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Breaking the Missional Code: Your Church Can Become a Missionary in Your Community Hardcover – May 1, 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Academic (May 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805443592
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805443592
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Dr. Ed tetzer is the best missional thinker in North America. -- Mark Driscoll, authoer of The Radical Reformission

What an extremely exciting book this is! It's books like this which give me hope for the future church. -- Dan Kimball, author of The Emerging Church

About the Author

Ed Stetzer has planted churches in New York, Pennsylvania, and Georgia and transitioned declining churches in Indiana and Georgia. He has trained pastors and church planters on five continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Ed is a columnist for Outreach Magazine and Catalyst Monthly, serves on the advisory council of Sermon Central and Christianity Today's Building Church Leaders, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USAToday and CNN.

Ed is Visiting Professor of Research and Missiology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Visiting Research Professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and has taught at fifteen other colleges and seminaries.  He also serves on the Church Services Team at the International Mission Board.

Ed is currently interim teaching pastor of First Baptist Church of Hendersonville, TN.

Ed’s primary role is President of LifeWay Research and LifeWay’s Missiologist in Residence.

He has written the following books:

·    Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age (2003),
·   Perimeters of Light: Biblical Boundaries for the Emerging Church (w/ Elmer Towns, 2004),
·   Breaking the Missional Code (w/ David Putman, 2006),
·   Planting Missional Churches (2006),
·   Comeback Churches (with Mike Dodson, 2007),
·   11 Innovations in the Local Church (with Elmer Towns and Warren Bird, 2007), and
·   Compelled by Love: The Most Excellent Way to Missional Living (with Philip Nation)

David Putman is executive pastor at Mountain Lake Church, which is located just outside Atlanta, Georgia.

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Customer Reviews

I would read another book by these authors.
If you are looking for a book that will help your church connect with the unchurched or are a church planter looking for vision and guidance, then this is a must read!
Every church leader would benefit from reading this book.
Robert C. Rogers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Hal on May 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is about how we do church. More specifically, it is about the need to reinvent or change the church in order to make it more attractive and welcoming to the culture where it is planted.

The book contains some very challenging and helpful information for church planters/pastors/leaders and local church mission teams. For example, the authors begin with a helpful picture of the U.S. changing "glocal" (global/local reality) culture and practical steps to identify the unreached/unchurched people in their community. I also appreciate the emphasis on discipleship and the acknowledgement and warning that we an actually attract a crowd without having a church.

Every church should continually examine human imposed traditions and customs, which can cause a church to stagnate and die. The church must be willing to grow, adapt and try new things to stay healthy and effective. However, the book puts too much emphasis on style, technique and marketing know-how. The authors point to the many "successes" of other churches as a defense of the importance of being missional.

My concern is that while these successful churches have found a niche in their community and experienced growth, some grow as s a result of marketing rather than conversion. When we reinvent the church in order to attract the world, there is a tendency to eliminate or compromise the gospel, because it is divisive, offensive and even foolish to the world. Breaking the Missional Code touches on this fact but continues to advocate style and technique over the importance and power of the gospel itself. There is a great temptation for niche churches to offer another, more palatable, gospel in order to avoid offense.
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39 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Pastor Mark Driscoll on February 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Ed Stetzer is one of the most important Christians in the country thinking through the issues that arise when the gospel and a culture intersect. There is a great buzz lately about being holistic missional Christians engaging culture but very little insight on what that means or how that is achieved. This book is a very important and timely contribution, particulary for those Christian leaders in the emerging church conversation. This book combines the best of biblical thinking and practical insight to help you interpret your culture so that Jesus can be most effectively introduced to people. Most importantly, Ed is not simply giving prescriptions for reaching a culture but rather principles for reaching any culture with the mind of a professor and the heart of a church planter.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Marty Duren on August 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Combining studies on theology, ecclesiology and missiology with a vast array of quotes and insights, this book is a very important book for pastors attempting to transition churches from programmatic to missional or for planters seeking to learn the "code" of the culture where they are planting.

Stetzer and Putnam write, "A church that is incarnational is interested more in the harvest than in the barn."

"The answer is not to make all of our churches look alike. The answer is to have everyone seeking the same thing: to glorify God by being an indigenous expression of church life where they are."

"Over a decade ago, George Hunter began informing us that secular people had 'no Christian memory' and that the church no longer enjoyed a 'home court advantage.'"

"The key to breaking the code of a community is to have the heart of the Father for that community. The only way to do that is by spending serious amounts fo time with the one who loved Jerusalem deeply enough to weep over it."

This book could be described as a how-to manual to understand the people in each culture around a local church and developing a strategy to break those codes, since, using their memorable phrase, cultures in Opp, Alabama are different from those in Seattle, Washington. (I've been through Opp-definitely different.) This is a book that I wish I had had before we started our transition. It you are a pastor praying through the decision to transtion to reach your community, this book is perfect for your congregational leadership.

Other, important points include how the attempted by-the-book cross application of mega-church principles was doomed to fail on a large scale and a brief distinction of how emerging is not the same as missional and a 3 part breakdown of the former (Relevants, Reconstructionists and Revisionists).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Morine VINE VOICE on July 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Main Idea of the Text:
The book is a practical explanation of the missional agenda for reaching out into communities in the name of Christ.

Three Top Ideas of Greatest Benefit:
1. The explanation of the emerging church movement was superb. There is always debate on what the emerging movement actually is, but the author breaks down the movement into three parts. It was helpful to undertand that there are relevants, reconstructionists, and revisionists. The missional movement is not the emerging church movement, but it is one of the practices of an emerging church.
2. The information about the nature of Paul being missional was helpful in dealing with those who are tied to tradition. Paul operated with sensitivity to culture. He understood the Athenian position on reality and the underlying spiritual interests; he looked for positive points within their worldview and encouraged others to find true fulfillment in Christ. The statement, "the church must reflect its culture" in some ways is powerful for change.
3. The idea of starting small groups in the building for a temporary time with the plan of moving them to homes is a helpful idea. It may lead to less resistance and may make people more comfortable at first. Small groups can be scary, so introducing them in a safe environment before spreading out is wise.

Three Ideas of Major Disagreement:
1. It seems that the majority of missional material is advocating the planting of churches. This is a great idea, if it is done intentionally. In talking with one emergent movement congregation in Castle Rock, I found out their problem is that everyone wants to be a church planter.
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