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When the Members Are the Missionaries: An Extraordinary Calling for Ordinary People [Paperback]

by A. Wayne Schwab
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1, 2002 0971755205 978-0971755208 1
Help to turn the church right side up! Put the daily lives of the members back on top. Extend your vision of "mission" to the members bringing love and justice in deed and word to each of their daily arenas -- their homes, their work, their local communities, the wider world, their leisure, and their church. Fifteen ordinary people tell how mission transforms one of their daily arenas with the power of God's love and justice working in and through them. Then see how congregations can organize themselves to help their members to live this way.

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Editorial Reviews


"A clear map for clergy to take the Sunday experience into the rest of the week. No one is forgotten!" -- Mary Martin, Pastor of an Urban Congregation

"Challenges our previous misconceptions and offers a way ahead. A change strategy for the mission and ministry of all believers." -- Sheryl Kujawa, Seminary Director of Congregational Studies Stgregational Development Member

"Real-life case studies and a broad interpretation of mission work elevate this book." -- The Living Church, October 6, 2002

"Schwab has an evangelizing heart. The book reflects this experience and passion." -- Robert Hofstad, Bishop

"Wayne calls us to heal the world and to nourish each other along the way. Valuable for clergy and laity." -- Mary Ann Brody, a Junior High Teacher

Clergy and lay leaders developing a heart and mind for mission in a congregation should make this book "must reading." -- Sewanee Theological Review, Easter, 2005

Schwab has an evangelizing heart. The book reflects this experience and passion. -- Robert Hofstad, Bishop

The church's work is supporting members as they discover their callings in the "mission fields" of daily life. -- The Record, Diocese of Michigan, April, 2005

This accessible volume can be read by both clergy and laity as an introduction to revitalizing the congregation. -- Review of Religious Research, March 2003

This book helps members to connect what they say and hear during Sunday worship with the rest of their week. --Episcopal Life, February 2003

