Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Tangible Kingdom

I have found "The Tangible Kingdom" to be one of the best resources on living the Gospel life that I have ever read.  Overstated?  I dare you to decide for yourself.  It's a book as much about our own tranformation together as believers and followers of Jesus Christ as it is a book about the mission of God to extend his kingdom through his people.  And it's mostly through stories!

"So, Burly, if you were to suggest the best resources for helping communities of believers plant the Gospel, what would they be?"

Well, I'd probably recommend starting with "Total Church" as a foundational resource for that type of mission.  Then I might work through "The Gospel-Centred Church" with a small group of people.  Then if you (and the group) are "trackin'" with what you've read together, I'd move on to "The Tangible Kingdom."  After having read it independently (and others in your group have read it independently), I'd go through "The Tangible Kingdom Primer" in smaller groups, as the homework is heavy-duty (in a good way).  By the way, this suggestion (re: "The Tangible Kingdom" and the "... Primer" are not based on actually having done this).

Regarding "The Tangible Kingdom Primer," Hugh Halter (one of the authors) said the following over on Ed Stetzer's blog:

"The biggest thing you'll probably notice is that the 8 weeks feel like you're starting over with Jesus. Because we have so many stories of conversion, people often use it as evangelism training for small groups, but we actually wrote it as a spiritual formation exercise. We have found that what truly gets in the way of becoming a disciple is "individualism, consumerism, and materialism." Everyone says they would love to live missionally BUT, BUT, BUT and then we get a list of all the reasons we don't. In actuality, all the aforementioned 'isms' are rooted in sin and Galatians teaches that the ways of the flesh are in direct opposition to the ways of the spirit and you end up not doing what you want. We've learned therefore that you can preach missional living all you want and call people to be disciples, but it goes absolutely nowhere unless you create a spiritual formation pathway that actually challenges our self orientation. The Primer does this."

"Hey, Burly, who made you the expert on what I should read and do."

Why are you being so confrontational?  You know that I know what's best for you and everyone else ;o) ...

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