Thursday 22 January 2015

Journal of Missional Practice (Winter 2015)

The Winter 2015 edition – devoted to ‘Experiment and Innovation’ – has just been posted, containing (along with a book review and some stories) an editorial by Martin Robinson and Alan Roxburgh, and two main articles:

Martin Robinson and Alan Roxburgh
Editorial: Responding to the New West
Lesslie Newbigin’s sharp critique of western culture, offered in a relatively brief but incisively penetrating publication, The Other Side of 1984, came as a shock to many who read it for the first time in the middle of the 1980s. He seemed to encapsulate what many had been feeling but had been unable to articulate.

Paul Weston
Lesslie Newbigin – Looking Forward in Retrospect
Sixteen years after the death of missionary bishop Lesslie Newbigin, Paul Weston offers a retrospective of his contribution to missionary theology and assesses his continuing relevance for the church’s mission to Western culture. He backs the view that Newbigin’s work maintains a surprising and often prophetic edge for contemporary practice. After describing Newbigin’s abiding knack of putting into words the really important questions for contemporary mission, he goes on to outline three areas in Newbigin’s work which hold particular promise for the future. First, he explores Newbigin’s identification of the local Christian community as the source of an authentic gospel witness. Second, he analyses Newbigin’s contribution to a re-focusing of apologetics and their relocation in the narrative of the gospel itself. Finally, he assesses the on-going contribution of Newbigin’s contention that the gospel is ‘public truth’. He concludes that Newbigin’s approach to missional practice still has the power to critique and refocus our thinking, and continues to offer a ‘place to stand’ that is theologically coherent as well as culturally engaged.

Gurt S. Cordier and Cornelius JP. Niemandt
The Minister as Missional Leader
This article describes the journey of a congregational minister in his or her search for the essence of missional leadership. The journey led to a research project for a PhD at the University of Pretoria under supervision of Prof Nelus Niemandt. The research was done against the context of huge paradigm shifts within society and missiology, described by the WCC as a ‘changed landscape’, and within the context of the South-African Partnership of Missional Churches (SAPMC). The goal of the partnership is to equip congregational leaders with the capacities necessary for the journey of spiritual discernment and faith formation. The research recognised the changes within congregational partners of the SAPMC and explored the importance and role of the congregational minister towards the successful transformation of congregational culture. It went on to identify the core capacities needed for the role and these are described in part 2 of the article which will be published in Spring 2015.

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