Monday, September 22, 2014

Being Church Doing Life by Michael Moynagh

There are fresh expressions of faith in Britain, where the church is learning new ways to express the love of God and people. This rebirth of the church in shapes we have not seen before and the “un-churched” are getting involved.

Moynagh has written an excellent book describing this new approach to mission in the local church. Ordinary Christians are starting new communities that make disciples, and with the support of church leaders and congregations.

This is a great book for churches or individuals who want to make a difference in their community but don't know how. Moynagh has included over one hundred examples of missional and intentional communities serving a specific neighborhood or demographic. They meet in places and minister to people the traditional church does not reach. The community typically meets several times a month, joining the parent church one or two Sundays a month. The emphasis is on Christians ministering together, shoulder to shoulder.

He answers our question of why we'd want to start intentional communities, addressing any reservations we might have. Then he offers tools for developing them. He offers models of worship-first, relationship-first, and serving-first. He shows how local churches and denominations can encourage the communities and includes keys to success. He also gives ideas to help us get the ministries started and what to look out for. He includes suggestions on establishing leaders, finding funding, evaluating progress, and much more.

It's as easy as ABC:
       Ask another Christian (or more!)
       Begin jointly to serve people round you
       Create community with them
       Discuss stories about Jesus
       Explore following him together

I am impressed with these new ways of expressing our Christianity. Moynagh writes, “Communities are God's strategy for individuals to make a difference.” (34) The stories of people getting out of the church building and impacting their own neighborhoods are amazing.

This kind of ministry is something each of us can do. To stir our ministry possibility thinking, Moynagh suggests we answer these questions: Who am I? What do I know? Who do I know? Out of the answers to those questions will arise possibilities for ministering within our community. It could be a community centered around cuisine, music, or a myriad of other areas.

Moynagh has done a wonderful job in helping us know how to engage our neighborhood for Christ. He's provided suggestions, tools, encouragement, answers to questions – this book is a complete handbook on intentional communities. If you are ready to find an expression of your Christianity outside of the church sanctuary, read this book. If you are a pastor or church board member looking for ways to have your church impact your community, read this book.

You can watch an excellent and encouraging BBC TV interview with the author here.
You can read stories about intentional communities at www.freshexpressions.org.uk/stories/
Watch videos about fresh expressions at https://www.youtube.com/user/freshexpressions
To see what's happening on the U.S., go to www.freshexpressionsus.org/

The Reverend Dr. Michael Moynagh is based at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, where he conducts research for Fresh Expressions, UK. He has written or co-authored more than fifteen books.

Monarch Books (distributed in the U.S. by Kregel Books), 352 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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