Helpful Books on Missional Communities

June 10, 2013 — 4 Comments

As you begin to explore the world of missional church and missional communities, you can encounter an overwhelming number of resources. I have spent a good deal of time reading through much of the literature available, and I thought it would be beneficial to provide some short commentary on many of the works available. I’ll cover a few different categories:

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Missional Communities

Missional community books spend most of their time locating the mission of the church into the context of smaller communities of faith (as opposed to the larger church corporate). All of these resources have contributed to my understanding of how Missional Communities work.

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Total Church by Steve Timmis and Tim Chester

Perhaps more than any book I have read, Total Church shaped my paradigm for an integrated approach to gospel-centered community on mission. Chapters 1, 2 and 3 are all incredibly thoughtful and helpful in thinking theologically about community, and reorienting life together around mission. Chapter 8 was also incredibly challenging on practically thinking through community as the primary context for counseling.

I would say this book is primarily theological and philosophical in nature, but it gives some great categories to think through, and it’s an accessible read for most people.

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The Tangible Kingdom by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay

The Tangible Kingdom is the discovery of missional community in story form. Hugh is a natural evangelist, and this book puts missional community into inspiring stories and a simple philosophy. This book and the TK Primer were particularly helpful in thinking through how to love those “across the street”.

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Missional Communities by Reggie McNeal

In this book, Reggie provides an introductory look into a handful of churches and movements who are leading the way in the practice of missional communities. I’m a little biased because he graciously included The Austin Stone in his survey, but this work is a good snapshot of some different streams of thinking and practice that are continuing to drive the conversation about missional community forward.

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Organic Church by Neil Cole

Although I don’t agree with everything that Neil wrote in this book, I will say that there are few written works that will challenge your convictions and practices like this one. Perhaps the single most challenging part of this book is considering the actual reproducibility of much of our church life. I personally was challenged to consider how to create simple, reproducible and transferrable practices for missional communities that could be applied in a wide variety of contexts.

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If you were to read the books above, you’d have a pretty good introduction into the missional conversation specifically as it applies to missional community. I’d also strongly suggest you check out resources at Verge Network, as they aggregate a bunch of great content around the subject!

Todd Engstrom

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Although I was raised in the church and had a knowledge of God, I didn’t embrace Jesus until I heard gospel preached and lived out by some Young Life leaders. God has proven faithful and good to me since that day, even in great suffering and loss. I have learned to treasure Romans 8:28 as a wellspring of hope and truth. God has blessed me with an amazing wife (Olivia), three sons (Micah, Hudson and Owen) and a daughter (Emmaline). Growing up in the northwest, the thought never crossed my mind that I would have four children who are native Texans. Despite landing in the south, I still watch Notre Dame games with my children every Saturday in hopes they will land at my alma mater.

4 responses to Helpful Books on Missional Communities

  1. Todd,

    This is a very helpful list. I’ve read Total Church and could not agree with you more. But I still need to read through the other books on your list. The TK Primer is first. Furthermore, I would add Everyday Church by Chester and Timmis to this list, too. Thanks for serving us through your blog. A lot of helpful material.

    Jeremy

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