Creating a Missional Culture: Equipping the Church for the Sake of the World

Overview

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 ...

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Creating a Missional Culture: Equipping the Church for the Sake of the World

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Amos Yong
"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."
Jon Tyson
"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."
Wil Hernandez
"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."
Dr. MaryKate Morse
"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."
Linda Bergquist
"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!"
Dwight J. Friesen
"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."
Michael Frost
"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."
Darrell Guder
"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.'"
David Fitch
"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."
from the foreword by Alan Hirsch
"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."
Jonathan K. Dodson
"Creating a Missional Culture is a worthwhile read that provides a gracious, yet prophetic corrective to individualistic, pastor-centric churches, moving the missional church forward."
Doctor - MaryKate Morse
"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."
Alan Hirsch
"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."
Dr. MaryKate Morse
"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."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830836536
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 7/5/2012
  • Series: Forge Partnership Books
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,486,338
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

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 majority-world countries to equip new entrepreneurs through small business, micro-loan programs and venture grants. Woodward previously published ViralHope 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 The Shaping of Things to Come (with Michael Frost) is widely considered to be a seminal text on mission. Alan's recent book The Forgotten Ways, has quickly become a key reference for missional thinking, particularly as it relates to movements. His book ReJesus is a radical restatement about the role that Jesus plays in defining missional movements. Untamed, 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.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Foreword by Alan Hirsch
Acknowledgments
Introduction Part 1: The Power of Culture
1. What Is Missional Culture and Why Does It Matter?
2. How Culture Works
3. What's Going On in the Culture of the Church You Serve?
4. Polycentric Leadership and Missional CulturePart 2: A Leadership Imagination That Shapes Missional Culture
5. Facing Today's Challenges
6. Hearing the Story
7. Deepening Theological Roots
8. Embracing Emotional Health
9. Relinquishing the Need to ControlPart 3: The Five Culture Creators
10. Jesus the Archetypical Culture Creator
11. Apostles: Dream Awakeners
12. Prophets: Heart Revealers
13. Evangelists: Story Tellers
14. Pastors: Soul Healers
15. Teachers: Light GiversPart 4: Embodying a Missional Culture
16. The Cultural Web and the Neighborhood Church
17. Cultivating Missional Environments
18. Cultivating an Equipping Ethos
19. Polycentric Leadership at Work
Appendix 1: Equippers and Their Roles
Appendix 2: Equipper Candidate Reference Form
Appendix 3: Equipper Candidate Interview
Notes
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  • Posted August 9, 2012

    Great read that brings practical help

    “Missional” has been a buzz word for so many years it’s become a bit of a buzz kill. In some respects, the use of the word seems to me to be another way to create a conference and a nice roster of speakers. But there are leaders doing “missional” work and seeing what the Spirit is doing is vital. Over the years, as I have learned more about church history, liturgy, and spiritual formation, I have been drawn to forms that call disciples to walk more closely with the Lord. Creating a Missional Culture by J R Woodward is a book written by a practitioner. He’s beyond the theory. Woodward does an excellent job of building the case for missional congregations, then brings out some very practical ideas. One thing I found refreshing about his work is he didn’t spend his time bashing away at how church “is” and how we’re “getting it wrong.” He presents his case for what he sees as a good model, then demonstrates how that has worked in some different contexts. He moves in a positive direction. It’s a positive direction, but it is challenging. While the American church has been chasing a CEO model for the past few decades, Woodward is taking his thoughts in a different direction. While I have watched my own denomination pick up the model of “satellite” churches, which focuses on one strong leader who broadcasts his sermon to several sites, Woodward refreshes the idea of multiplication through multiple leaders. In our either/or society we’ve created two types of leadership. We either go with centralized leadership, or decentralized leadership. Woodward’s suggestion, which he builds off of Ephesians 4, is polycentric leadership. We need to unleash the gifts of the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher again. We need to trust each other and the leading of the Spirit. What is needed is a culture change. We need to examine, as a church, how we are doing things and come to some conclusions. And it needs to be done as a body. Creating a new culture of unleashing gifts when it’s been a “top down” model is a tricky deal. Woodward is incredibly thorough in drawing in how he has seen this work. He doesn’t just give illustrations. He lays out practical thoughts, principles, and strategies. It is a book that needs to be absorbed slowly, talked about, then probably read again. No organization can make wholesale changes at the snap of a finger. Woodward’s propositions are well worth considering. I received a review copy of this book from InterVarsity Press and am under no obligation to give this book a positive review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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