Friday, December 11, 2020

celebrating First Expressions with my graduating department

celebrating The Theology Department at Otago University have a lovely tradition, an annual end of year celebration of books written by Faculty and former post-graduates. Since I was a PhD post-graduate student of Theology at Otago back in the day, I was invited (back!) to celebrate First Expressions: Innovation and the Mission of God, the book I had published late in December, 2019. Here is my “celebration” speech, trying to link the book with the PhD research.

First Expressions: Innovation and the Mission of God is the 2nd book to emerge from my PhD research. I graduated with my PhD from Otago in 2004. As I finished my PhD, I wanted to make the research accessible to the wider church. So I wrote The Out of Bounds Church?: Learning to Create a Community of Faith in a Culture of Change. This was published by Zondervan, USA in 2005 and translated into Korean in 2008. I’ve even been to visit a new church plant in Korea named “Out of Bounds Church” in honour of the book!

There was a large chunk of empirical research – ethnography, interviews, focus groups – I had to drop out of my PhD thesis. Because it was already too big. So I was keen to find a way to do something with that PhD research. So I sought ethics approval and did a longitudinal study. This involved returning 10 years later to the church’s I’d researched in my PhD.

I found that half of the new forms of church were no longer meeting as gathered communities. Which raised ecclesiology questions. Does it matter if innovation doesn’t endure? How might Easter – dying and rising –shape our ecclesiology?

During that 10 year period, the wider denominations – Church of England and Methodists in the UK – had affirmed these new forms of church. They had developed structures like Fresh Expressions to partner with them. So that raised another set of ecclesiology questions – How do organisations discern what is of God and what isn’t? How do churches as organisations best partner with grassroots innovation?

So I interviewed denominational leaders –Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury and Stephen Cottrell who’s now the Archbishop of York.

Then I found a publisher – SCM. They have been great to work with.

According to Ecclesiology and international ecumenical journal – First Expressions is a “radical re-conceptualization of the marks of the Church” (more here).

According to the Scottish Episcopal Journal, First Expressions offers “in-depth theological hermeneutic, firmly grounded in Scripture and ecclesiology” (more here).

According to Rowan Williams, who emailed in January, saying he was – “impressed with the theological analysis .. [First Expressions is] an important book.”

Thanks to the University of Otago, who provided PhD scholarships and post-graduate conference funding. Thanks to the Theology Department for celebrating books emerging from PhD research. Thanks to any of you who might want to review it for Anglican Taonga or Methodist Touchstone!

Photo by Matthieu Joannon on Unsplash

Posted by steve at 05:32 PM

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

help the entrepreneurs in ministry articulate vision and direction – First Expressions book review # 2

Another review of First Expressions: Innovation and the Mission of God, this time by Eleanor Charman in the Scottish Episcopal Institute Journal 4, 3,(Autumn 2020), 91–93.

Rev Eleanor Charman is a priest at St Peter and the Holy Rood Episcopal Church and the first full-time curate ordained in Caithness since 1746 (According to here). So Eleanor is a bit of a pioneer herself!

After a fair review of the 4 parts of the book (and a much more positive engagement with my feminist methodologies and metaphors of innovation than the review of First Expressions in Ecclesiology), Charman concludes:

Taylor’s book reveals the myriad of complex dynamics that weave through communities as they seek to establish themselves … [Taylor] has systematically researched various aspects of the communities, through interviews and extensive reading. Taylor provides an in-depth theological hermeneutic, firmly grounded in Scripture and ecclesiology … the reader will have a better and more informed understanding of the nature of pioneering. This in turn may help the entrepreneurs in ministry articulate vision and direction with their gathered communities as they seek to establish new first expressions.

The Scottish Episcopal Institute Journal aims to be a vehicle for debate on current issues in the Anglican Communion and beyond. It invites dialogue on what it means to think as an Episcopalian in Scotland in the twenty-first century and aims to be a catalyst for prayer and theological reflection at the heart of the Scottish Episcopal Church. So it’s a really interesting context in which to have my work read in relation to helping “entrepreneurs in ministry articulate vision and direction.”

Thanks Eleanor Charman. Thanks SCM for publishing and for working hard at reviews.

