U.S.
You are holding a hard-won treasure. This book is peppered with the kind of missiological insights that only an apostolically inclined leader can bring. JR Woodward has developed an excellent heuristic for leaders to actually make Ephesians 4 a living reality in the local churches.
JR Woodward reads widely, writes deftly and lives deeply. His book Creating a Missional Culture reflects all of that. Read it and explore what leading can be in the strange new worlds of mission in North America.
-B.R. Lindner, Chair of Evangelical Theology, Northern Seminary, author of The End of Evangelicalism?
JR Woodward's remarkable book defies categorization. To 'create a missional culture' requires disciplined biblical and theological formation, discerning engagement with contemporary cultures, appreciative interaction with diverse resources, and the courage to experiment and to innovate. Woodward does all that and more in this book. The growing exploration of the theology and practice of the missional church is enriched by this volume. Its authority rests in the author's tested and validated experience as an equipper 'of the missional church for the sake of the world.'
Winters Luce Professor of Missional and Ecumenical Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary
A decade ago, Alan Hirsch and I explored the idea that the fivefold leadership matrix was essential to unleashing the missional church. Now JR Woodward goes further by detailing how this matrix of leadership fosters a learning, healing, welcoming, liberating and thriving missional culture. This book is beautifully written and well researched, and it gets at complex issues in a readable and accessible way. This book is a gift to the missional conversation.
coauthor, The Shaping of Things to Come, and author, The Road to Missional
I have been craving a book that would facilitate the reimagination of church culture, and it is finally here. This is a book I hope many will devour.
-Dwight J. Friesen, associate professor of practical theology, The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology, author of Thy Kingdom Connected
The church has encountered a serious gap in fulfilling its apostolic imagination. JR steps in as a visionary and provides a major breakthrough, showing us that the release of the missional church is dependent upon creating a missional culture. This book offers next steps for those of us who long to equip ordinary Christians for profoundly missional expressions of church. I wish I had written it!
-Linda Bergquist, church strategist, coauthor of Church Turned Inside Out: A Guide for Designers, Refiners, and Re-Aligners
JR Woodward's fresh views about leadership and church culture and his practical guides and suggestions make this a relevant and important book for every congregation. The chapters on polycentric leadership alone are worth the price of the book. Creating a Missional Culture delivers exactly that--a provocative guide for the intentional, Spirit-led creation of a church culture where Christ is incarnated in the lives of individuals and communities.
-Dr. MaryKate Morse, author of Making Room for Leadership
There is no mistaking that the missional thrust that JR Woodward unravels in his book has at its core a profound understanding of spirituality as the propellant for cultivating such culture in our ministry. While some erroneously insist on dichotomizing between missional and spiritual formation, JR makes a solid case for the necessary integration of the two. Indeed, authentic spirituality is missional through and through. JR's work accentuates this holistic approach to our distinct yet integrated calling as equippers: as an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher.
-Wil Hernandez, Ph.D., director of the Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation and Leadership at Spring Arbor University
Many have written critiques about our consumerism, lack of discipleship, narcissism and theology, but few have given us a clear way forward. In this book, JR Woodward uses compelling theology, cultural insight, biblical wisdom and practical examples on how to shift from consumerism to mission and equip the people of God to reach their full redemptive potential. This is a real gift to the body of Christ.
-Jon Tyson, pastor, Trinity Grace Church New York, author of Rumors of God
Creating a Missional Culture is about cultural analysis, leadership formation, congregational empowerment and missional engagement. JR Woodward blends head, heart and hands to reinvigorate the church. I highly recommend this book for those studying missiology, ministry and ecclesiology.
J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology, Regent University School of Divinity
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