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Healthy growth in the church comes not from addition-but multiplication! Take a peek inside the leading churches that are launching ministries that go-not outside of the box-but beyond the box to fulfill the Great Commission. Authors Bill Easum and Dave Travis introduce you to leaders who have taken the bold steps to focus their mission-driven churches in ways forgotten by modern Christianity. This book focuses on leadership issues and ...
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Healthy growth in the church comes not from addition-but multiplication! Take a peek inside the leading churches that are launching ministries that go-not outside of the box-but beyond the box to fulfill the Great Commission. Authors Bill Easum and Dave Travis introduce you to leaders who have taken the bold steps to focus their mission-driven churches in ways forgotten by modern Christianity. This book focuses on leadership issues and ministry outreach to the world that redesign the mission of the church by:
In these pages you'll find...
About the author:
Bill Easum, a former pastor in the United Methodist church, led a turn-around church in San Antonio for twenty-four years. When he left that ministry to enter the apostolic ministry of helping other leaders, the church was a large, thriving congregation. For the past fifteen years, Bill has led his own consulting group, working with all types of churches. He is still connected with his mainline tradition but desires to help his friends there see the possibilities that other churches are modeling.
Dave Travis was a staff pastor, senior pastor, and a denominational executive for the Southern Baptists before joining the staff of Leadership Network in 1995. Leadership Network's calling is to identify, connect, and provide resources to innovative church leaders in the United States and Canada. In his current role as senior vice president, he oversees the ministry teams that serve churches. He comes from, and is still connected to, the evangelical wing of the Christian movement in America. But he also desires his tradition and friends to see the hopeful future that the innovative churches described in this book are shaping.
Without hesitation, the Gen-Xer facilitating the discussion replied, "What box? We don't have a box. You have to think beyond the box."
At a time when many churches are just beginning to try to think outside the box, the rapidly emerging world calls Christian leaders to move beyond the box itself. Not to see around the box or go through the box or even get outside of the box, but to progress beyond it-to live and lead as if the box doesn't even exist.
What Is "Beyond the Box" Thinking?
Many people are writing these days about "out of the box" thinking or "coloring outside the lines." Neither of these issues is our main concern. We're writing about something much more radical. We are writing about people who believe, act, and live as if the box never existed.
As we tested the material in this book, we noticed that many people failed to catch the critical distinction between "out of the box" and "beyond the box." Most of us seem to be trying so hard to climb "out" of our own boxes that we simply can't grasp the idea of "beyond." We've also noticed that the minds of "in the box" and "out of the box" people are cluttered with so much box baggage that many of their questions don't have much meaning anymore. That is, they assume that certain things are normal or natural for Christianity-things such as hierarchy, structure, organization, property, location, conflict, centralized control, ordination, clergy, seminaries, and denominations, for example. Most of their questions flow from such assumptions.
The sad part is that most in- or out-of-the-box people are seldom aware that they are carrying this baggage around with them. In fact, a lot of thriving congregations aren't anywhere near beyond the box. They may be out of the box but not beyond it. Much of their world is still swirling with assumptions, causing them to waste their potential fighting battles that no longer matter.
So we're not talking about thriving leaders or churches. We're talking about leaders and churches that are oblivious to the box and are setting a brand-new course for the future. They are doing things that haven't been done in a long, long time. They are calling all of us back to a first-century Christianity.
Over the past decade, we've enjoyed being close observers and consultants with a host of leaders who are beyond the box. They're launching ministries that not only defy conventional wisdom but also seem to be "off the wall" to many of their colleagues. However, to those who are able to see beyond the box, their ministries just seem like a natural response to the Scriptures. Their efforts are opening up many new vistas of hope and possibility for ministry.
This new breed of leaders has one thing in common: Mission is the mother of their theology. Everything they do is driven by one question: "If we do this, will it bring more people to faith in Jesus Christ and expand the kingdom?" They take seriously the admonition in 1 Corinthians 9:22 and are willing to try anything-even if it opposes social norms or goes against denominational traditions-to achieve this goal. More than having a mission, these churches are mission. Mission is their essence. These leaders understand that not to be missional is not to be the body of Christ.
After all, mission is not a mere function of the church; it is the natural expression of our life together in Christ. Every leader and every church are missionaries. To be the church is to be missionary. To have theology is to be involved in mission. These leaders are part of a divine movement throughout the world that is taking them (and, we hope, all of us) way beyond the local congregation. These leaders are teaching us much about the congregations of the emerging world.
We welcome you to an exploration of this exciting new movement. This book will invite you to know these Christian leaders and congregations who know nothing of the "box." Our hope is that you will be caught up in the movements God is spawning through them. Our sincere desire is to see churches just like yours stretch far beyond the box into true kingdom success.