Recently I just completed Missional Renaissance by Reggie McNeal. The book was chosen as a staff read so I was eager to get started on the next book we would be discussing and digesting together. I have read two other books by Reggie McNeal so I knew I was going to be in for something good. The last two books that I had read by him where about personal leadership, so this book was a totally different direction then what I am used to Reggie taking. It was a good direction. It was a very forward thinking direction. It overwhelmed my brain and really caused me to think and evaluate. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to be apart of what God is doing now. It’s about being the church, not just going to church. A big cultural shift is occurring and we (being the church) need to open our eyes so we don’t miss out on the exciting opportunities that are before us.
The tagline for Missional Renaissance was “changing the scoreboard for the church.” What we’ve been doing and how we’ve been doing it no longer the cutting when it comes to reaching out and impacting our communities. I loved the focus that Reggie has in getting out into the community and being the church right where we are at. It’s about helping people to see that ministry happens beyond the walls of the church. It’s a retraining to show Christ Followers that they have the greatest missions field at their place of work or in their kid’s school. It’s not about doing more church stuff. It’s about being the church where you are at and serving the community.
One thought that was carried throughout the book was being intentional agents for blessing the community wherever we are at and in whatever we are doing. As the church, we are God’s hands and feet to bless. We can join in His plan to bless the world. That’s the plan that He set in motion when He showed Abraham all those stars in Genesis 12. God told Abraham that He would bless the nations through Abraham’s descendants. This promise led to the nation of Israel, which lead to Jesus, which lead to us the Gentiles having a position of adoption into God’s family. Now we are the continuation of the promise to bless all nations.
Reggie has very practical shifts listed in the book. These changes look different in each church and each community, but we know that in order to be missional we need to change and update the way things have always been done. We need to stop being so program oriented and focus more on people and true relationship. We need to stop looking at attendance and offering as health signs for a church. The numbers we focus on might change from attendance to how many volunteer hours have been spent in the community. Instead of focusing on how many programs we can offer the focus becomes how many people are experiencing life change. The book is full of thought-provoking shifts that will help the church reach missional health.
Missional Renaissance wasn’t always an easy read. It caused me to think long and hard about what the church is currently doing and what the future of the church looks like. Now as one person, it’s hard for me to truly think through the revamping of an entire church culture, but I do know that change starts with me. This book gave me eyes to see what I can do now, what I can do today to be more missional. When my change meets up with others who share a vision for God’s work in the world, then I know that we can go far to make sure the church is really being the church. It’s a group effort! I’m on board with figuring out how this all works out off the page and into real life.