These are tough words from seasoned author and consultant Alan Roxburg of The Missional Network. He says it’s high time Christians realize that God is the one disrupting the settled assumptions of Christendom and pushing us to new, unpredictable places.
The good news is that God’s not done – and – God is working through the very people we least suspect: average, everyday church members who need detectives of divinity to discern. Let this interview shake you up.
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The fact that 80% of North American congregations are plateaued or declining should tell us a bit about our current practices: Alan Roxburgh says, it’s not working. In this interview Alan says forget about your church’s mission – what’s God’s mission? Here are my notes:
We’ve Forgotten How to Listen and Read
Alan says two big shortcomings most modern congregations face is that we don’t know how to (nor make time) to adequately listen to God or each other – and that we’ve lost the capacity to let Scripture speak to us.
Church Leaders: Get Out There!
The vast amount of North American clergy spend way too much time alone or inside the building. Alan instructs today’s seminarians to spend 20% of their time out and about in the community – not just pastoral calls – but seeking to hear God’s voice.
Become a Detective of Divinity
God famously does work through the unlikely and unexpected. Yet humanity constantly looks to the strong and able. Alan says the role of church leaders is to become detectives who notice God’s presence and respond accordingly.
About Alan Roxburgh
Alan Roxburgh is a pastor, teacher, writer and consultant with more than 30 years experience in church leadership, consulting and seminary education. Alan has pastored congregations in a small town, the suburbs, the re-development of a downtown urban church and the planting of other congregations. Alan teaches as an adjunct professor in seminaries in the USA, Australia and Europe. His books include: Reaching a New Generation, Leadership, Liminality and the Missionary Congregation, Crossing the Bridge: Leadership in a Time of Change, The Sky is Falling – Leaders Lost in Transition, The Missional Leader (co-authored with Fred Romanuk), Introducing the Missional Church, Missional Map Making and Missional: Joining God in the Neighborhood.
Through The Missional Network, Alan leads conferences, seminars and consultations with denominations, congregations and seminaries across North America, Asia, Europe, Australia and the UK. Alan consults with these groups in the areas of leadership for missional transformation and innovating missional change across denominational systems. Along with the team at TMN, he provides practical tools and resources for leaders of church systems and local congregations.
Books Alan Recommends
Migrations of the Holy: God, State, and the Political Meaning of the Church - William T Cavanaugh,
Evangelism after Christendom: The Theology and Practice of Christian Witness – Brian Stone
Transformation Theology: Church in the World - Oliver Davies, Paul D. Janz, and Clemens Sedmak