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The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church Paperback – March 4, 2009
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From the Back Cover
Praise for P F
"The Present Future by Reggie McNeal is one of the most thought-provoking and ministry-stimulating books I have read in the past year. Subtitled Six Tough Questions for the Church, McNeal paints a vivid picture of the need for and emergence of missional congregations and apostolic leaders for the twenty-first century. His critique of the decline and baggage of the modern church is right on target and is very useful to pastors and leaders who are struggling with the idea that just doing the same thing better and harder will create a better ministry outcome."
"Christian leaders will find great questions being answered in this compelling and motivating work that unwraps what McNeal calls 'the realities of the present future' in the church today."
Kelvin Gardiner, district superintendent, Christian and Missionary Alliance.
"This book is a rare find in which McNeal lovingly challenges the church with a spirit of adventure and rediscovery."
The Rt. Rev. Charles Jenkins, Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana
About the Author
Reggie McNeal serves as the Missional Leadership Specialist for Leadership Network of Dallas, Texas. McNeal is the author of Missional Renaissance, A Work of Heart, and Practicing Greatness from Jossey-Bass.
Leadership Network fosters church innovation and growth through strategies, programs, tools, and resources consistent with their far-reaching mission. Contact Leadership Network at www.leadnet.org.
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In this book, McNeal looks at how the church has been inwardly focused and more like a “club” with a “club mentality”, seeking its own good and interests above the mission of reaching the unsaved and those who are “outside the club.” The local church has become something that is antiquated and far removed from its life giving vitality of mission and service toward dead ritualistic programs and facilities.
It has been said that the church is the only organization that exists for its non-members. McNeal asserts, in so many words, that this is no longer the case concerning the church in North America. We, the church, have become more inwardly focused and have done less and less for those who we should be reaching out to in selfless service, evangelism and discipleship. As the church, we must move away from the “country club” mindset and move back toward our mission—people.
The future of the church lies in the present. The old ways no longer work for a new generation with a differing culture and a diversity of need. Old models of ministry and church are ceasing to function and work as they once did. New methods of relationships and decentralization must be put into action. Disciples must be made and leadership must be developed and sent out.
The church is not something we go to, the church is who we are in the world. We must move from an attractional model of church buildings and programs, with the idea of “if we build it, they will come” and move toward being a people who integrate our faith into our work and into every area of our lives. We must be the church in “the present future.”
In The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church, Reggie McNeal addresses six serious topics, which include the following: The church culture, as we know it, is over; we must move from church growth models to kingdom growth thinking and initiative; a new reformation will begin once the church releases equipped people into the world for mission; spiritual formation and development must be at the heartbeat of the church; church leaders must move from planning to preparation so they will be equipped for every good work; and finally, church leaders need to be trained and equipped, not to do programing, but to do mission, and to be missional, as sent people into the world.
The Present Future is an excellent book for anyone in church and ministry leadership. This book is relevant in addressing real concerns with the current state of the church and is motivational and inspirational in addressing real issues with real solutions of mission and focus.
The book also reinforces that we are "the called out ones"... the Ekklesia in order to GO and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). We often miss the obey His commands in this verse. We must be obedient to rise up out of the comfort of our Assemblies and meet the other "Called Out Ones" where they're at in the world. Imagine when the final person receives the Gospel and our Lord return!! What a wonderful thought! Let's get mobilized Church!!
This is definitely not a "how to" book, but more of a mirror and evaluator. At the least, it's a gut check. At most, it'll change the way you see church as it has done for me.
This book presents some really tough questions, as implied by the title. However, it doesn't just present the questions, but posits some great potential answers to those questions. This is a great book about church growth and outreach. The contents are very well laid out, concise, and to the point. The author doesn't attempt to sugar coat anything, and gives some great, practical, and real-life examples and stories. It was a very easy book to read.
I have given this book a rating of 5 stars, based on the following:
- I have already suggested to others that they read this book.
- This is definitely a book that I will read and reference again and again.
- The book has some amazing content.
- The book is not extremely repetitive, things are clear and concisely stated, but not drilled into you via simple redundancy.
- The book has compelling examples from the author's life experience that shape the content of the book.