The latest in the very good 'Mission Shaped' series from Church House is based on a national speakers tour in 2007, and adds some theological meat to the quite pragmatic other books in the series.
Here's some blurb from Start the Week
Mission-shaped Questions tackles some of the common queries and myths about fresh expressions of church head-on and argues that embracing a mixed-economy church is not the preserve of a certain type of churchmanship or something that should be seen as a ‘bolt-on’ to ‘normal church’.
Edited by Dr Steven Croft, the Archbishops’ Missioner and Team Leader of Fresh Expressions, Mission-shaped Questions explores some of the key issues facing churches as they seek to develop new ways of ‘being and doing church’ for the twenty-first century, in a society that is becoming increasingly mobile, less socially cohesive, and has a weaker understanding of the Christian faith than older generations.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has welcomed the book’s insights, commenting: “If we are to grow and mature as a mixed economy Church, there are hard questions to be asked and answered. We need first-class thinking to back up and support all that is happening at local level. I hope this collection will get the attention it richly deserves.”
The collection of essays by respected thinkers in the field addresses some of the big theological and practical issues that church leaders have grappled with as they have implemented ideas from the Mission-shaped Church report. It follows a series of day conferences held during 2007 across the country, sponsored by Fresh Expressions, called ‘Hard Questions’. These events featured theologians discussing key subjects, followed by questions to the speakers and a panel discussion with practitioners and church leaders. The book includes contributions on issues such as the definition of church, sacramental ministry in fresh expressions, the evidence for the existence of fresh expressions in the New Testament, and how a mixed-economy Church can connect with contemporary spirituality.
You can order the book from here , and the 15 chapter contents list is here.
For information, the other books in the series are
Mission Shaped Church (the original report, link takes you to the full text)
Mission Shaped Children Margaret Withers
Mission Shaped Parish Paul Bayes
Mission Shaped and Rural Sally Gaze
Mission Shaped Youth Various authors
Mission Shaped Spirituality Susan Hope.
Church Army papers and presentations on Mission Shaped Church
Other related books (this is turning into a 21st Century mission reading list...)
Hope for the Church & The Road to Growth Bob Jackson (this link gives you places to buy the book, and a presentation applying his findings to the local church, in this case Solihull Deanery. If it can work there......)
The Future of the Parish System Steve Croft (ed)
Evangelism in a Spiritual Age various authors.
Or if you're in the Yeovil area and are good at returning books, you're welcome to borrow them from me...