Changing the Scorecard: A Brief Review of Missional Renaissance

Posted: March 14, 2013 in Book Review, Church Growth, Church Planting, Leadership, missional, Missions
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McNeal, Reggie. Missional Renaissance. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 2009. 224 pp.

Contrary to what you might assume from the title, Missional Renaissance is not a ground-breaking book about missional church theory. McNeal did that already in his 2003 book The Present Future

This book focuses on three shifts that need to take place, both in theory and in practice, for a church to become “missional.” I took McNeal’s “Missional Leadership” class at Columbia International University, and Missional Renaissance served as the core curriculum, so we had a chance to dialogue about these shifts, and the accompanying scorecards. In a future blog post or two, I’ll share some reflections from that class.

The three shifts are:

From an internal to an external focus.

From developing programs to developing people

From church-based leadership to kingdom-based leadership.

My three top thoughts from this book:

  1. The missional church is the people of God partnering with God in His redemptive mission in the world. (24) This is a good definition – simple and easy to remember. This isn’t a paradigm shift for our ministry in Poland, but, it does show the overall shift in thinking for the church. We can use this definition to assess all we do.
  2. This is very broad – but the whole idea of changing the scorecard. What gets rewarded, gets done. Making a shift in what counts and is counted (in brief, p. 68 – but all through the book) Each chapter about one of the shifts in thinking is followed by a “scorecard” chapter, showing how we can practically apply the shift in thinking.

For me, this was the biggest value of this book. The missional theory wasn’t ground-breaking. It was fairly simple – and I don’t think the author meant it to be otherwise. The practical elements of the scorecard, however, were exactly what most of us need. We accept theory, but then hit upon the barrier of: “how do I do that?” The scorecard had a number of ways to apply missional theory, and even more important, to assess what we are doing. I think the scorecard ideas even translate well into our strategic planning in missions, and it would be great if the board and senior leadership of our mission agency read this book. We count baptisms, church plants, leaders trained, etc. – not bad, but I think we could be counting other things that equally reflect the heart of God. I also loaned this book to my U.S. pastor – who is leading a missional church, but is always looking for ways to move forward.

3. Putting prayer at the beginning of nearly every scorecard – but best of all, listing concrete ways to count prayer. That doesn’t sound radical – but it is. Finally, we have a means of counting – and rewarding – prayer.

We all give lip service to prayer. Most of us in leadership pray – quite a bit, even. But we struggle to understand how to make prayer a major part of our corporate life. I really appreciated the practical ways implement prayer, and the ways to assess if prayer is a significant part of the community of faith. I will be using a number of these to encourage prayer, but also keep track of the place of prayer in our community life.

You can get a copy of Missional Renaissance here.

Comments
  1. […] Much of what he said in class can be found in his book Missional Renaissance, which I reviewed here. […]

  2. […] gives a better way to evaluate if we are accomplishing what we set out to do. Dr. McNeal’s book Missional Renaissance is full of many other such examples, but in reality we need to do the work of developing our own […]

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