The St. Andrew’s Hall Centre for Missional Leadership (CML)
After several years of faithful study, conversation and discernment, the Board of St. Andrew’s Hall has established the SAH Centre for Missional Leadership. The Centre for Missional Leadership (CML) will be a place for equipping leaders in worshipping communities that help form missionary disciples who can bless and mend God’s world. The CML endeavors to form Inspired and Inspiring Missional Leaders for Christ’s Church of tomorrow, today.
The structure of the Centre includes The Rev. Dr. Ross Lockhart as Director as well as The Rev. Dr. Darrell Guder as Senior Fellow in Residence. Dr. Guder will be on site several times throughout the year to teach courses and serve as “Missionary Architect” of the CML.
The CML will also include Senior Fellows drawn from across the country experienced in the theory and research of the Missional Church as well as Missionary Practitioners who are serving local worshipping communities and experimenting with mission and evangelism. In addition, the CML will provide the enhanced Master of Divinity program known as the St. Andrew’s Scholars programs to select candidates for Ordained Ministry as well as on going continuing education events for Teaching and Ruling Elders.
The CML takes seriously Craig Van Gelder’s claim that “The church participates in God’s mission in the world because it can do no other; it was created for this purpose….it is missionary by nature.” Therefore, the CML aims to be a place of research, teaching and practice that shares with the wider church its’ “petri dish ecclesiology” lessons in the years to come.
The Inaugural Centre for Missional Leadership at St. Andrew’s Hall is defining itself with a term that has only recently become widely used: "missional." The term was introduced into the North American conversation about the church and its future by a research project that was published in 1998. The project was carried out by a team of missiologists working under the sponsorship of "The Gospel and Our Culture Network" (GOCN). With funding provided by the Network, this team explored a question that was originally framed by Lesslie Newbigin and directed to the church in Britain. Beginning in the 1970's, he began to push the British churches to take very seriously the obvious secularization of British culture: it had become in a very short period of time "post-Christian." More and more people were facing the daunting insight that so-called "Christian societies" were now mission fields. How then, he asked, will churches shaped by the privileged position of western Christendom from Constantine onwards become again missionary churches?
The GOCN project focused that inquiry on North America. Given the rapid Paradigm shift to a post-Christendom context, what were the theological challenges and priorities that needed to be addressed in Canada and the USA, if the church were to go about its missionary mandate faithfully? The result of the inquiry was the book, Missional Church: A Theological Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America.
The project team chose the word "missional" to summarize its proposal. It did so precisely because the word did not have a clearly defined meaning, and thus it could be used to summarize the findings of the research group. The rationale for adding "al" to the end of the word mission can be summarized with these basic theses that continue to guide the "missional discussion":
* The apostolic mission portrayed in the New Testament was centered on the formation and equipping of witnessing communities.
* Their purpose and action was defined by their "sentness" in the service of Christ.
* Thus, "sentness" or "mission" defines every dimension of the church's life and practice.
* That fundamental focus upon mission has been diluted and distorted by centuries of partnership between church and culture (including the state); the abbreviated term to describe this complex process is "western Christendom."
* Now that Western Christendom is declining, if not over, the task Facing the church is to restore mission to the finding enter of its life and action.
* The "missional church" is then the church formed in response to God'smission, gathered and equipped by God's Spirit, and sent by the Triune Godto serve his healing purposes for all creation.
The Inaugural Centre for Missional Leadership represents the commitment to join this(now) global initiative. The tasks are fundamentally theological, and not merely strategic or programmatic. But at the heart of the commitment to the missional church is the concern for the formation of leadership that will take seriously the rigorous theological and biblical challenges which confront us today in our post-Christendom contexts.
Darrell L. Guder
Senior Fellow in Residence
Inaugural Centre for Missional Leadership
St. Andrews Hall, Vancouver, BC
Darrell Guder has recently retired as Princeton Theological Seminary’s Henry Winters Luce Professor of Missional and Ecumenical Theology. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Hamburg. As an ordained Presbyterian minister, he served as a student outreach pastor andas a faculty member of the Karlshohe College in the German Lutheran Church. His writing and teaching focus on the theology of the missional church, especially the theological implications of the paradigm shift to post-Christendom as the context for Christian mission in the West. One of his major research interests is reading Barth as a missional theologian He has served as secretary-treasurer of the American Society of Missiology (ASM) and was president of the ASM from 2007–2008. We are blessed and excited to have Darrell as our first Senior Fellow in Residence for the SAH Centre for Missional Leadership. Darrell will be with us in Vancouver three times a year to teach, advise and share his research on missional theology
My work has had several foci, held together by the desire to find Jesus in unexpected places. The task of reading the bible, of the faithful life, and of teaching and preaching, is to find Christ where we’ve been led to believe we cannot or should not. Because he’s there—bearing witness to his Lordship, transfiguring all creation by the power of the Spirit into the world God wants. I do this academically by studying figural exegesis of scripture, popularly by reviewing books and movies, homiletically by encouraging folks to preach beautifully in ways that connect to hearers and connect them with something bigger than themselves. I’m dazzled by the breadth and width and height of the church’s majesty, sinners though we all are. There is always more to learn and adore among God’s people and in God’s world.
