Archive for November 12th, 2007

Missio Dei: In the Crisis of Christianity

by Fred Peatross

First, an apology. I agreed to read and review this book that Fred so generously sent me and it has taken me an embarrassingly long time to do it. I apologize to Fred for this.

If the missional movement were to have a clear, concise and fresh handbook, this book would surely be it. Fred Peatross is a practitioner, and it is clear from page one that this is the case. There is no pretension or pipe dreams in this little book, no pie in the sky theories that could never sustain in the real world. Adding to its readability is its size - it’s a small book - but do not be deceived, Peatross uses his words carefully to pack in great substance between the covers.

In Fred’s own words:

I write for the existing churches hoping and praying that there can still be revitalization for some or at the minimum the planting of missional congregations within broader church structures.

Missio Dei is both an encouragement to anyone already in this “mode” of mission and a primer to the entire concept of emerging-missional for those attempting to become familiar with it. It does not side step the real issues at hand in the current church climate but at the same time, it is not overly critical or polarizing and because of this it is a “safe” resource to pass on to just about anyone - especially any pastor/church planter/missionary open to thinking in new ways about the way we “do church”.

Through Scripture, history, quotes, metaphor and stories, Missio Dei lays the groundwork of understanding, using common language and continues to make a very strong argument for why a missional shift needs to occur. Peatross is compelling in his efforts to woo those who may be on the edge of a paradigm shift.

Peatross addresses everything from chaos and change to Sunday School and spiritual formation theory; from consumerism and social justice to church finances and evangelism - all in a way that is both challenging and sensitive to the experiences and frustrations of the “every man”.

“…[w]ithout a grass roots movement clamoring at the feet
of leadership, missional will never gain a foothold. Without a
swelling at the margins, leaders will forever fight to maintain
the status quo.”

Peatross has given the emerging-missional movement a gift of generous, gracious and clear communication of the mission. If you have already been steeped in the practice of missional as I have, you might find much of this book redundant, but my experience has been that the nuggets in books like this are usually worth the price of admission. But even better, buy this book for friends and colleagues finding themselves at the crossroads.

juggling plates

I’m getting to the point where I’m going to have to start making some priority choices regarding what to do with my time.

I have lots of ideas and responsibilities and then a bunch of other peripheral stuff clinging for life to the edges of my reality. I think it’s time to drag in some of those things and kick off the rest.

I want to seriously look at this book idea I have and to do so I need to actually play with it a bit by doing some writing for it. I have this Emergent magazine idea that I really want to do and make reality (let me know if you’re interested in being involved with either of these things). I’d like to give more attention and focus to some of my writing for articles and essays and I still have my paycheck work and everything else so I need to pare down.

I was telling David last night that I love Revolution and our people and what we’re doing is so important but networking, meeting with people from all over and connecting virtually with others, researching and writing probably better represent my passions - - but I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up so I’m not prepared to make that a definitive statement yet.