- 1. Have a Bible study on the Book of Acts. There are numerous resources that can be utilized. You might consider a chapter by chapter study of Acts or you might watch, The Odyssey of St. Paul with Dr. Paul L. Maier. As a follow-up to this video, you might watch, Christianity: The First Three Centuries with Dr. Paul Maier.
2. Provide copies of The Church Comes from All Nations: Luther Texts on Mission by Volker Stolle (translated by Klaus Detlev Schulz) and request the leaders read Luther’s comments as part of their daily devotions.
3. The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church by Reggie McNeal
In this provocative book, Reggie McNeal debunks old assumptions and provides an overall strategy to help church leaders move forward in an entirely different and much more effective way. In The Present Future, McNeal identifies the six most important realities that church leaders must address including: recapturing the spirit of Christianity and replacing “church growth” with a wider vision of kingdom growth; developing disciples instead of church members; fostering the rise of a new apostolic leadership; focusing on spiritual formation rather than church programs; and shift, from prediction and planning to preparation for the challenges in an uncertain world. McNeal contends that by changing the questions church leaders ask themselves about their congregations and their plans, they can frame the core issues and approach the future with new eyes, new purpose, and new ideas
4. Direct Hit by Paul Borden
Many congregations are declining due to an inward focus, and see their pastor as someone who should only minister to their needs. But pastors must anticipate a better future. Direct Hit offers hope to leaders of congregations that have lost their outward focus. By preparing for, and leading systemic change, pastors can bring new life into the culture of a congregation, guiding it to answer God’s call to reach people with the good news.
Direct Hit offers practical explanations for how to:
- Develop a vision and communicate a strategy for its implementation
- Motivate a congregation to embrace the vision of seeking and saving the lost
- Develop resources, ideas, and personnel to prepare for change
- Embrace and implement change
- Embed a new outreach “DNA” into the life of a congregation
5. Breaking the Missional Code by Ed Stetzer and David Putman
Across North America, many pastors are excited to see churches growing as they achieve their mission to connect the message of the gospel with the community at large. Still others are equally frustrated, following the exact same model for outreach but with lesser results. Indeed, just because a “missional breakthrough” occurs in one place doesn’t mean it will happen the same way elsewhere.
One size does not fit all, but there are cultural codes that must be broken for all churches to grow and remain effective in their specific mission context. Breaking the Missional Code provides expert insight on church culture and church vision casting, plus case studies of successful missional churches impacting their communities.
“We have to recognize there are cultural barriers (in addition to spiritual ones) that blind people from understanding the gospel,” the authors write. “Our task is to find the right way to break through those cultural barriers without removing the spiritual and theological ones.”