Posted by steve at 10:47 AM

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

radical re-conceptualization of the marks of the Church – First Expressions book review

There is a review of my book First Expressions: Innovation and the Mission of God in the latest edition of Ecclesiology 16, 3 (2020), 429-431 by York St John (UK) theologian, John Williams. Ecclesiology is an international, ecumenical and fully peer-reviewed theological journal. The main focus of the journal is on the mission, ministry and unity of the Church. So it’s great to have the book reviewed in that context.

There are lots of affirmations by the reviewer. My book is”substantial” (429) and I’m at my best when engaging in “critical theological and practical reflection on his empirical research” (429). While First Expressions: Innovation and the Mission of God is considered “particularly useful for those involved in Fresh Expressions” (429) it also deemed to provide a “stimulating contribution to the conversation right across the ecclesial spectrum” (431).

There are some critical questions. My methodology is overtheorized (although better to be overtheorised than under, particularly when it comes to new areas of ecclesial research) and my fourfold typology for ‘innovation’ is confusing (need to be clearer that I am working with metaphors, which by nature require different ways of thinking).

So a mirror on my strengths as a thinker (theological and practical reflection on empirical research) and weaknesses as a writer (over-theorised). And some helpful pointers for further research and writing, for which I am grateful.

And an opinion – that I am offering something distinctly original – “an alternative paradigm for ecclesiology” (431). Across 20 centuries of Christian thought, what I am proposing is a “radical re-conceptualization of the ‘classical marks of the Church” (430), an ecclesiology distinct from paradigms of the church enshrined in historical continuity, hierarchical structure or ecumenical agreement. So that is very high praise – for my book and for Fresh Expressions/emerging church.

Posted by steve at 10:50 AM

Monday, April 13, 2020

seeing faith: art and theology in Christ in the Wilderness

Christ in the Wilderness: Reflecting on the Paintings of Stanley Spencer by Stephen Cottrell has been a wonderful Lenten 2020 companion.

Art opens up the imagination. Cottrell reflects on the paintings of British painter, Stanley Spencer and in particular a Lenten series of paintings done by Spencer in the 1930’s. The book begins with a wonderful introduction to the spirituality and life of Spencer. Then there are 5 chapters engaging with 5 different paintings.

Cottrell is a brilliant communicator. The clever interweaving of stories from his life and experience, along with Biblical text, theology and the life of Stanley Spencer make for an accessible, yet at times profound engagement. Paying close attention to the imaginative work of an artist makes a space for stillness and reflection. At the same time, there is constant engagement with the life of Spencer, which adds layers of insight.

A picture a week made for a paced Lenten. Each picture is reproduced and in colour. The week began with a few days of my own contemplation on Spencer’s art. This was followed by reading slowly, a page or two, of Cottrell’s insights, as the week progressed. The result was fresh insights and a more contemplative Lent.

Posted by steve at 09:41 AM

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

On Innovation and Mission: introducing my new book First Expressions

Steve Taylor introduces his new book First Expressions : Innovation and the Mission of God … 700 words to summarise a 95,000 word project …

280719_irst Expressions FINAL CORRECT copy

On Innovation and Mission

Nearly half of fresh expressions will die. My research into new forms of church found 50% of churches had tried and died. My analysis of research by others found 62% of what were proclaimed as “models to hope on” had died.

A pragmatic ecclesiology values numbers. Like Dragons’ Den, a church with limited resources wants to invest wisely. If fresh expressions die, are they worth investing in? A pastoral ecclesiology values people. What is the impact on faith formation when the church that one starts and another joins organizes its own funeral? Is there an innovation ecclesiology, that can locate birth and death in the relationship between innovation and mission?

What research? To understand innovation in mission I studied eleven local church communities in England, Scotland and Wales. I came to call these communities “first expressions”. The name captures a “boldly go where no-one has gone before” approach to spirituality, evident as communities like Visions used video projection to transform church buildings in an Illuminating York Festival or Late Late Service explored “the music that we grew up with and forms of learning that we’re comfortable with” (God in the House, 1996). The term “first expressions” captures the new (and terrifying) reality of those who innovate without roadmaps from those who have gone before.