I’m also fascinated by the overlaps between mainline and evangelical, between Catholic and Protestant, between the Abrahamic faiths and far beyond communities of faith. I’m convinced God is trying to mend what we have pulled apart and find this usually in places unanticipated by us. I’m fascinated by the overlaps here in my new home in BC: between Canada and the US, between Cascadia’s famed secularity and the wonderfully creative ministries I see here, between the mountain community I’ve come from in Appalachia and the mountain communities of BC. Our deepest longing is for God, whether we know it or not. I’m on the lookout to spot that longing being fulfilled, even just a little, and to tell others about it as beautifully as I can.
Books to Recommend (Newbigin is obvious, I’m trying for less obvious sources here).
Towers of Trebizond—I love Rose McCauley’s exposure of the pretence of triumphalist faith (an Anglican is convinced if she just teaching common-sense Anglicanism in the Middle East folks will convert en masse—all they’ve heard is intellectually backward Islam and Roman Catholicism). But the book shows even more convincingly that the real pretence is our sin: we can’t be the sort of people we want, even when we want correctly. Some of the best arguments for faith I’ve seen are in this book, as well as some of the best undoing of cultural superiority.
Christianity in the West 1400-1700 John Bossy. He shows convincingly the tacit assumptions of late medieval and early modern village Christian faith in the west. This is what all our Reformed forebears could assume and did not think they would have to argue for: Jesus and his disciples were all kin; faith makes us kin as well, the church is a big raucous ridiculous body that shares delight and misery.
Andrew Walls corpus. He has two big books of essays and countless other contributions elsewhere. He’s a patristics scholar from Scotland who went to work teaching in west Africa 60 years ago and discovered that his students weren’t interested in the early church. Because they are the early church. Christian faith historically dies in the middle and renews itself on the edges. So the best thing we can do is find an edge and build something. Walls points out in his home city of Edinburgh three of the four great downtown churches are now nightclubs. The fourth is now an African immigrant church trying to figure out how to reach out in mission in its city. That’s how God works.
Fleming Rutledge corpus. She has books of sermons on the OT, on Paul, on the intersection of the church in the world, all of which repay multiple readings. This in an age when publishers insist they don’t publish sermons (because people don’t buy them). Her combination of rhetorical grace and intellectual firepower are extraordinary. She preaches as if something is on the line.
Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion Father Greg Boyle has done extraordinary ministry among gang members in South Central LA for decades. Now there’s a book befitting the glory of his work. The Jesuits are always throwing themselves into mission, creating family in unlikely places. Here he’s thrown himself into letters and produced something exemplary.
Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony Will Willimon & Stanley Hauerwas A little dated now (30 years), but makes the argument well that the church’s work isn’t to take over the state (Christendom) nor to vanish in self-lacerating apology (much of liberalism) but to create an alternative culture within the broader culture, one that demonstrates the goodness of the gospel and gives the world something interesting in which not to believe.
I’m staggered by the work of Grandview Calvary Baptist Church here in Vancouver, which has responded to its neighborhood and the world with a series of entrepreneurial ministries, from Kinbrace that helps immigrants resettle in Canada to Co:here that is building affordable housing on church land that otherwise does little ministry. They’re also starting a non-profit to help other churches use their underused land for affordable housing. Pastor Tim Dickau says, “If you combined the Catholic spiritual tradition, a Reformed desire to transform institutions, and the Anabaptists’ presumption that we’re over against the rest of the world, you’d have a church!”
L’Arche in France and worldwide. Jean Vanier wisely says that the church once built hospitals and universities. Now we have plenty of these. What we need now is to show the world how to be family, to build houses of compassion and grace that rehumanize people otherwise reduced to their productivity and bodily needs.
Mepkin Abbey. This monastery of the Trappist order in South Carolina bears the legacy of Thomas Merton, with whom some of these monks lived in community when they were young. Merton once imagined that God may keep the world going just because of the 3 AM prayers of a few berobed monks in the wilderness of Kentucky. I found the same spiritual power among these monks on the coast of the Carolinas.
Rutba House. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove’s community in Durham NC is trying to demonstrate in its life together the life-changing fullness of the gospel. They serve local at-risk kids, they teach in the prisons, they agitate for social justice with Moral Mondays. They weave together the life of the mind, the spirit of prayer, and the street work of agitation for justice in beautiful ways. Most impressively, they got the death penalty stopped in North Carolina by proving to a judge that the gas chamber was re-presenting the passion of Jesus (last supper Thursday, death Friday at noon), and therefore was an unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state. Never say that a few people can’t change the world.
