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Creating a Missional Culture: Equipping the Church for the Sake of the World Paperback – August 5, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"Creating a Missional Culture is a worthwhile read that provides a gracious, yet prophetic corrective to individualistic, pastor-centric churches, moving the missional church forward." (Jonathan K. Dodson, Evangelical Missions Quarterly, April 2013)

"Creating a Missional Culture is about cultural analysis, leadership formation, congregational empowerment and missional engagement. JR Woodward blends head, heart and hands to reinvigorate the church. I highly recommend this book for those studying missiology, ministry and ecclesiology." (Amos Yong, J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology, Regent University School of Divinity)

"Many have written critiques about our consumerism, lack of discipleship, narcissism and theology, but few have given us a clear way forward. In this book, JR Woodward uses compelling theology, cultural insight, biblical wisdom and practical examples on how to shift from consumerism to mission and equip the people of God to reach their full redemptive potential. This is a real gift to the body of Christ." (Jon Tyson, pastor, Trinity Grace Church New York, author of Rumors of God)

"There is no mistaking that the missional thrust that JR Woodward unravels in his book has at its core a profound understanding of spirituality as the propellant for cultivating such culture in our ministry. While some erroneously insist on dichotomizing between missional and spiritual formation, JR makes a solid case for the necessary integration of the two. Indeed, authentic spirituality is missional through and through. JR's work accentuates this holistic approach to our distinct yet integrated calling as equippers: as an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher." (Wil Hernandez , Ph.D., director of the Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation and Leadership at Spring Arbor University (, author of Henri Nouwen and Spiritual Polarities: A Life in Tension)

"JR Woodward's fresh views about leadership and church culture and his practical guides and suggestions make this a relevant and important book for every congregation. The chapters on polycentric leadership alone are worth the price of the book. Creating a Missional Culture delivers exactly that―a provocative guide for the intentional, Spirit-led creation of a church culture where Christ is incarnated in the lives of individuals and communities." (Dr. MaryKate Morse, author of Making Room for Leadership)

"The church has encountered a serious gap in fulfilling its apostolic imagination. JR steps in as a visionary and provides a major breakthrough, showing us that the release of the missional church is dependent upon creating a missional culture. This book offers next steps for those of us who long to equip ordinary Christians for profoundly missional expressions of church. I wish I had written it!" (Linda Bergquist, church strategist, coauthor of Church Turned Inside Out: A Guide for Designers, Refiners, and Re-Aligners)

"I have been craving a book that would facilitate the reimagination of church culture, and it is finally here. This is a book I hope many will devour." (Dwight J. Friesen, associate professor of practical theology, The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology, author of Thy Kingdom Connected)

"A decade ago, Alan Hirsch and I explored the idea that the fivefold leadership matrix was essential to unleashing the missional church. Now JR Woodward goes further by detailing how this matrix of leadership fosters a learning, healing, welcoming, liberating and thriving missional culture. This book is beautifully written and well researched, and it gets at complex issues in a readable and accessible way. This book is a gift to the missional conversation." (Michael Frost, coauthor, The Shaping of Things to Come, and author, The Road to Missional)

"JR Woodward's remarkable book defies categorization. To 'create a missional culture' requires disciplined biblical and theological formation, discerning engagement with contemporary cultures, appreciative interaction with diverse resources, and the courage to experiment and to innovate. Woodward does all that and more in this book. The growing exploration of the theology and practice of the missional church is enriched by this volume. Its authority rests in the author's tested and validated experience as an equipper 'of the missional church for the sake of the world.'" (Darrell Guder, Winters Luce Professor of Missional and Ecumenical Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary, editor and coauthor of The Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America)

"JR Woodward reads widely, writes deftly and lives deeply. His book Creating a Missional Culture reflects all of that. Read it and explore what leading can be in the strange new worlds of mission in North America." (David Fitch, B.R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology, Northern Seminary, author of The End of Evangelicalism?)

"You are holding a hard-won treasure. This book is peppered with the kind of missiological insights that only an apostolically inclined leader can bring. JR Woodward has developed an excellent heuristic for leaders to actually make Ephesians 4 a living reality in the local churches." (from the foreword by Alan Hirsch, coauthor of The Shaping Things to Come, author of The Forgotten Ways and The Permanent Revolution)

About the Author

JR Woodward (MA, Fuller Theological Seminary) is a church planter, activist, missiologist and the national director for church planting with V3, a missional church planting movement. He is the author of Creating a Missional Culture and he desires to awaken people to join God in the renewal of all things. JR is founder of New Life Christian Fellowship (NLCF) and cofounder of Kairos LA, the Solis Foundation, Ecclesia Network and Missio Alliance. He serves locally with the District Church in Washington D.C. and is pursuing a PhD at the University of Manchester (UK). He loves to surf, travel, read, skateboard and meet new people. He enjoys photography and film and tries to attend the Sundance Film Festival whenever he can.

Alan Hirsch is the founding Director of Forge Mission Training Network. He is the co-founder of, an international forum for engaging with world transforming ideas. He leads Future Travelers, a learning journey applying missional-incarnational approaches to established churches and is an active participant in The Tribe of LA, a Jesus community among artists and creatives in Los Angeles. Known for his innovative approach to mission, Hirsch is a teacher and key mission strategist for churches across the western world. His popular book The Shaping of Things to Come (with Michael Frost) is widely considered to be a seminal text on mission. Alan's recent book The Forgotten Ways, has quickly become a key reference for missional thinking, particularly as it relates to movements. His book ReJesus is a radical restatement about the role that Jesus plays in defining missional movements. Untamed, his latest book (with his wife Debra) is about missional discipleship for a missional church. His experience in leadership includes leading a local church movement among the marginalized as well as heading up the Mission and Revitalization work of his denomination. Hirsch is an adjunct professor at Fuller Seminary and lectures frequently throughout Australia, Europe, and the U.S.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (August 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830836535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830836536
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

JR Woodward (aka dream awakener) awakens people to join God in the renewal of all things. He is the co-founder of the Ecclesia Network, the Missio Alliance and the Solis Foundation. He currently serves as the National Director of the V3 Church Planting movement (

He has a Masters of Arts in Global Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and is currently a PhD student at the University of Manchester (UK) on the topic how a theology of the powers shapes a leaders approach to power and structure for mission.

