Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Church On The Other Side

Just finished reading Brian McLaren's book "The Church on the other side", and found it really interesting, yet challenging and thought-provoking! This book is about doing ministry on the other side of the modern / postmodern transition. McLaren points out that there is a need for new kinds of churches in the new world. The most important and revolutionary task of our generation is planting and developing the church on the other side. He offers thirteen strategies for navigating the modern / postmodern transition. These include:

(1) maximizing discontinuity by distinguishing between renewed, restored, and reinvented churches, and focus on the last;
(2) redefining mission by clarifying and simplifying to “more Christians, better Christians” in authentic missional community, for the good of the world;
(3) practising systems thinking by seeing the church program in terms of interrelated systems rather than quick fixes;
(4) trading up traditions for tradition by distinguishing between church traditions and the Christian Tradition, and moving emphasis from the former to the latter;
(5) resurrecting theology as art and science by stopping thinking of theology as a matter of technical training, and rejuvenating theology through a quest for truth and beauty;
(6) designing a new apologetic by finding fresh ways to communicate the gospel to the postmodern mind;
(7) learning a new rhetoric by realizing that old communication patterns are less and less effective in the new world, and discovering new, appropriate modes of discourse;
(8) abandoning old structures as they are outgrown by adopting a new paradigm for church structure that allows for routine reenginerring based on changes in size, constituency, resources, and strategy;
(9) saving the leaders by recognizing the terrible toll that the transition time is taking on leaders; recognizing their immense value to the church at this time; helping them to be “saved” for their needed work;
(10) subsuming missions in mission by understanding the crisis in world missions, and helping launch a new missionary movement;
(11) looking ahead, by anchoring hope in the future rather than the past, and exploring a new eschatology.
(12) Entering the postmodern world by understanding it, engaging it, and getting ready for revolution;
(13) Adding to this list by helping the church become a learning organization that discovers and implements its own new strategies.

McLaren’s book is clear, honest, open-minded, intellectually and spiritually stretching and stimulating. It offers a passionate challenge to change and transformation. Its practical, easy to understand, relevant and engaging language including illustrations on real-life church experience, and evangelical ministry make it a worthwhile book to read. Yet I feel that to put these strategies into action is the major challenge.

So what do you think of these 13 points? Which one do you see as the most important? And how can these strategies be put into action?


Sivin Kit said...

hey I did a book review on Brian's book in 2002 http://sivinkit.net/archives/001475.html

I think this is one of the best or at least better books on church I've read thus far!

Kitty Cheng said...

I just read your book review on the book, it was fantastic Sivin...i resonate with what you write there! And i agree that this is a great book on church.