“Missional” churches vs. the church’s mission

One of my former pastors, Rev. Lucas Woodford, has published a book entitled Great Commission, Great Confusion, or Great Confession?: The Mission of the Holy Christian Church.

It tells the tale of his attempt to be “missional,” buying into all of the church growth principles and techniques, until he discovered what the mission of the church really is.   Amazon reviews after the jump.

From Great Commission, Great Confusion, or Great Confession?: The Mission of the Holy Christian Church: Lucas V. Woodford: 9781610978774: Amazon.com: Books:

Just What is the Mission & Message of the Christian Church?

By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 10, 2012

Pastor Lucas Woodford shares his own journey as a young pastor trying to figure out this question. From an associate pastorate at a large Church Growth, mission oriented congregation to then being the Sr. Pastor at another congregation that is set on a path of becoming one, Pr. Woodford is led to discern through a careful search of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions to see things through different lenses.

Mission or message? Technology or vocation? Great Commission or Great Confession? These tensions eventually get resolved for him, his new congregation and he now shares them with us through this book.

This is a well done, well thought out work that will grab the reader with the passion this man of God has for the truth and for outreach!

To be read, digested and shared among the Body of Christ! Those outside Lutheran circles will benefit by what he shares from the Ancient, Ecumenical Creed.

Clear Vision for Mission

By Harold Senkbeil on June 17, 2013

Lucas Woodford’s book brings desperately needed clarity to the contemporary church. He argues that clearer confession leads to clearer mission. It’s an emphasis long overdue. In recent decades much ink has been spilled and countless cyber bytes of information have been generated charting a direction for mission, yet confusion abounds everywhere.

Desperation breeds innovation. When it dawns on churches that they are losing headway in terms of numerical growth, panic ensues. “We’ve got to do something,” they cry. “…here’s something; let’s do it!” In the name of contextualizing the gospel, it would appear, almost anything goes. Methods from the entertainment and sales industries have been widely adapted, adopted, and imported but to little or no avail. Statistically the church – especially in North America – seems to be in decline.

Pastor Woodford provides a bird’s eye view of contemporary cultural and theological trends. Better than that, he charts a course through the rough seas we face. He writes cogently, compellingly, and personally. He helps modernists come to grips with the postmodern (or post postmodern) world view. He helps evangelists grasp the importance of theological integrity, and he helps theologians see theology’s beating heart: the justification of the ungodly in the cross of Jesus Christ, the living Son of God. He explores the essence of the church’s liturgy and its impact on contemporary culture. He unpacks the Reformation insight on Christian vocation as it pertains to mission for both clergy and laity (“ministry” and “priesthood” in Lutheran parlance). He sheds light on the “missional” trends of our time and the complexity of the “emergent/emerging” church. He offers a faithful and profound analysis of Christ’s mission imperative found in Matthew 28 and explores its use and abuse in recent centuries. Though written from a Lutheran context, pastors and laity in other churches will benefit immensely from this book’s clear grasp of the context of mission in our tumultuous times.

In short, this book provides a corrective lens so we can see our way through contemporary cultural and theological confusion to engage an increasingly pagan world with insight, compassion and substance. With clearer vision comes more faithful mission, and Rev. Woodford should be commended for providing us with both!

 

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.


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