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Shaped By God's Heart: The Passion and Practices of Missional Churches 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0787971113
ISBN-10: 0787971111
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Shaped by God’s Heart is a stimulating contribution to the growing and increasingly diverse engagement in the vision of the missional church. Mifred Minatrea has drawn together insights from a remarkable spectrum of resources, which he synthesizes in strategies for missional transformation and which reward careful reading and provoke further exploration. His carefully thought-out proposals invite experimentation and innovation. This constructive work is encouraging to anyone concerned about the missional faithfulness of the Christian church in North America.”--Darrell L. Guder, Henry Winters Luce Professor of Missional and Ecumenical Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

“Milfred Minatrea is a pilgrim not a conquistador. His book is not a map drawn by someone who’s conquered the land. It is a compass with a true north, that points to survival in the secular wilderness where Christ himself is waiting on vitality to knock. Read and the compass is yours. Knock and the door will open. This book does not point the way to church growth. It calls the reader to honest pilgrimage—to find the way to meaningful faith. Milfred Minatrea knows that where meaning is married to hope, vitality is born.”--Calvin Miller, professor of divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

“Mifred Minatrea has distilled the essence of what it means to be a missional church. The insightful summarization and articulation of distinctive practices can be the launch pad for every courageous church leader who wants to bring Kingdom impact to their world both locally and globally.”--Carol Davis, executive director, Global Spectrum; and consultant to mission leaders around the world

“Milfred Minatrea is missional! This book will be invaluable to churches who want to join the missional journey in the twenty-first century.”--William Tinsley, WorldconneX; author, The Jesus Encounter

From the Inside Flap

Increasingly, today’s churches have become isolated from rather than engaged in the world. Many ministers and lay leaders–who have stable churches, good relationships with their congregations, and useful ministries–feel there is something vital missing.

Shaped by God’s Heart reveals that it’s not the church’s activity level that defines success but whether its activities accomplish God’s mission for His church. This book helps ministers and church leaders move beyond mere survival and maintenance toward a thriving missional mode for their congregations. Missional congregations become fully relevant to today’s society without losing what is distinctively Christian in their spiritual practices.

This important resource draws on an extensive two-year field study of two hundred churches from a variety of denominations and geographic regions. Milfred Minatrea–a missiologist, urban strategist, and practitioner in ministry–shows how these vibrant congregations are abandoning themselves to God’s purpose in mission and presents the best practices for reenergizing Christian spirituality in a congregational setting. Shaped by God’s Heart includes a Missional Practice Assessment tool to evaluate a congregation’s position on the continuum between maintenance and mission and to determine the actions that will move the congregation toward becoming a true missional community.

As Minatrea emphasizes, knowing God’s purpose and pursuing it with deep passion, is the first step in becoming missional. Minatrea outlines the nine common practices that characterize missional churches. In addition, each of the book’s chapters contain relevant exercises for reflection and application as well as resources for additional study.

Once transformed, missional churches have a profound effect on their members’ lives out in the world. Their influence results in new followers of Christ and the development of new communities of faith.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (August 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787971111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787971113
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Sumrall on November 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
One of the criticisms most often levied against the larger body of Missional Church writing (i.e. the GOCN series) is that the writers fail to give "concrete" examples of what a missional church "looks like." Minatrea has attempted to fill that void.

There are some legitimate problems with his effort. Nowhere does he explain his research methodology, so one must assume that his research was primarily personal interviews with pastors and church leaders. Neither does he explain the criteria used to identify the churches included in the research as "missional".

Some of his argumentation is convoluted. One example is when he asserts (I'm paraphrasing) that missional churches don't get bogged down in theological matters that distract from mission. Then, a few pages later in the same chapter, he argues that missional churches will have clearly defined doctrinal statements. One is left wondering, "Which is it?"

Also, in several places it seems as though he and his subjects are creating a straw man of sorts out of "traditional" churches. And the churches he most often cites as examples--Gracepoint (San Antonio), Ecclesia (Houston), Antioch (Waco, TX), and Mosaic (Los Angeles)--while diverse, are all at least loosely assocaited with evangelical Baptists. He tells us in the introduction that missioanl churches can be anywhere and in any denomination. So one wonders why he didn't find some to include in his book.

So it isn't a perfect effort. But...it DOES fill a void in the body of Missional Church literature. Beyond simply identifying nine commonalities of practice among missional churches, he leaves readers with the impression that their church can be both missional and faithful to its current local context at the same time.
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Format: Hardcover
Minatrea proposes to show us what missional churches look like. While his characteristics seem to be useful and would make a good sermon series or introduction to leadership class, he largely draws on 3 or 4 Baptist churches for examples, with an occasional nod to Adam Hamilton @ the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection and Brian McLaren and the emergent conversation.

Formatted in short chapters it is a useful starting place if you don't want to wade thru Guder's Missional Church
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There were some good and practical points in this work. I particularly thought his section on church membership was well done. Unfortunately he references many ministries such as Erwin McManus that I believe cast doubt on any creditability of this book. I would recommend this book only to very discerning Christians.
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Excellent book to challenge church leaders to lead their church to move from being mission oriented to being missional centered. Minatrea offers a great definition of a missional church and contrasts it with a church that is simply mission-minded. He shares nine practices of a missional church and then offers practical application points as well as an evaluation tool to use in your own church. I highly recommend this book for every church leader.
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Format: Hardcover
Purpose:

To define, describe and illustrate by examples what a missional church is and does along with encouraging us to be missional.

Content:

he author advocates for a church that is “reproducing community of authentic disciples, being equipped as missionaries sent by God, to live and proclaim His Kingdom in their world”. He declares that churches should be externally focused instead of internally focused and that success is defined by not by the number of activities a church sponsors but whether those activities “result in the accomplishing God’s mission for His Church”. He urges the reader to discover with him the passions and 9 distinct practices of missional churches./p>

Analysis:

This is an interesting read with much to encourage the reader. Take time to let the concepts sink into your thought patterns and discern for yourself what you can take away from this book to assist you in leading your church.

Application:

Who will benefit?

Pastors and those that follow him.

How will it benefit?

Realignment with biblical practices in fulfilling the Great Commission.

Where does it fit in the process?

Development of your foundational thinking for the purpose of church and the processes for carrying out that purpose.

Aha Thought:

Page 103, last paragraph entitled “They check that actions are based upon Purpose and the rest of that paragraph on page 104. “Strategy is allocation of current resources to tomorrow’s purpose. Action is incremental performance in fulfillment of strategy.
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The more I read about the missional church, the more I want to learn. This title is the latest in a string of several on the subject. Minatrea begins by describing the need for the missional church. He then lists nine practices of missional churches: they have a high threshold for membership, they are real, not really religious, they teach to obey rather than to know, they rewrite worship every week, they live apostolically, they expect to change the world, they order their actions according to their purpose, they measure growth by capacity to release, not retain, and they place kingdom concerns.

While the explanations of the nine practices of missional churches are useful, the best part for me was Part 3. The author in this section gives some very practical ways in which these new approaches to ministry can be incorporated. Overall, this book is superb!
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