I finished reading Breaking the Missional Code by Ed Stetzer tonight. I went through two highlighters in this book, a new record. There is so much great stuff and I highly recommend it as required reading for anyone who wants to help their church reach people. Here are a few of the high points:
- Breaking the missional code means finding the right way to break through cultural barriers while addressing the spiritual and theological ones that exist.
- Churches in North America must understand that to reach the community outside you must contextualize the mission of the church to the people outside the church in the same way missionaries in Ethiopia must learn the culture, language, and customs.
- You must give up your preferences in order to reach the people in your community with the Gospel.
- You should let the Gospel be the only barrier that stands in the way of the people outside the church.
- Give young leaders a place to grow and to exercise their leadership within the church at large not just their niche.
This is only a few of the high points. I would love to hear about some of your favorite parts of the book. If you are interested in borrowing my copy leave me a comment.
I also had to chance to read Mark Dever’s pamphlet on elders in Baptist life. I recently attended the Founder Conference in Owasso, which is put on by reformed minded churches who in most cases still have the office of elder in their governance. I think that some are of the mind that these reformed churches are not very appealing to young people, and in many cases this is true, but there are several reformed churches that are having great success with younger generations. This is especially true with college students, who are favoring the works of John Piper (a pastor), Derrick Webb (a musician), and Mark Driscoll.
This is the second book I have read this year on eldership within the church, the other being Elders in Congregational Life by Phil A. Newton. In Edmond I had some great discussions with college students, local church staff, and our business administrator about eldership that spurred my interest. Here are a few of Dever’s high points for your consideration:
- The Biblical offices of the church widely recognized in the new testament are bishops or elders and deacons.
- Elder and deacon are not synonymous. Dever frames it this way, "Their (deacons) work is to care for the physical and fiscal needs of the church, to create unity in the body, and to support the work of the pastors and elders."
- New Testament churches had a plurality of elders in a single local church.
- Elders are to direct or lead the church.
- The staff is to determine how to carry out the pastoral directions set out by the elders, though the staff may themselves be elders.
I believe that I am beginning to lean more towards the reformed mind set personally, but desire that it be a part of a church that incarnates the Gospel within their context.
I am going to the bookstore this week to pick up the next round of readings. Do you have any suggestions, whether church related or not?