He loves to surf, travel, read, and have a glass of wine with old and new friends. He enjoys watching films as well as engaging in the art of photography. He recently moved from Hollywood, California to Washington DC where he serves with The District Church. You can learn more about him at (

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ty Grigg on July 31, 2012
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Woodward brings his understanding of culture and how it is formed together with his passion for the church to see her flourish and be sent out into God's mission.

He begins the book by laying a groundwork for how culture is formed. He says that every culture has six elements: language, artifacts, rituals, narratives, ethics, and institutions. Together, these elements form a "culture web" that shapes and forms those who belong to that culture. Then looking at Ephesians 4, Woodward sees the "equippers" - apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers - as God-given leaders who help cultivate a missional culture. They are cultural environmentalists that take give shape and space where the fruits of Christ can grow wild.

In the middle section Woodward spends a chapter on each of the five equippers with descriptive analysis of each equipper's concerns, passions, weaknesses, and effects. This section can be helpful for groups to hear and self-identify or for people in a small group to name what they see in others.

Woodward ties the culture-building piece with the equipper piece together with some concrete suggestions and models for churches. He uses the analogy of a player-coach to distinguish people who have a gift or orientation toward one of the five gifts and people who are called and affirmed by a faith community to equip others to live into their passion and gift. He names the latter as player-coaches - people who still are "in the game" and living out their gifting in the world and the church but who have moved into a season of life where they are spending more time "coaching" others.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Seth McBee on August 14, 2012
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JR Woodward has written a book that gets to the point and one that makes its point very well.

The point of this book is to move the church from merely an institution (although indeed it will stay an institution and that's a good thing), to a vibrant community of disciples making disciples.
The book is setup in three parts.

1. The Power of Culture
Here JR pushes the envelope to show the reader where our culture is going and how we, as the church, should not only engage in it, but create within it. JR navigates to show some of the major ways we are seeing our culture change through the "megashifts" that we are part of. As an example, how do we navigate as the church in the media shift from print and broadcast to the digital age? And so on. JR presents some compelling thoughts on how leadership must be structured, and how the church should be the foretaste of Jesus to our culture within these new megashifts, by going back to the Scriptures, not leaving them. This part 1 really gets your mind going and desiring to hear JR's conclusion. Exactly what Part 1 of a book should do.

2. A Leadership Imagination That Shapes Missional Culture
While JR gives you some overall examples of leadership that he believes will not only engage our culture, but also be Scripturally based, he now moves on to the specifics of the megashifts and how we must now look to engage this as the church. He shows how our leadership Structure is actually making a theological statement to the world (and each other) and how much we truly desire to engage the world. Not only that, but makes the case that we must change (or really go back to our roots found in Paul and Jesus) or we won't actually engage the world in the most compelling God glorifying ways.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Noahstepro on August 31, 2012
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It is rare that a book comes along offering such timely insight into the cultural and theological climate of our (American/Western) culture...JR Woodward brings such a generous offering. With ground level experience and 50,000 foot insight Woodward is able to not only analyze the current leadership malaise that is affecting our generational fallout in the church. As the Baby boomer baton is beginning to be passed, new forms of organizing and fresh expressions of leadership are organically emerging as the church rediscovers some core principles...Creating a Missional Culture is at the front of that wave. As a leader of a non-traditional church plant at Kairos Community in the Antelope Valley we have incorporated the principles in this book as core curriculum for our team. Understanding a plurality of leadership is absolutely essential for the church of the future...Don't buy a copy of this book, buy 5 or 10!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Terry on February 2, 2013
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I really enjoyed this book and am in fact rereading it; for anyone who is desriring to lead out in missions it is a must read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Darren Cronshaw on April 16, 2014
Format: Paperback
Creating a Missional Culture is a timely book on congregational culture and collaborative leadership. There is a growing dissatisfaction with hierarchical models of leadership that major on control, stunt the imagination, silence dissent and are slow to welcome new leaders. That is not just an unfair caricature. In my denominational tribe, the Baptist Union of Victoria, the National Church Life Survey shows us we are twice as slow as the national average to welcome newcomers as leaders until they have hung around five years, and we are less likely to appoint younger people as leaders! (See our forthcoming article at Moreover, for all our talk of teams, almost every church has a solo or senior pastor. Where is our experimentation with other models of leadership, or do we want to limit experimentation to worship styles? Polycentric leadership makes more sense than hierarchical leadership, especially in a networked digital age – let alone also postmodern and post-Christendom – when leaders function mutually through collaboration, maintain cohesion through relationship, and rotate leadership functions around a team. In my local context at AuburnLife, we are in exploring how to cooperate with what God is doing in our neighbourhood and how to best reimagine our staffing and leadership. We have things to learn from this book.

J R Woodward is a church planter who cofounded Kairos Los Angeles (he and a colleague were co-leaders who shared the load) and the Ecclesia Network (a relational network for missional churches to dream together and share resources). Woodward’s writing is far from merely theoretical possibilities – he has experimented with and trialled what he teaches.

The thesis of the book is that church culture is more important than strategies and plans.
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