The Cat and the Toaster: Living System Ministry in a Technological Age

Overview

Living System Ministry is an approach to Christian ministry in the Western world that recognizes the differences between cats, the world God created, and toasters, the world we create using our technology and our capacities, limited as they are.

The church is the Body of Christ, a living system. Neighborhoods, cities, and cultures, too, are complex and interrelated living social systems. Why, then, would we try to do God's work in a church or social system using tools and ...

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Overview

Living System Ministry is an approach to Christian ministry in the Western world that recognizes the differences between cats, the world God created, and toasters, the world we create using our technology and our capacities, limited as they are.

The church is the Body of Christ, a living system. Neighborhoods, cities, and cultures, too, are complex and interrelated living social systems. Why, then, would we try to do God's work in a church or social system using tools and methods designed for non-living systems? We do it because our culture is very organizationally-and technologically-centered. We have grown accustomed to thinking of our social contexts not as living systems, but as things we can easily measure and control.

Embracing both perspective and procedure, Living System Ministry is about doing better ministry by seeing a better picture of what exists in the total system. Like farmers, rather than technicians, we learn to be involved in and to be "in tune with" what causes fruitfulness. We never cause fruit to happen. God does! But as our work becomes better aligned with what God is already doing in his complex, living-system environment, there is an explosion of life. We discover the fruit that remains.

Writing from his forty-five years of experience as an urban ministry practitioner in Boston, Dr. Doug Hall introduces us to an approach to missions that recognizes the lead role of God's larger, living social systems as powerful engines for doing far more in our world than we can even begin to imagine.

The Cat: representing the living creations that God makes, a highly complex and thoroughly interrelated living system.

The Toaster: representing what people make, a comparatively simple constructed thing.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608992706
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/2010
  • Series: Urban Voices Series
  • Pages: 390
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas A. Hall is the President of the Emmanuel Gospel Center in Boston (www.egc.org), where he has served with his wife, Judy Hall, since 1964. He is also an adjunct professor of urban ministry with Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

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Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Preface: Are You Ready for the Coming Revival? xi

Acknowledgements xxi

Introduction: His Ways Are Higher than Ours xxiii

Terms Used in the Title xxiv

Part 1 Understanding Our Times

1 Overwhelmed by Complexity 5

2 Understanding My Culture 17

3 Understanding the Urban Church 33

4 Understanding the City 40

5 Understanding Gods Living System Design 49

6 Understanding Our Times 66

Part 2 Embracing Our Poverty

7 Introduction to Mental Models 83

8 What Do You Have in Mind? 89

9 We Can Work It Out 104

10 Embracing Our Poverty 116

Part 3 Discovering Our Wealth

11 Three Redemptive Treasures 129

12 Gold Refined in the Fire 136

13 White Clothes to Wear 141

14 Salve to Put on Your Eyes 146

15 Case Study of the Redemptive Method in Ministry 154

16 Immune Systems and Redemption 158

Part 4 Aligning Our Actions

17 Receive the Training and Discipline of the Lord 163

18 God's Thoughts Are Higher Than My Thoughts 171

19 Tools in the Master's Shop 180

20 Aligning Our Actions: Case Studies from Boston's Living System 193

Part 5 Opening Our Doors

21 The Friend of the Master 217

22 The Ministry Practitioner 226

23 Working with God 235

24 Multiplication 246

Part 6 Beginning Our Journey

25 Anticipating the New Creation 263

26 Learning the Mental Models of the New Creation 274

27 Finding Total Redemption in the New Creation 303

28 Aligning Our Actions to the New Creation 314

29 Entering the Doors to the New Creation 324

Epilogue 343

About the Author 349

Bibliography 351

Index 353

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