SUBTITLE: Participating in the mission of the triune God
SUMMARY: Churches are called to participate in the mission of the triune God of Jesus Christ. The churches are the human vessels that should not only carry the Gospel into the world but also embody it in their life together.
Sadly this is not always what we see when we look at real churches. Many churches over time came to live their own lives, serve their own lords and purposes and make their own rules.
In Missional Ecclesiology this divergence between the kingdom dream and what we often see in real churches is explored from different perspectives. Our experience – especially in the older mainline churches – has been that the way churches have structured themselves over the years often do not enable them for mission but rather impedes and complicates a turn to missional living.
In this book we listen again to what the New Testament says about the church. We look at the history of the church – trying to learn valuable lessons from the Early Church and the Reformation. We also look at the contemporary church – trying to understand the good and the bad. We look at factors like church orders and frozen conceptions of the offices that can – sometimes unintentionally – prevent churches from becoming more missional.
Our hope and prayer is that the chapters in this book will encourage readers to be more daring and creative in the ways we structure and embody the church to serve its mission.
Part I: Bible and history
1. God’s mission in the Old Testament: A brief survey
2. Reflections on New Testament ecclesiologies
3. The church in the New Testament
4. Ecclesiology, spirituality and the Early Church: Some perspectives for re-imagining ecclesiology today
5. Early Christian faith and the development of church structures
6. Luther’s ecclesiology: Where the Word is, there the church happens
7. Missional ecclesiology: What can we learn from John Calvin, the Reformer and pastor of Geneva?
8. A church that looks in the mirror? Remarks on missional ecclesiology in conversation with a sermon by John Calvin
Part II: Shapes of the church in the South African context
9. Three and a half centuries: The missional tradition in the Dutch Reformed Church
10. Being a church in Africa: The Assemblies of God
11. African Initiated Churches in South Africa: Giving expression to an embodied gospel
Part III: Ecclesial practises: Missional change as a work in progress
12. Rethinking and broadening our understanding of the offices of the church
13. A missional hermeneutic for the transformation of theological education in Africa
14. A framework for the development of missional capacities for ministry in the Dutch Reformed Church
15. Mission as breaking down walls, opening gates and empowering traders – from contextualisation to deep contextualisation
16. A missional re-imagination of the church as institution and decision-making practices
17. A research strategy for missional transformation
18. Leadership lessons learnt within the South African Partnership of Missional Churches
19. Beyond the boundaries of the known: cross-cultural experiences among a sample of pastors in the Dutch Reformed Church
20. Fresh Expressions in the Missional Movement in Southern Africa
21. We need more than only good congregations: about other forms of the church, their importance and their missional witness
Part IV: Reflections
22. A missional ecclesiology and our theological tradition
23. The way forward for missional ecclesiology
Appendix 1: Being church in a new time in Europe
Appendix 2: Ekklesia: An ecumenical and multicultural story
Appendix 3: Mainline South African churches engaging in the search for union: the story of the Church Unity Commission (CUC)
EDITORS: Coenie Burger, Frederick Marais and Pieter van der Walt
CONTRIBUTORS: Noted missional theologians such as Daniel O’Kennedy, Marius Nel, Lisel Joubert, Felix Meylahn, Robert Vosloo, Piet Meiring, Charles Peter Watt, Retief Müller, Nelus Niemandt, Gert Cordier, Gordon Crowther, Michael Moinagh, Bruce Theron and Peter Langerman are amongst the contributors.