Virtual Missional Anthology

The missional church movement is a reform movement of sorts, begun with the hopes of calling the church out of institutionalism and self protection.  In the coming years, the missional church will become an increasingly important strategy for reaching a nearly Post-Christendom North America.

Over the last several months, I have begun putting together information about the missional church movement for my dissertation.  In one section, I will look at the roots of the movement: its biblical basis, its ties throughout the history of the church, the theology behind the movment.  In another section I will examine current churches that fit within the missional church movement, analyzing their motivations, organization, and practices.

If you are interested in learning more about the missional church, a missional blogger has put together an incredible amount of information about the movement, including videos and bios for key players in the movement.  It’s a great resource.

Check out JR Woodward’s work here.

The Beginnings of a Dissertation

After a few shifts in focus over the course of this week, a focus for the dissertation has risen to the top.  The study will identify common elements and differences in the areas of motivation, organization, and activities among case studies of leading missional churches.  Over the last 10 years, we have developed quite a theological framework for the missional church.  We also have practitioners who are doing things that we call missional church.  However, there is not much information on what all of this looks like.  The belief is that the study will help come closer to a functional definition of missional church.

There are some issues with the study, however.  First, if we are just finding a functional definition of missional church, how will the leading congregations be identified?  Second, if I want to focus in on United Methodist churches, how will I find the leaders in that area?  Third, contextualization of the gospel is central to the understanding of the missional church.  Can I suggest common themes in motivation, organization, and activities without that being a prescribed set?  In other words, can the study be true to its goal of finding common practices without becoming a program about replication of programs and processes?

Does any of this make sense?  Because after a few days with Verna Lowe, I think my head is about to explode!

You can take a look at a more technical summary here.

PS – This could change at any minute.  (But I really hope that it doesn’t!)