Discerning Mission

Exploring scholarly approaches to mission

The international journal Missiology, the premier journal in the field, has made its current issue (January 2013) available for free online this month. If you're curious about the scholarly discussion on missional leadership -- and we hope you will be -- check it out. In particular our own Terri Elton has an excellent piece on the intersection of missiology and youth ministry, and there are compelling pieces on narrative engagement, undergraduate perceptions of mission, and hip hop theology in relation

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Discerning gratitude

Discernment for missional leadership must never become a recipe, but living in gratitude has to be one of the ways in which we honor God. Here's a thoughtful reflection on gratitude from a resource somewhat on the margins of religious community -- and therefore all the more pointed. Read the whole piece, but here's a brief taste:

Spiritual practice is all about noticing and creating choices – about coaxing our minds and hearts out of their entrenched habits of anxious self-absorption. With

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Spiritual direction and missional leadership

Here's a very thoughtful reflection, written in the context of a spiritual direction training program, on spiritual direction as a form of missional ministry. A brief excerpt:

Spurning the attractional methods of much of contemporary American Christianity, the missional church is incarnational -- it seeks to be the hands and feet of God at work in the world. Frost and Hirsch say, "By incarnational we mean it does not create sanctified spaces into which unbelievers must come to encounter the gospel.

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How to be an un-welcoming congregation

[Author’s preface: In my travels I have visited many churches (mainly Lutheran) and have experienced both the best and the worst in terms of how congregations welcome or do not welcome outsiders. Some well-intentioned efforts go awry and can be counter-productive. Sometimes the effort is not even made to welcome newcomers. I have the impression that many congregations are not even aware of how unwelcoming they can be or how their behaviors can accomplish the opposite of what they intend.

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Being welcoming to young people

Here's a provocative piece that begins by reflecting on the Pew report we mentioned earlier, and then continues with a set of suggestions for changing church practice in welcoming young people. Among the suggestions, author Sam Davidson lists "get social," "marry everyone," "renovate," "new schedules" and "context as text." Check it out and tell us what you think!

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