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If you saw a missional church, what would it look like? What patterns of behavior and practice would you find there?
Building on the ground laid by the book Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America (Darrell Guder et al. 1998), Treasure in Clay Jars centers on case studies of nine missional congregations from across North America that are diverse in their denominational affiliations, worship styles, political stances, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The book explores eight concrete "patterns" common to these churches. Although the patterns may be different in each setting, they can be recognized in any congregation seeking to participate in God's mission in the world.
The team that authored this book believes that "missional" says something not so much about the activities of the church as its character: "The church does not exist for itself, but for participation in God's mission of reconciliation. . . . Mission is the character of the church in whatever context it exists." The congregations studied here are "clay jars," but each carries in its witness a remarkable treasure that points to God's power and purposes.
Lois Y. Barrett
Darrell L. Guder
Walter C. Hobbs
George R. Hunsberger
Linford L. Stutzman
Jeff Van Kooten
Dale A. Ziemer
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Lois Y. Barrett is director of the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary - Great Plains Extension, in North Newton, Kansas.Review:
"Treasure in Clay Jars is a godsend for those who contend that the church is called to a distinctive way of life that runs counter to the dominant trends of modern — and now postmodern — culture. In a manner that is both theologically sound and generally accessible, the authors examine nine local congregations that embody distinctive patterns of faithfulness to the redemptive mission of God in the world. When people ask me 'Just where is this church you're always talking about?' I can now respond by handing them this book."
Wilbert R. Shenk
"Treasure in Clay Jars is a bracing combination of vigorous theology and firsthand observation of what is happening at the front line. One frequently hears the plaint that books about the church and mission are too heady and make little contact with what goes on at the local level. The backbone of this work is case studies of congregations, ranging from Holy Ghost Full Gospel Baptist Church to Transfiguration Roman Catholic Parish in Brooklyn, alive to their calling to be the people of God in the world. Rather than suggesting that these churches furnish us with ideal models, this book emphasizes eight missional practices that characterize the local church committed to God's mission.Treasure in Clay Jars is a worthy sequel to Missional Church."
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