From the Publisher

No one goes as far as Schwab does. All other books about the church and its mission leave the members inside the "walls" in some way. This book starts with them out there in their daily lives and stays there with them.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Member Mission Press; 1 edition (July 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971755205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971755208
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,861,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All Christians on Mission March 4, 2003
The emphasis of this book on all Christians as "missionaries" with a mission in life is very important, and the stories help bring home that reality and opportunity for others. I particularly appreciated the stress on the manner in which congregations can help nurture and strengthen Christians for their "offices" - for their "daily arenas" of missionary activities.
Frederick H. Borsch, Interim Dean of the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale and Retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Missionaries: A Calling September 3, 2002
By the telling of fifteen personal stories of people attempting to participate in God's mission of bringing justice, peace, and compassion into the world Wayne Schwab has challenged Christians to ask the question: "Why am I doing what I am doing in my daily, Monday to Monday, everyday life?" The book summons Christ's followers to have faith that the God of compassion, revealed in Jesus, is today bringing healing and loving justice to a hurting and often brutal world, and that God's mission will be eventually realized because the forces of evil were unable to conquer the Spirit of God alive in Jesus. The author summons Christians to participation with God in this mission of justice and compassionate action. He offers a very pregnant thought: The Church doesn't have a mission; the Mission has a Church.
Wayne Schwab is asking the question: Is God's mission to pluck individual souls of this world of prevalent evil, or is it God's mission to enlist his Church in the resistance of evil by participation in the victory of Jesus who remained faithful in all life's circumstances, and who continues today in the mission of this world's redemption? Schwab would maintain the latter is the Biblical witness.
Schwab acknowledges the cost of the mission. Evil is a reality. Fear of evil will either lead to greater selfishness, individualism, materialism, and eventual self-destruction; or finding spiritual strength through the Church (Biblical Word, Sacramental nourishment, mutual sharing and support) Christ's followers can stand against evil and be in mission with the God of healing, love and compassion in their "everyday" lives.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Affirming Lay Vocation February 20, 2003
We hear a lot these days about Lay Ministry from commissions and task forces that never seem to go anywhere. Schwab turns the focus to the missionary role of every church member. Our goal should not be just more members to pad the rolls but more missionaries to affect change in the world. "Grow the mission, not the church," says the author. The approach promises revolutionary and apostolic changes in the way we celebrate both lay and ordained vocation. Alleluia!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to inspire anyone... May 13, 2003
I found Wayne Schwab's book to be one of thoughtful inspiration. Too often we assume it's the clergy's 'job' to set us on the right path in living a godly life -- yet Schwab shows us how that responsibility is ours. His tone is conversational and informative, and his book is peppered with lots of personal stories, so you can really relate to what he's saying on a visceral level. A much needed book for our times!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Each Lay Person a Missionary September 22, 2002
...The basic work of the Christian Church is not done by the clergy but by the laity. Each Christian layperson is a missionary in his and her daily life and work. The Christian presidents and CEOs of the major corporations of the United States are missionaries. Perhaps if they saw their work life as missionaries rather than work life, there would be far less greed and corruption.
Schwab recounts stories of lay people on mission in their daily lives. George, a letter carrier, speaks up about work conditions at his branch. Bonnie is on mission as she and her husband develop their family camping as a community of love and caring. Gloria is a missionary as she teaches math to children and adults whose math skills are stunted by their cultural conditioning.
This book is to inspire clergy and lay people to see they are already on mission in their daily life and work. Following Jesus Christ is the simple yet costly call to a deepened and active Christian life. It is a call to a life of meaning, purpose and power.
The book is divided into two parts. The first is to inspire people to see they are already missionaries by telling the stories of fifteen missionaries. The second part is to assist in organizing a parish around Schwab?s vision of the work of the church. I wish I had this book before I retired as a parish rector. It would have been invaluable to Trinity, San Francisco in doing God?s work in the city. Practical steps in changing worship patterns to involve lay people more, developing preaching styles and discovering ways of training leaders are offered.
My main criticism is the use of the word missionary. Schwab knows it has the evil connotation of patronizing and patriarchal conversion of people that are poor, marginalized and people in the third world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Challenge to Structures and Methodologies January 24, 2003
I am always dismayed when church bulletins declare every member to be a minister when nothing is being done to offer training and support for what they are already doing. This book is about the way ordinary Christians live Monday to Saturday and it is long overdue. It shifts the focus from congregational maintenance in which churches struggle to survive while maintaining all the institutional trappings. It moves us from the seductive power of numbers towards vibrant mission in the daily arenas in which we laity find ourselves. It sounds a call to grow the mission and not the church. While providing a glimpse into the daily lives of fifteen ordinary people, Schwab grounds his missiology by demonstrating how mission transforms life as the power of God's love and justice works through them. The second part of the book takes the form of a manual to reorganize a congregation to support its members as missionaries, and describes what such a church would look like when the daily missions of its members come before maintenance of the status quo.
The call to match our private spirituality with a public spirituality is long overdue and goes hand in hand with a call to move from a relationship with God and the church based upon submission, to one of partnership with God in mission. If I'm treated like a sheep by the church, I'll act like a sheep. Conversely, when mission becomes central, the laity become central. This book offers a way for churches to stop ignoring the way members live. Those called to be clergy in the institutional church are seen as support for those who go out of the church doors each Sunday to their own mission arenas, where they work to transform the world through love and justice and seek to make Christ known.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Renewing Christ's Presence in the World
Any book that promises to help believers to live faithfully needs to do three things. First, it needs to provide precepts broad enough to be adaptable and clear enough that they... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Charles A. Peek
5.0 out of 5 stars "Mission: Not Impossible"
All of us probably believe that Jesus is as concerned about what we do Monday through Saturday as he is about what we do on Sunday. Read more
Published on April 29, 2010 by Bruce Laverman
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Approach for Finding New Meaning in Daily Life
Religious activities are a means to the ends of experiencing a more meaningful life. But this is often not the case. Read more
Published on March 2, 2005 by Phyllis T. Strupp
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lay Person's Dream!!
Most lay and clergy in my experience do not have my dream of our functions in Christ's world: Christ's people doing His work in the world with the church as support and... Read more
Published on April 12, 2003 by Dr. Donna Cosulich
5.0 out of 5 stars When the Members are the Missionaries
As an Episcopal clergyperson who has worked for Total Ministry for three decades, I applaud this book for introducing a paradigm change in the ongoing discussion. Read more
Published on February 20, 2003 by James L. Gill
5.0 out of 5 stars Equipping the Mission Centers ..... to send forth........
Christendom is dead.

Are we moving into a post-Christian age or a pre-Christian age? Can we recapture the excitement of living on the mission frontier? Read more
Published on October 18, 2002 by Bob Wyatt
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