Review: Multiplying Missional Leaders
We face some uncomfortable truths. Our churches in North America are busy. We’re pretty good at running programs and services. But there are problems:
- We’re not always sure we are making disciples, which is the core of our mission.
- We’ve adopted the world’s methods and measurements of success.
- We’ve raised up a generation of consumers and volunteers, but not a movement of disciples on mission.
These are uncomfortable truths. It isn’t enough, though, to point out what’s wrong with the Church or to state the obvious. We need to wrestle with what to do to return to our original calling and to make disciples, and multiply them into a movement who turn the world upside-down.
That’s why I’m grateful for Multiplying Missional Leaders
by Mike Breen. It comes at an opportune time for me as we plant a new church. I’ll admit that I approach books like this one with a healthy dose of skepticism. I’m weary of books that deconstruct the Church, only to offer unproven and jargon-filled recipes for transformation that come across like another program. Thankfully, this book isn’t like that.
Raising Missional Leaders is all about shaping and multiplying missional leaders. It’s not about managing the church better, or raising up more volunteers. It focuses on both leadership and discipleship, avoiding some of the mistakes of the organic and pragmatic wings of the church. It’s penetratingly accurate in its assessment of our current situation, and it’s insightful in describing what we can do to create groups of people who live on mission as Jesus did. It’s actually not that complicated. It’s costly, very costly, but relatively simple, and it’s what we’ve been called to do.
I do have a few reservations. First, I agree with Stan Fowler’s evaluation of the idea of five-fold ministry from Ephesians 4. It’s a good concept, but I’m not sure you can defend it from that text. This type of thing happens a few times in the text: Breen makes excellent points, but I’m not always sure they can be justified by the text he quotes. Second, even this book occasionally lapses into jargon, just not as much as comparable books of its kind. Third, I wouldn’t want anyone to just adopt the methodology in this book. This book is best used to stretch your thinking and to prompt you to work out its concepts in your context, rather than as a ready-made recipe to follow.
I’m convinced, though, that Multiplying Missional Leaders is on to something. We need to become missional leaders who multiply other missional leaders. That’s much better than running a church. I’m praying that God will use this book to cause us to think in new ways about our calling, and to lead churches and pastors to get back to the business of making disciples on mission for God’s glory.
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