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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.


  1. Paul Walker — November 12, 2007 #

    I’d recommend this book as a discussion starter for a small leadership group or mission team.

    It’s small enough and cheap enough for everyone to have a copy. All it lacks are the questions at the end of every chapter - but it wouldn’t be hard to make some up!

  2. Mak — November 12, 2007 #

    I agree Paul. In fact, a group dialog section would be a fantastic addition - maybe a supplemental workbook type deal.

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