I recently had a chance to ask Philip Nation and Ed Stetzer some questions about their new book Compelled by Love . Philip is a church planter in the Atlanta area. Ed is an author, professor, and missiologist. You can find out more about the book at compelledbylove.com .This is the first book I’ve seen that ties missional living to love. We tend to focus on how to live missionally, but you’re taking us to why. Do you sense that the biggest factor keeping us from missional living is motivation?Ed: I don’t know if it is the "biggest" factor, but it is one of the more significant factors. It seems like many of the missional books are theoretical and philosophical. Most ministry books are "how to" books. We through the time was right for a book about the heart of ministry, but to build it around a missional theme.How is this book different from what is currently being given to church leaders through conferences and the surrounding literature?Ed: I have the privilege of being around a lot of the leaders who are speaking and writing and I would not want to say anything negative about their ministries. Compelled by Love is meant to add another dimension to what is being said and written concerning Christian living. Hopefully, it is a tool that a leader can use to take what they hear at a church planting or missional conference and translate to the average Christian in their church.
Someone has recently said the word missional is a "sad case of word abuse." What does it mean to be missional? How can we make sure it’s more than a buzzword that doesn’t change anything?Ed: I can’t disagree. I have seen missional slapped on every program and resource imaginable.I try to have a charitable view of who can be missional. I think that all kinds of churches can, and should, seek to be more faithful in their expression of mission and ministry.How do we keep it from being a buzzword? By instilling it with biblical meaning. If people are using a new word, they do so because they are looking for something different. That impulse can and should be harnessed. But, the vision we need to instill is one of "love on a mission," not just new programs with a new word slapped on the cover.Ed, in your research, what are the more important qualities or characteristics that should be revived in our churches for both leaders and laity?I would put in a few steps:a. People need a new view of God and his mission.b. They need to be shaped by that view—a discipleship of life, not just knowledge.c. Then they need to live that out.Philip, a lot of pastors get pulled into spending all their time focused on the church. How have you managed to make time for missional living among people who don’t go to your church?Philip: First, I have told my church to expect it. They know that I will not be there to pray over their aunt’s ingrown toenail. They know I’ll be having lunch with a neighbor who does not know Christ. The best way I can teach my church to live missionally is to live missionally. But, I also ask them for ways to take me with them to live missionally. Helping them to see their own mission field frees me up to personally on mine.Is this book a break from traditional ministry, contemporary ministry, etc.? In other words, is this a new paradigm for ministry?Ed: Hopefully not. The book centers itself on one of the oldest revelations: that God loves us and desires to redeem people and creation. With that being the central theme, we are not advocating style or music genre or central ministry program. Simply put, it is a call back to God’s people being a missionary people no matter where they happen to live.What would you say to someone who reads this book and wants to become more missional, but isn’t part of a missional church?Philip: Simply begin with your own life and let God bring fruitfulness to your efforts. As he uses your life, arm-twisting and committee meetings at their congregations will not be necessary.Ed: But I would also add, do not be hesitant to openly talk about your desire to see neighbors reached and Christians grow in their faith. Do what we all know is necessary in all ministry: contextualize your message, but in this case, do so to the church. Present the need for a missional mindset that is respectful and understandable to the people in the church you love.How can we begin again if we see that our lives are not "compelled by love?"Philip: Repentance cannot be avoided. If you have left your "first love," then confess it and be as ready to move on as God is ready for you to move on. As you find yourself frustrated by your neighbor, remember that love is primarily a choice of the will and not an emotion. Make your choice to see people with an eternal lens and God will have set you in the middle of his mission.Thanks, Philip and Ed.More from Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | CompelledbyLove.com