Too many of us know how frustrating and even hurtful it can be to love Jesus’ church but not fit in any local church. Anyone who questions the elevated role of the Sunday service has felt the isolation. In light of this, The Church as Movement is more than the practical guidebook it sets out to be; it’s the resounding reminder that we’re not alone, that we’re not crazy.
Reading Church as Movement is an experience similar to talking with the authors in person. It left me and my church planting team exclaiming, “We’ve finally found our tribe!”
For Dreamers AND Doers
Church as Movement is that rare book that inspires both dreamers and doers. Authors JR Woodward and Dan White Jr. have done more than dream of a fresh way forward for the church—they’ve lived it. They pour their dreams and passion into every chapter, yet they also punctuate their pages with charts, graphs, and other movemental-based resources. While many missional church books are heavy on vision but light on details, Church as Movement is a gift to all missional planters that presents a vision of how to use the details to grow dreams instead of drown them.
Real Histories Give Kinesis to the Movement
Church as Movement builds to and flows from the central concept that “the church is not a building, a weekly gathering, or a program, but a people God has called out of the world and sent back into the world to redeem and renew it.” The trouble is, this is an easier sentence to tweet than to live. (Actually, you can’t tweet it either, because it has over 140 characters, but you get the idea!)
This book has been borne from JR’s and Dan’s failures and breakthroughs. Long after they started and led communities, they began to coach others on how to do it, too. In fact, Church as Movement was initially compiled as a coaching curriculum for missional church planters. And this is perhaps its greatest strength: every chapter has undergone countless edits stemming from rich conversations with on-the-ground planters.
Practical Elements from a Book on Practices
The final product is a must-have for anyone interested in missional communities and place-based ministry. Among other things, JR and Dan present…
- how to lead a community with movement in mind
- the importance of scalable tools
- an understanding of mission
- an understanding of present-day incarnation
- proven methodologies on how to structure leadership
They also detail discipleship as the essential catalyst of movement. Not only is this catalyst spelled out for leadership in the general sense, it goes even further because it spells out how to lead others…who lead others…who lead others.
Community is explored as a recurring theme—from the shared table, to a collective rule, to a lot of other community-based praxes. JR and Dan also emphasize the neighborhood over the sanctuary stage as the place where God is moving, and they offer clear steps to shifting both paradigm and practice.
Plus, every chapter includes questions for reflection and provides notes with further resources. Of course, anyone would benefit from reading Church as Movement on their own, but it should be said that this practical guide to missional movement is especially designed to be used by groups.
The Shaping of Things to Come
Church as Movement paints a refreshing vision for church as it could be and should be. I can’t express how much I’ve benefited from its wisdom, practical instruction, and clear message of hope. I’m confident it will influence the missional church movement for years to come.
I’m profoundly grateful that I’ve finally found my tribe.