This was an empirical study. It is tempting for ecclesiology to work with ideals. I wanted to research reality. As Julian of Norwich declares, in one small thing – in my case “first expressions” – is all of creation. I developed a woven ecclesiology, that upholds the value not only of gathering in worship, but of intergenerational faith formation, leadership development and the making of creative product.

I returned 11 years later, to interview and to participate. This gave me a longitudinal study of first expressions, likely the first in the world. In focus group interviews, I heard stories of creative communities like Grace smashing their sense of identity in order to orientate around values not particular leaders. I interviewed leaders of the communities now dead and heard of “Vicar factories” in which the space to create and question resulted in leadership gifted to the wider church.

In the meantime, alongside these first expressions locally, church denominations innovated with Fresh Expressions. I expanded my longitudinal research to study Fresh Expressions as an organizational “first expression”, interviewing leaders like Rowan William, Steven Croft and Andrew Roberts, seeking to understand how a denomination might innovate in mission.

Why research? The research was shaped by my own story. I planted a first expression. Four years after I moved to another leadership role, I heard that first expression was preparing to die. This prompted my longitudinal research.

Through my research, I was challenged by a New Testament wisdom. None of the churches that the apostle Paul planted remain alive today. In Philippians, Paul writes to the very first expression of church in Europe. He names a pioneer that nearly died. Ephaphroditus is to be regarded as valuable. This is a Christian theology of risk, in which birth and death are affirmed.

I was blessed by the grassroots wisdom of local communities. Mobility, leadership transitions and the strength of wider relationships all impact on longevity. What was astonishing was the flexibility by which these first expressions explored new structures of leadership, clarified their identities in the midst of change and creatively drew on spiritual resources.

I was inspired by the organizational wisdom of denominations. In history, churches have innovated with structures. To help understand Fresh Expressions, I examined other mission structures developed in the United Kingdom, monastic patterns, early Methodism and the modern mission agency. I throw in wild cards of contemporary structures like NGOs and incubators. Innovation in mission often includes innovation in organizational shapes.

I was stretched by gender wisdom. The denominational leaders I interviewed were all men. This prompted an imaginative thought experiment. If Elizabeth was an archbishop and Mary was birthing an organization about to be named Fresh Expressions, what might be the shape of their strategic plan?

Innovation in mission is an activity of God. It embodies the word of Jesus: Unless a seed falls, there is no life. Julian was wise. In each small thing, there is value. The birth and death of first expressions invite a radical rethink of mission and ministry. A layered approach to ecclesiology, a church that is neither gathered and parish nor independent and networked, emerges. Innovation is the ants in the pants of Christianity. It keeps the body moving, not for the sake of growth but for the sake of birth and death, which are central to Christianity and thus to being church. Such is the gift of “first expressions”.

***

Order First Expressions via the SCM website before 31st December 2019, and you’ll benefit from a launch discount.

Steve Taylor is Principal of Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership and author of First Expressions: Innovation and the mission of God, Built for change: A practical theology of innovation and collaboration and The Out of Bounds Church?. He enjoys nature and is learning to knit.

Posted by steve at 07:52 AM

Thursday, October 10, 2019

“Jesus as innovator” conference paper acceptance

A few years ago, I began a research conversation with Dr Christine Woods, a Professor at the Business School at Auckland University. We had a mutual interest in social entrepreneurship and a shared question: does Christian faith offer anything to innovation? What in Christian resources might encourage the making of all things new?

One of the first tangible fruits of our shared conversation is the acceptance of a paper for United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship 2020 conference. It’s a new space for me, but really interesting to see what might happen as Jesus is made present in this sort of context.

Title: Jesus as innovator: engaging in missional entrepreneurship

Keywords: Mission entrepreneurship, innovation, Christianity, opportunity

Abstract: Discussion on spirituality in entrepreneurship is an emergent area of research (Balog, Baker, & Walker, 2014). We explore one specific form of spiritual entrepreneurship: mission entrepreneurship, understood as realizing opportunities to bring about change inspired by Christ. We contend that a Christology of entrepreneurship can be found in the six images of innovation emerging from a biblical exegesis of 1 Corinthians 3, 4: serving, gardening, building, resourcing, risking and parenting. We discuss how these images form a framework that can be used as a pedagogical tool, and how the framework combines with the conventional idea to opportunity entrepreneurship process.

