Thursday, August 11, 2016

a dream few days: Out of Bounds Church in Korea

It’s been a fascinating few days in Korea. In 2005, I published my first book, The Out of Bounds Church?: Learning to Create a Community of Faith in a Culture of Change (emergentYS). In 2006, I heard that it had been published in Korea. I assumed it was the work of the publisher, Zondervan/Youth Specialties and their international connections.

This week a different story emerged, one that was much more local, involving a theological discerning scholar and a culturally creative publisher. Suk Whan Sung encountered my book at a Willowcreek conference. He was impressed by the theology, in contrast to many books about the missional church, which he felt were simply sociology.


Suk Whan contacted a local Korean publisher. Not once but repeatedly. I was unknown. But Suk Whan was persistent. And the publisher was a bit special.


They had a commitment to publishing not in the area of Christian inspiration but in serious engagement with culture. They have a commitment to craft: the recent books they showed me were clear, fresh and appealing. They wanted to bless culture and thus have published books not only in theology, but in general areas of culture. They publish books based not for the name of the author and how well known they are, but on content.

And so my book was published. Not by an American company expanding their market, but by a local scholar concerned about his people and a local publisher with courage and commitment to a craft.

And this week I got to meet not only translators and publishers, but also readers. I spoke at the Missional church network on Sunday evening, I spoke to the local Presbytery executive, I met a church planter who has planted two communities of faith, inspired by the title.

The feedback: the creativity of the book gives permisssion for others to dream; the theologically thinking provides important frameworks; the cultural engagement of the book provokes.

Posted by steve at 11:51 AM


  1. Wow, that’s awesome Steve. The church universal in action like yeast.

    Comment by Paul — August 11, 2016 @ 12:05 pm

  2. What an inspiring and encouraging story 🙂 That “why not do it” attitude and determination is typical of the best in Korean culture, and perhaps missional culture.

    Comment by Tim Bulkeley — August 11, 2016 @ 12:52 pm

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