Creating a Missional Culture
Equipping the Church for the Sake of the World
Once upon a time, Moses had had enough.
Exhausted by the challenge of leading the Israelites from slavery to the Promised Land, Moses cried out to God, “What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? . . . If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me” (Exodus 11:11, 15).
If that sounds hauntingly familiar to you, you may be the senior pastor of a contemporary church. The burden of Christian leadership is becoming increasingly unbearable–demanding skills not native to the art of pastoring; demanding time that makes sabbath rest and even normal sleep patterns seem extravagant; demanding inhuman levels of efficiency, proficiency and even saintliness.
No wonder pastors seem and even feel less human these days. No wonder they burn out or break down at an alarming rate; and no wonder the church is missing the mark on its mission.
In Creating a Missional Culture, J. R. Woodward offers a bold and surprisingly refreshing model for churches–not small adjustments around the periphery of a church’s infrastructure but a radical revising of how a church ought to look, from its leadership structure to its mobilization of the laity. The end result looks surprisingly like the church that Jesus created and the apostles cultivated: a church not chasing the wind but rather going into the world and making disciples of Jesus.
“Creating a Missional Culture is a worthwhile read that provides a gracious, yet prophetic corrective to individualistic, pastor-centric churches, moving the missional church forward.” (Jonathan K. Dodson, Evangelical Missions Quarterly, April 2013)
“Many have written critiques about our consumerism, lack of discipleship, narcissism and theology, but few have given us a clear way forward. In this book, J. R. Woodward uses compelling theology, cultural insight, biblical wisdom and practical examples on how to shift from consumerism to mission and equip the people of God to reach their full redemptive potential. This is a real gift to the body of Christ.” (Jon Tyson, pastor, Trinity Grace Church New York, author of Rumors of God)
“J. R. Woodward reads widely, writes deftly and lives deeply. His book Creating a Missional Culture reflects all of that. Read it and explore what leading can be in the strange new worlds of mission in North America.” (David Fitch, B.R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology, Northern Seminary, author of The End of Evangelicalism?)
About the Author
J. R. Woodward (MA, Fuller Theological Seminary) is a church planter, activist, missiologist and the national director for church planting with V3, a missional church planting movement. He desires to awaken people to join God in the renewal of all things. JR is founder of New Life Christian Fellowship and cofounder of Kairos LA, the Solis Foundation, Ecclesia Network and Missio Alliance. He serves locally with the District Church in Washington D.C. and is pursuing a PhD at the University of Manchester (UK).
Table of Contents
Part 1: The Power of Culture
- 1) What is Missional Culture and Why Does it Matter?
- 2) How Culture Works
- 3) What’s Going On in the Culture of the Church You Serve?
- 4) Polycentric Leadership and Missional Culture
Part 2: A Leadership Imagination That Shapes Missional Culture
- 5) Facing Today’s Challenges
- 6) Hearing the Story
- 7) Deepening Theological Roots
- 8) Embracing Emotional Health
- 9) Relinquishing the Need to Control
Part 3: The Five Culture Creators
- 10) Jesus the Archetypical Culture Creator
- 11) Apostles: Dream Awakeners
- 12) Prophets: Heart Revealers
- 13) Evangelists: Story Tellers
- 14) Pastors: Soul Healers
- 15) Teachers: Light Givers
Part 4: Embodying a Missional Culture
- 16) The Cultural Web and the Neighborhood Church
- 17) Cultivating Missional Environments
- 18) Cultivating an Equipping Ethos
- 19) Polycentric Leadership at Work
- A) Equippers and Their Roles
- B) Equipper Candidate Reference Form
- C) Equipper Candidate Interview