Acceptance involved not only an abstract, but also a 1,000 word summary in which we outlined our

  • research question – what understanding can we then draw of an engagement with entrepreneurship from God’s word?
  • methodology – “connectional methodology” from Paul Fiddes (Seeing the World and Knowing God, 2013)
  • contribution to entrepreneurship research – a Christology of entrepreneurship and innovation of six Christian acts of innovation – serving, gardening, building, researching, risking and parenting.

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The 2020 United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Conference is in New Orleans in January and Christine will be taking this one for the team!

Balog, A. M., Baker, L. T., & Walker, A. G. (2014). Religiosity and spirituality in entrepreneurship: a review and research agenda. Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion, 11(2), 159–186.

Taylor, Steve, Built for change: A practical theology of innovation and collaboration, 2016.

Posted by steve at 02:56 PM

Friday, October 12, 2018

First expressions book contract

Another happy Steve moment.

signingbook

I’ve recently signed a book contract with SCM Press, for a book on sustainability and innovation. The provisional title is First Expressions: emerging movements in mission. It will be drawing on my longitudinal research on new forms of church ten years on. I’m particularly interested in what we learn from those who try/play/experiment and how we theorise the tension between durability in cultures of continuity and fail fast in cultures of discontinuity.

I’ve had the empirical data for a while and the UK trip in June included the opportunity to connect with SCM editor, David Shervington who reached out on twitter and then graciously accommodated my lateness as the British Library refused me entry because my suitcase was too large.  A book proposal and 2 draft chapters, some back and forth and SCM said yes a few weeks ago.

I never imagined writing one book, yet alone three, so I’m pretty pleased.  I’m due for some sabbatical time February through May 2019, so the timing is perfect, with the full manuscript due to SCM in May.  In the meantime, I have a few other deadlines to complete (ducking to hide from Jione Havea and Christine Woods).

Posted by steve at 11:24 AM

Sunday, November 05, 2017

The Earth Cries Out book review

The Earth Cries Out, by Bonnie Etherington, is a brooding meditation on grief and vulnerability. The story is told through the eyes of Ruth. Her family flee from tragedy in New Zealand, only to find yet more grief in a strange new world, that of West Papua. Coming of age is hard enough in places familiar and families secure, let alone in new worlds, across cultures, amid the armed cross currents that fracture modern day West Papua.

A Scripture, Romans 8:22 is used by way of introduction. Faith is a constant thread, closely examined through the lens of human pain. In the innocent eyes of a child the world is always big, held together by parental security and friendships of circumstances. Ruth’s gaze increases the sensitivity by which we contemplate the cries of creation. Theologically, there are no cliches. Only the reminder, that the cry for justice will never be stilled.

The story of West Papua is more complex than individual narratives of expatriate families such as Ruth’s. Etherington skillfully deals with this complexity through the use of individual vignettes – of plane crashes, Japanese invasion, botanical adventurers, mining – scattered through the narrative. Each stand alone, yet each in their uniqueness narrate the rich complexity of this island nation. In the interruptions, they are a poignant pointer toward beauty and history.

The Earth Cries Out is an absorbing read. Skillfully told, each page is an invitation to care and compassion, for all those we know both near and far.

Posted by steve at 08:41 PM

Monday, March 20, 2017

Unassuming, penetrating, pragmatic and humble: Built for change review

builtforchange Here is the 9th review of my book, Built for Change. This one comes from the United States. Since the book was written with a focus on stories of change from New Zealand and Australia, to have such a positive review from a third country is wonderful.

For lay and clergy leaders looking to rediscover relevancy for the North American church, practical hope comes from down under.

Unassuming, penetrating, pragmatic and humble, Steve Taylor has given us a place to start in “doing church differently,” not for the sake of being different, but for the sake of meaning, for ourselves and others. Accessible, fresh and above all honest, Taylor has expressed in appropriate balance the realities of change, innovation, collaboration and learning so necessary to make sense in this world, a sense-making enabled by biblical wisdom woven with insights from his own direct experience.

