Top Ten Posts 2009: Merry Christmas and a Look Back at This Blog

Christmas comes, life gets busy, and there’s so much to be thankful for. My family, my church family, my Seminary, and the cazillion people I have had the pleasure to make friends. This blog has been a blessing – a place for me to articulate and dialogue about practical issues of ministry and theology. Thanks to all its readers. You contribute to my life and ministry. In looking back, as some bloggers do at the end of the year, I offer what I feel were the highlights of this past years posts. For new readers, maybe this will pull you in to the particular avenues of missional thought and practice this blog is a part of. For others, maybe it will sum up the key learnings I’ve been going through this past year. Or maybe this is just a bit awkward way to say thank-you.
Here’s what I view as the Top Ten highlight posts of the year.

1.) Neo-Reformed Versus Neo-Anabaptist Versus Pragmatic Missional: Decifering the Streams of the Missional Movement and Why I think the Missional NeoAnabaptist stream is most keenly positioned to minister in America’s New Post Christendom.

2.) Missiology precedes Ecclesiology or Missiology is Ecclesiology. I affirm the latter. I think the only way my beloved friend Alan Hirsch’s formula (missiology precedes ecclesiology and Christology precedes missiology) works is if you’re a mystic – i.e. you believe Jesus Christ comes to you directly through experience and personal cognition of the Bible. As opposed to this, I contend Jesus comes via his incarnation in the church through the sacraments (Catholic), the preaching of the Word (Reformed) and the community of the gifts (Anabaptist) all of which require the social space of the church out into the world. Read more in this post as to what that all might mean.

3.) Church Planting Assumptions of the Neo-Reformed. I think Reformed theology has its problems (I confess my sin!). And I think this manifests itself in attractional proclivities when it comes to church planting. To undertsand more of what I am getting at and see some interchange between me and Tim Keller, take a look at this post.

4.) How To Instill Missional Habits In Your Congregation: Just some suggestions from a post which is still gets a lot of hits on a daily basis.

5.) My Reservations With The Gospel Coalition: As if anyone needed more evidence that I think the Reformed impulse is ill timed to meet the post Christendom challenge of N American mission, here’s my observations and concerns about the Neo-Reformed powerhouse organization “The Gospel Coalition.” There are some of the smartest missional leaders I know in ths group. Thanks for pushing us Anabaptists. But can we have more dialogue somehow? Ay suggestions?

6.) The Seven Indispensible Virtues Of a Missional Leader: This post was well received even though it only got 13 or so comments.

7.) Miss California’s Guffaw About Gays and Lesbians and What We can Learn about Our Missional Witness: This post obviously got alot of attention – and it’s a little snippet of my book project coming out next year The End of Evangelicalism? Discerning a New Faithfulness for Mission.  I think this episode reveals much about the lack of an embodied witness to sexual redmeption in evangelicalism and what that does to the way we relate to gays and lesbians.

8.) From Bridge to Onramp: Here is a proposal for the rethinking of our approach to evangelism – from presenting people with a bridge to a transaction (a sterotype of the Bridge Illustration) to actually being (embodying) an onramp for people to enter God’s work of salavtion to amke all things right.

9.) If I just Preach a good sermon – People will Come: Another post in my ongoing attempts to rethink preaching for communal formation into Mission.

10.) Bi-vocational or go on staff at a mega church. Suddenly bi-vocationla doesn’t look so bad. This post tries to describe how bi-vocational ministry works in missional church and how it is a viable alternative to all young pastor candidates who can’t stomach going on staff at a large mega church. It got some conversation going.

Blessings on your Christmas celebrations, remembering and living into the incarnation, “God with us” – The incarnation of God begun in the person of Chirst and extended through His Spirit in the church until He comes. Thanks for all your comments, and e-mails and fellowship this past year. Blessings DF

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