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Gibbs argues that more is required of western churches than adopting new programs if they are to missionally engage within their context. The church must re-image itself, resulting in its reconfiguration and a comprehensive change in its self-understanding; it must morph in order to be defined by its mission in the world. Gibbs identifies trends that provide signs of the kingdom, reflecting on how different ecclesial communities are working out what it means to be "church" in a post-Christendom environment. He provides a range of examples from North America and the United Kingdom to offer encouragement and assurance that God has by no means abandoned his church.
This stimulating and encouraging book will appeal to professors, students, pastors, and church leaders interested in theology, ministry, the emerging church, Christianity and culture, and mission.
Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: Baker Academic
Publication Date: 2009
|Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)|
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This stimulating and encouraging book will appeal to pastors, church leaders, and students interested in ministry, the emerging church, Christianity and culture, and mission.
The morphing of the church relates to the church transitioning to a new identity as a missional presence in the West. There is a growing realization among leaders committed to mission that the challenge will not be adequately met by adding new programs to ensure the local church, or a denomination's, institutional survival. Such leaders are talking about an unfettered re-imagining of the church, resulting in a comprehensive change in its self-understanding and its reconfiguration.
Frequently the term "deconstruction" is used by radical voices within the emergent church. But this technical term is often misunderstood, being perceived as too threatening and confrontational. It is heard to imply demolition and destruction, which is not what is intended. Deconstruction refers to a particular method of literary criticism that seeks to get behind the text to reveal the embedded assumptions. Among Emerging Church leaders, "deconstruction" signifies, not destruction, but a breakthrough. It means to undo or take apart in order to arrive at a deeper understanding, allowing for a creative re-reading. However, in order to avoid the negative implications of the term, and its highly technical explanation, I prefer to speak of the re-imagining of the church, and of the transformation process as the morphing of the church.
Wikipedia defines morphing as a special effect in motion pictures and animations that changes (or morphs) one image into another through a seamless transition. The term has a much more ancient usage however. It is derived from the Greek word morphe, which appears in the New Testament in a significant context.