Reggie McNeal: Missional Renaissance — A Review
Lately I have been asked to read Reggie McNeal’s book, Missional Renaissance, for a group discussion. For those that do not have the time or have their head in another book, I have reviewed it from an earlier reading. It is a resource for those who want to learn and to teach others about the missional church movement.
McNeal’s first goal was to set forth the language and definition of the missional church. This book is a clear, practical, Biblical, understandable statement of what it means to be “missional”. This book will also help people who question the missional church understands their fear of change, anticipates their questions, and gives practical guidance for taking a step at a time. McNeal builds on the work of people like Bosch, Guder, Newbigin, Hunsberger, Frost and Hirsch and others, but he does it with a style that is his own and that brings new clarity to what may be already familiar ideas. He recognizes that the “missional renaissance” has as much to do with ecclesiology as it does missiology, and he addresses both with integrity.
His second goal was to set forth a clear path and compass settings for the missional journey. He does this by outlining three missional shifts:
Missional Shift 1: From an Internal to an External Focus
Shifting from a “member culture” to a “missionary culture.”
Refocusing and reallocating resources (prayer, people, calendar/time, finances, facilities, and technology) for missional impact. This is really about stewardship, although he doesn’t use the word.
Missional Shift 2: From Program Development to People Development
“Are people better off for being part of this church, or are they just tireder and poorer?”
Seeing the world as the shaping ground for spiritual formation, not the inside of the church.
Moving from mass standardization of programs to mass customization of discipleship.
“The missional church assumes that service to others is the first step, not some latter expression of spirituality.”
Missional Shift 3: From Church-Based to Kingdom-Based Leadership
The leader must deal with…
Paradigm issues (How the leader sees the world)
Microskill development (Competencies the leader needs)
Resource management (What the leader has to work with)
Personal Growth (The leader as a person.)
His final goal was to establish a score card for measuring progress on the missional journey. His inclusion of suggested metrics to assess missional faithfulness and vitality is something that is missing in most other books on the missional church. Those metrics make a unique contribution to the literature. For years we have measured our faithfulness and vitality in terms of growth of attendance, budget, programs, What happens if we measure vitality in terms of the growth of people, service, prayer, outreach? McNeal would have us move from measuring how we are doing church to how we are blessing our communities.
Its all about making an impact and building relationships. We are On The Verge of something so great that is forwarded by Reggie McNeal, but you will probably hear about that later. Until then, keep thinking external. Peace!