The Untaming

Learning to build missional community in secular France


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Review of “Family On Mission” by Mike Breen and Sally Breen

family on mission review breenAs I said in my last post, I recently read two new books by the 3DMovements team.  I have reviewed Oikonomics and now turn my attention to Family On Mission (which you can buy on Amazon here), written by Mike Breen and Sally Breen.

The book comes out of the couple’s experience of leading churches and watching other pastors try to juggle family live with their ministry and mission.  Their conclusion: Family or mission is an impossible choice. Family and mission is unsustainably exhausting. Family ON mission – moving as a pack, inviting people into our lives and living an integrated life – made things manageable, fun and fruitful.

Content

The book is trying to correct the tendency to put all the “bones” of missionary discipleship in place (missional communities, huddles, etc.) in place without the texture (“skin”) of family on mission, because one without the other doesn’t work.  I agree with this – we often focus on the structure because it seems simpler to figure out, to our loss.

The book covers why the idea of “(extended) family on mission” is so important:  because God as Trinity is a family on mission, because we were created to be, because Jesus created a family on mission as his approach, and because our culture is longing for this mix of intimacy and purpose.  The book unpacks all of this in quite some depth, with the highlight being a fascinating exploration of Jesus’s rejection by his own family and his constitution of a new family on mission with the disciples and women followers.

The second part of the book provides a framework for understanding how a Continue reading

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Review of Oikonomics by Mike Breen and Ben Sternke

Oikonomics book 3DMOver the weekend I devoured two new books from Mike Breen and 3DM, so thought I would capture my thoughts on them here.

The name Oikonomics is a play on the words oikos (extended family) and economics.  The overall theme of the book is that the call of discipleship involves making wise investments to grow commonwealth – wealth that can be shared around – and not just financial wealth at that.

Jesus talked a lot about investments that grew 20, 50, 100-fold.  The book recognises that God does seek human flourishing in every sense of the world: people enjoying intimate relationships with God and others, unencumbered by sickness, abounding in creativity and ideas, and with resources to hand.  It is not a ‘prosperity gospel’ theology – equating financial wealth with spiritual wealth – and the authors address the pitfalls of ‘prosperity gospel’ at some length.

Jesus had much to say about how to flourish in life, and the book identifies five sorts of ‘capitals’ (types of wealth) and a perspective on how Jesus assigns different relative values to each of them. The book argues that the most important capital is Continue reading


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Everyday Church by Tim Chester & Steve Timmis

Tim Chester and Steve Timmis have played an important part in our journey from being a home-group towards being a mission-centred gospel community.  Their Gospel-Centred Church study guide in particular resulted in us making that change.  Plus Steve put me in touch with one of his team who has provided great counsel and encouragement over the last year.

Everyday Church is a follow up to their earlier Total Church book, and its subtitle “mission by being good neighbours” resonates strongly with our desire as a gospel community. The book is written out of experience in the UK which is great as somebody working in Europe (a similar missional context than the USA) but the book is also relevant for US readers as the US church finds itself slipping out of the centre (er, center!) of American culture too.

Chester and Timmis go to considerable lengths to Continue reading


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“AND: the gathered and scattered church” by Halter & Smay

AND, by Halter & Smay

I found Hugh Halter and Matt Smay’s “The Tangible Kingdom” extremely inspiring and practical and it finally gave me the courage to move ahead with this idea of missional community.  So I was excited to see this new offering. Here are some thoughts – once again, more my personal take-aways than a proper review:

The book aims to bridge the gap between ‘attractional’ forms of church (they seem to be thinking about mega-churches in particular) and ‘incarnational/organic/simple’ church structures. Rather than it being an either/or choice, the authors argue that both aspects of gathered church and scattered church are essential to our mission and mandate.

Here are 5 particular areas I found helpful, followed by the one big awesome call the book makes… Continue reading


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Perspectives on “Exponential” by Dave & Jon Ferguson


Exponential, Dave & Jon Ferguson

On Saturday I opened up Exponential, by Dave & Jon Ferguson; and here on Wednesday I’ve read well over half of it.  I’m stopping now to pause and reflect because the book is really divided into two main sections and I am more concerned with the first half, which is around launching and building reproducing missional church movements. The second half of the book is about building multi-site churches and massive (probably international) movements: it will be great if one day I need advice in this area!  So this is half a review, really.  Actually, it’s more Continue reading