Long have I waited for a resource of this calibre to be uploaded and freely available. Long has been my wait, because nothing short of a miracle can persuade the Church of England to release something freely without seeing the immediate benefit. But now that time has reached its fulness and the Men In Black Robes have officiated that this book come down . . . I mean go up . . on the web. Its called Mission-Shaped Church. It is the report that became a book that became a slogan that became a war-cry and has now entered its newest incarnation - a .PDF file for you to download.
Actually - this was never a snobby ecclesiastic book. Ever. It was dreamed and moulded by the Most Groovy Rev. Graham Cray and the Church Army people at the Sheffield Centre, all of whom are very human and very grounded. The research is solid and the book tackles all kinds of relevant subjects. My two little points of disagreement are concerned with the impact of consumer culture and the sharp critique of alt. worship as not engaging in mission - but these are minor compared with the wealth of knowledge and advice in this little book that packs a wallop. The idea of "fresh expressions of church" found in this book has stuck in people's minds and this is now another way of saying "emerging church."
The good people at the Sheffield Centre invited me to speak last year (word out to Admiral George Lings, Commander Jolly-Bob Hopkins and Steve Hollinghurst). My talk was entitled "Like a Rhizome Cowboy: The Skinny on Emergence Principles for Network-Based Churches" and we were building on ideas from this book - Mission-Shaped Church. Which used to cost a tenner. But hey - now its free - so download the bloody thing [ooops . . . sorry George] and read it yourself. And if you like it, buy the book and show the Anglicans that giving their stuff away will profit them down the road.
HT: Jonny, who got it from Prodigal Kiwi and Darren
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