There is wisdom here–understanding, not “overspending”–not only for congregational and individual renewal, but for an even broader audience too often seduced by the noise of leadership theory. This is pure signal amidst all the noise. This little book holds a voice you can trust if you are trying to make sense of change, especially if you are wise enough to try to make sense in collaboration with others. Thank you Dr. Taylor for sharing your experience, taking the time and care to reflect upon it, and offering it up to us all.

“Built for Change” by Rev Dr Steve Taylor is available in Australia through MediaCom Education Inc. or New Zealand through Angelwingsresources@gmail.com. It is also available on Amazon Built for change: A practical theology of innovation and collaboration.

Review 1 here. Review 2 here. Review 3 here. Review 4 is here. Review 5 is here. Review 6 is here. Review 7 by Darren Cronshaw is here. Review 8 by Uniting Church Moderator, Sue Ellis, is here.

Posted by steve at 09:13 PM

Saturday, December 17, 2016

a moderators re-view of Built for change

builtforchange Here is the 8th review of my book, Built for Change. This one is by Rev Sue Ellis, the current Moderator of the Uniting Church of South Australia. It’s also the first review from the South Australian church community where many of the practical stories in Built for Change took place. So it’s an important authenticity check.

I really liked the way Steve Taylor addressed the changing dimensions of church life in this interesting volume. As a ministry agent involved with growing the church into its new era of life for today’s world, he has picked up the duality of change that goes outward into church life and community and the change that needs to journey inwardly challenging my own beliefs and practices both individually and corporately.

Steve explores some Pauline descriptors of models for change. We need to apply different models for different situations. I identified with his descriptors of at times bring a builder or a servant; a gardener or a parent; a resource manager or fool. I could remember how change I had engaged in had me preferring one of these roles. Living in South Australia, I had seen some of the journeys he described in the Uniting Church. Hence, I was on familiar ground.

The book is well grounded in practical application, but it does need some navigating. Beginning at the end was an initial challenge. I used the book for my ‘breakfast read’ – intentionally digesting its offering for each day. It is a volume I will keep for ready reference, as I believe strongly in the need for creative innovation within western churches.

“Built for Change” by Rev Dr Steve Taylor is available in Australia through MediaCom Education Inc. or New Zealand through Angelwingsresources@gmail.com. Review 1 here. Review 2 here. Review 3 here. Review 4 is here. Review 5 is here. Review 6 is here. Review 7 by Darren Cronshaw is here.

Posted by steve at 04:28 PM

Monday, September 05, 2016

one for each national Board member please: Built for Change

builtforchange10 Here’s another endorsement of Built for Change. Press Go – a national Presbyterian board – fund promising mission and growth ideas in New Zealand. They brought 10 copies of the book, one for each Board member. Board Chair and current Presbyterian Church Moderator explains why:

“Built for Change is an important book for us as a Board, charged with resourcing mission nationally. It provides theological thinking and practice around change and makes a valuable contribution to our conversation as a Board.

Built For Change is a way of being change rather than making change. While the book has many examples and practical ways of leading change don’t miss the fundamental point of this book; the prior condition for change is an attitude formed by our understanding of ourself, our community and of God at work in the world. Transformational change arises out of a deep collaborative conversation and is not a technique.” Very Rev Andrew Norton, Moderator Presbyterian Church Aotearoa New Zealand and Chair Press Go

“Built for Change” by Rev Dr Steve Taylor is available in Australia through MediaCom Education Inc. or New Zealand through Angelwingsresources@gmail.com.

Review 1 here. Review 2 here. Review 3 here. Review 4 is here. Review 5 is here.

Posted by steve at 03:21 PM

Sunday, August 28, 2016

inspiring individually, really helpful theologically: Built for Change review

builtforchange Here is a fifth review of Built for Change. This one is by Duncan Macleod. Duncan is Director of the Uniting Learning Network with the Uniting Church in Australia. He is also editor of The Inspiration Room, a website focused on creative work from around globe.