Embrace Church, The Gathering, Church of the Resurrection Downtown, Providence UMC, and Impact Church—5 United Methodist congregations that have planted in the past 10 years that have grown to 1000 or more attenders. One of their pastors (Matt Miofsky of The Gathering in St. Louis) and I are writing a book on these five to point to common patterns. Their paucity (just 5!) shows that for all the mainline’s fetishization of church growth, we don’t do it well often. Yet these five are vibrant places where people are finding faith for the first time, the poor are being fed, and cities are being transformed in places like Atlanta, Nashville, Kansas City, St. Louis and Sioux Falls SD. Surely there is something that can be studied here in the patterns, overlaps, and differences.
Churchforvancouver.ca. I love this website! It holds up a vision of church much bigger than our little fiefdoms, and whenever I learn of something interesting in our town I go there and find Flyn Ritchie has written about it years before. He has a love for social geography—for walking the city and learning the history of God’s people in that place. I love that sort of attention to the particular—it matches God’s love for the specific, the granular, for each hair of our head and each swallow that falls to the ground.
Andrew Stephens-Rennie is a missional catalyst who delights in pioneering responsive, contextual solutions to the challenge of being church in the 21st Century.
He holds a Master’s degree in Theology from Wycliffe College (University of Toronto) where his thesis focused on sustainable approaches to planting churches. During his time at Wycliffe, Andrew served as a student chaplain with Presbyterian Boarding Homes Ministries.
Following graduation, he took a couple of part time jobs with Rosedale Presbyterian Church and Bonar-Parkdale Presbyterian Church. He’s got a few stories to tell. Suffice it to say he usually felt underdressed in one community and overdressed in the other.
More recently, Andrew has served as a missioner to youth and young adults. He served regionally with the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa where he developed a new campus ministry called The Open Table in partnership with four denominations and 9 congregations, and nationally with the Anglican Church of Canada where he was the primary developer of Trailblazing, a theological formation resource for youth ministers.
Andrew currently serves Christ Church Cathedral Vancouver as Assistant to the Rector for Evangelism & Christian Formation where his primary role is to co-plant the new Sunday evening St. Brigids congregation with the Rev. Marnie Peterson.
Top Five Missional Books / Blogs
- To Live in Peace (Mark Gornik)
- Beyond Homelessness (Brian Walsh & Steven Bouma-Prediger)
- Shalom and the Community of Creation (Randy Woodley)
- Pastrix (Nadia Bolz-Weber)
- Searching for Sunday (Rachel Held Evans)
North American Communities with Encouraging Missional Practice
- St. Lydia’s (Brooklyn)
- House for All Sinners and Saints (Denver)
- Jeremiah Community (Toronto)
- Wine Before Breakfast (Toronto)
- Church of the Apostles (Seattle)
Roger L. Revell
Roger is a pastor with a Vancouver city-centre church plant, St Peters Fireside. Roger counts it as both a
privilege and challenge to be part of a missional endeavour in Vancouver, sometimes dubbed as Canada’s
first “post-Christian” city. Thinking outside the box, without dumping the box altogether, is essential!
St Peter’s launched nearly 3 years ago, with a unique vision. This vision is sometimes characterized as
“three-streams.” The three streams vision is linked with one of Roger’s heroes in the faith, Bishop Lesslie
Newbigin. Newbigin introduces the three-steams ethos in his book The Household of God.
As a three-streams church in the Anglican tradition, St Peter’s aims to embrace the Anglican heritage of
worship and ecclesiology, the Protestant/evangelical commitment to biblical authority, and an earnest
receptiveness to the on-going, palpable presence of the Holy Spirit in the church and world (1 Corinthians
12-14). The result is a parish that is simultaneously traditional and contemporary, liturgical and
spontaneous, Scripture-focused and Spirit-attentive, and committed to personal growth in grace &
holiness while yet outwardly engaged in sacrificial service to the city. Living in the three streams is not
always easy; there are tensions. Such tensions, however, are often redemptive and result in something
St Peter’s Fireside is connected to the Canadian church-planting movement, C2C. Additionally, it is
affiliated with the Redeemer City-to-City network, which plants and supports churches in urban centres
around the world. Roger has learned much from these groups and is delighted to share his gleanings
through connection with the St Andrews Centre for Missional Leadership. As a missional practitioner at
the centre, Roger is delighted to offer support and consultation—which are the result of failure as much as
success!—in a variety of areas:
- The value and appropriation of liturgy in non-traditional churches
- Building Christian community in individualist, atomized cultural settings
- Financial preparation for church-planing
- Biblical preaching in a late-modern, secular contexts
- Outreach and evangelism in a post-Christian context
- The use of social-media in missional presence