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The Missionary Congregation, Leadership, and Liminality (Christian Mission & Modern Culture) Paperback – September 1, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-1563381904 ISBN-10: 1563381907 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Christian Mission & Modern Culture
  • Paperback: 71 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury T&T Clark; 1 edition (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563381907
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563381904
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #857,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


The Missionary Congregation/A Spacious Heart: "These two stimulating books in a new series on Christian Mission and Modern Culture help local congregational leaders examine modern/post-modern culture from a missional point of view; develop the theological agenda the church must address in order to recover its own integrity; and test fresh ideas related to the nature and mission of the Church as it engages people today. The volumes noted above are but two in a rich buffet. Some of our era’s most seminal missiologists are engaged in writing this series (now numbering close to ten 70-page studies—each one providing a concentrated, mind-expanding exercise for creative thinkers." —Congregations (Congregations: The Alban Journal)

About the Author

Alan J. Roxburgh is Senior Pastor of West Vancouver Baptist Church in British Columbia, an adjunct faculty member of Regent College in Vancouver, and author of the recently published Reaching a New Generation.

Customer Reviews

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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Mark R. Powell on August 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
Alan Roxburgh has written a small book (aprox. 67 pages), but it is the best use of paper and ink I have read in a long time. He sets forth a description of the double challenge facing the modern/postmodern and un-christendomed church, in clear, crisp and stark tones. Using a paradigm of "marginality," Roxburgh explains how that, within the matrix of modernity-modernization, the church was marginalized (pushed from the center) into a chaplain's role, but that with the onset of post-modernity (or hyper-modernity) the church now faces a culture that has been marginalized as well (now there is NO center). He calls this "double-whammy" facing us the experience of "liminality." This book offers a description of depth unlike the "five easy answers to ten difficult problems" approach we are usually given. It is a breath of reality we desperately need, a wake-up call to the complexity of the issues we face. But, by far, the most fruitful aspect to this work is his description of the pastoral leadership that the "missionary congregation" needs before the church will become a new community of faith. If you are a pastor, the images Roxburgh gives us here are deeply thought-provoking and as such they are an extremely helpful motif.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Darren Cronshaw on April 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
Alan Roxburgh, The Missionary Congregation, Leadership and Liminality (Harrisburg: Trinity, 1997)

Roxburgh has been a Baptist pastor and currently serves as a church consultant and adjunct lecturer for revitalising congregations for their missional context. In this book he argues congregations in the West need to learn to live the gospel from the margins rather than to expect public prominence. He examines Victor Turner's work on liminality, relating it to the church's experience of marginalization, and says liminality offers a model for missional engagement for our radically changing times. Rather than seeking credibility and identity as therapists, professionals or managers, he says today's missionary congregations needs pastors who are:

- poets who help the congregation hear their story as God's pilgrim people.
- prophets who imaginatively point to a vision of God's purposes in the world.
- apostles who lead through terrain where old maps no longer work and show congregations how to encounter culture with the gospel.

This is an academic but thoughtful booklet on the place of missionary congregations and their leaders.

Originally reviewed for D Cronshaw "The Emerging Church: Pioneering Leadership and Innovation Reading Guide", Zadok Paper (Forthcoming 2010).
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"...we are faithfully to indwell the gospel in a culture that has disembedded itself from that tradition."

In a handbook for doing mission that you can read through in very little time and that'll take several readings and considerable pondering to understand and appropriate, Pastor Alan Roxburgh explores Victor Turner's book-length essay on liminality, The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure, (Cornell University Press, 1969) as a framework to help us understand the historical, contemporary and maybe even future call of the church. The experience of liminality, of being on the threshold between old and new, neither back where we were nor yet where we think we're heading typically applies to ritualized liturgical rites of passages that dissolve and dis-embed aspects of an individual's or a group's old identity and are at least the beginning of incorporation into a new group or community along with a new status. For Christians, baptism is our primal liminal experience. As we enter the waters, should we be prepared to drown? Yes! And we should be equally prepared to be surprisingly raised from that death by drowning! And then there's also the desert...

Although Pastor Roxburgh insists "The church's lived experience is marginalization," then he says center-margin language is obsolete and also cites the contemporary Spirituality Smorgasbord. And then he says a possible center-periphery relationship may exist between urban and non-urban, though he claims the urban center itself has no margins. This is fascinating and highly thought-provoking and brings us back to the tendency to equate modernization with urbanization as it evokes Max Weber and rationalization, too. Pastor Roxburgh strikingly observes (page 38): "...
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By Basharat Masih on December 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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More About the Author

Alan J. Roxburgh is a teacher, trainer and consultant who works with Allelon and internationally framing resources for the missional church. He coordinates an international project involving leaders from twelve nations who are examining leadership formation in a globalized world. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including The Missional Church, The Missional Leader and Leadership, Liminality and the Missionary Congregation, and Reaching a New Generation. He and his wife Jane live in Vancouver, Canada, and have three grown children.