Two things I appreciate about this review. First, the evaluation of the second section, Leading Deeply as offering “a really helpful reflection” on a theology of leadership and innovation, particularly for the mainline denomination in which Duncan serves. Second, my approach in the third section, Leading Inward as being inspired/ing. Duncan reads my highly personalised approach as an invitation – “Rather than comparing myself with my colleagues, I need to grasp the particular contribution God is developing in me in relationship with my peers.” My highly individualised approach becomes “a great way to finish … inspire and inform … without prescribing or limiting.” It felt risky and vulnerable writing the way I did and its a relief to have Duncan’s feedback on how this approach inspires.

Here is the review in full: thanks Duncan.

Steve’s first section, Leading Outward, introduces six images of leadership as found in Paul’s self descriptions in 1 Corinthians 3 and 4: a servant who listens, a resource manager who faces reality, a builder who structures collaborative processes, a fool who jumps out of boxes and plays, and a parent who parents. Steve tells the stories of three innovative projects made possible through collaborative leadership: Glenkirk Cafe in Malvern, Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross, Sydney, and the Illustrated Gospel Project, a worship resource curated by Malcolm Gordon. He goes on to explore Lewin’s force field, experimentation, the change curve, and the importance of tacking.

The second section, Leading Deeply, delves into a theology of leadership, drawing insight from the ministry of Jesus and exploring the healthy tension between Biblical frameworks and contemporary insights into collaborative leadership. This is a really helpful reflection for the Uniting Church, which in many ways has its roots in movements that were highly suspicious of any one person having too much influence. It’s not that long ago that focusing on transformation, leadership and missional challenge were seen by some as the latest heresy. Steve’s contribution to the conversation helps us recognise some of our own biases and come more lightly to a considered theological reflection on leadership and innovation.

The third section, Leading Inward, provides insights into Steve’s own exploration of collaborative leadership and innovation, including lessons learnt and practices honed. This, perhaps, is the section that inspired me the most. Steve has run a series of C words in this section: call, colour, connection, community. Working in a very similar role to Steve, I resonated with his reflections on the importance of call. “What is in your hand? What among your gifts, talents and experience is of value to the organisations to which you contribute?” Having just gone through my annual vitality of ministry review this week, it’s a pertinent question. Rather than comparing myself with my colleagues, I need to grasp the particular contribution God is developing in me in relationship with my peers. I gathered inspiration for practical daily and weekly disciplines as I read through the way Steve manages to achieve what he does.

Steve finishes with a chapter on reflective leadership, focusing on four tools: journaling, the leading of meetings, breath prayer and the art of asking the question, “What could I do differently”. That last question is a great way to finish, helping us as readers to recognise Steve’s pattern of work and life as his particular journey of learning, which can inspire and inform our own without prescribing or limiting.

“Built for Change” by Rev Dr Steve Taylor is available in Australia through MediaCom Education Inc. or New Zealand through Angelwingsresources@gmail.com.

Review 1 here. Review 2 here. Review 3 here. Review 4 is here.

Posted by steve at 04:25 PM

Monday, August 22, 2016

makes good sense: the mother-in-law reviews Built for Change

builtforchange Here is another review of Built for Change, this one by my mother-in-law.

During the past month I had more time than usual for reading and I found Steve Taylor’s new book very interesting. “Built for Change” is, as it says, “a practical theology of innovation and collaboration in leadership.” The words “Collaboration in leadership” grabbed me because I don’t see “collaborating” as something Christians always find easy to do. It seems easy to be excited by something we believe God is saying to us individually but often much harder to really listen to others and work together.

Quoting from 1 Corinthians, Chapters 3 and 4, Steve describes Paul’s leadership as combining the attributes of servant, gardener, builder, resource manager, fool and parent. I wondered how exercising those attributes could be a key to making collaboration and innovation successful and I was encouraged to read on. Steve describes how he has used Paul’s ministry as a model for building team leadership over the past few years in Australia and now in Otago. What he has to say makes good sense and his book is full of rich and innovative ideas.

“Built for Change” by Rev Dr Steve Taylor is available in Australia through MediaCom Education Inc. or New Zealand through Angelwingsresources@gmail.com.

Review 1 here. Review 2 here. Review 3 here.

Posted by steve at 12:36 PM

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.

outofboundchurchtranslator

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.

outofboundschurcheditor

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