Welcome to the Missio Alliance Website

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Thanks for stopping by the new site. The functionality and scope of the site will surely grow over time in response to the needs and feedback of those journeying with us, but for now we’re focusing on three main things…

  1. Advancing thought, narratives, and discussion related to major issues facing the North American Church (Blog)
  2. Providing media resources that we believe can inform and shape leaders & communities for faithfully participating in God’s mission (Resources)
  3. Serving as a platform to create and communicate about future opportunities for leaders to gather for the purposes of networking, collaborating, and learning together (Gatherings)

About the Blog…

The blog will feature a mixture of original writing from leading voices, important articles that are cross-posted from other sources, and sporadic announcements and updates.

All of these posts will supplement the primary way in which we want to use the blog – hosting week-long conversations on topics across the areas of church, theology, culture, and leadership as they relate to the nature and shape of mission out of our North American context. Here’s how that will work.

Every Monday we will post the description and audio from one of the sessions that were recorded at our inaugural North American gathering, “The Future of the Gospel: Renewing Evangelical Imagination for Mission.” The download will be available for free all day on Monday and a conversation will be hosted for the following week. Our hope is that these conversations will spur on further thinking, help shape practice in local contexts, and perhaps even develop into further projects and resources.

About Resources…

Currently, we have a bank of resources that were created at our inaugural gathering. Moving forward, we plan to continue working with partners to develop various kinds of resources that both emerge from and seek to contribute to the work of theological practitioners. Hopefully it goes without saying that we will seek to maximize the accessibility of quality resources. At the same time, we believe that creating a community of people who find enough value in what we are doing together that they are willing to make modest financial contributions to the creation and dissemination of these resources is the most faithful way to steward our finances as well as create a mutually supportive fellowship.

About Gatherings…

We’ve received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback about our inaugural gathering! And many have asked for details on next year’s gathering. Our sense, however, is that hosting a North American gathering is probably going to be an every-other-year sort of affair. In-between, we’ll be looking to partner with churches, denominations, schools, and other groups to host smaller, regional gatherings. These types of gatherings can add a lot of value in terms of networking and provide a context for deeper listening and reflection on how broad issues are taking shape in specific contexts. We believe that giving serious amounts of relationship-oriented time and attention to God’s work in specific regions and expressions of the Church is the best way for us to determine what the substance of any future larger gatherings and other kinds of work ought to entail.

If you are new to Missio Alliance (hint: that’s pretty much everyone at this point ;)), head on over to the About page for some further information. If you have any questions, suggestions, or feedback, don’t hesitate to drop us a line using the Contact page.

Thanks for visiting and we hope you find this site to be a helpful “place” where you can engage in thoughtful dialogue, access helpful resources, and find opportunities to gather with missional sojourners across North America and in your context specifically!

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16 responses to “The Seven Indispensable Virtues of a Missional Leader

  1. Love #6.
    Many of us are longing for the day when the global church operates less via centralized, professional management – when faith community is distributed back into the hands of local laity working with effectively unpaid elders as their wisdom keepers. When, as Carley Fiorina says, our combined “vision is more compelling than our fear” we will understand what it means to be a global church – to be part of a Kingdom not made with hands – to mature in faith not by solidifying a static hierarchy, but by remaining ever-needy of deeper relationship, deeper questions, and more perfect unity with each other, and with Spirit.

  2. great job, dave. I love it.
    could you say more about “presence”. we use it a lot here at Life on the Vine as a conglomerate term for being at peace with oneself and others, for gentleness in speech, but also conviction and faith, particularly while preaching or speaking God’s word or other liturgical functions.

    would you say something like, “when you practice the presence of God then in every situation you will be present in the community”?

  3. It is a breath of fresh air to serve alongside of other church leaders who share these qualities. On the other side, it is both a painful and draining experience to serve alongside of those who are regarded as leaders (or who regard themselves at least) when they do not share these qualities…and in the worst case scenario, exhibit the opposite of these qualities.
    Grace and peace,


  4. David
    I have found that another indispensable virtue for leaders transitioning to missional thinking and acting is a teachable spirit–the opposite of what Paul warns against as “self-willed” in Titus 1:7. So much of leading the church to become “little Jesus’s” seems to involve changing our thinking as leaders, and then encouraging our people in that new (old?) way of looking at our calling. If our leaders are inflexible in their positions, past beliefs or living habits, there is little hope of learning to live missionally and modeling that for our congregations.

    By the way, a belated thanks for your seminar at the EFCA conference a number of years ago, and “The Great Giveaway.” They were the catalysts that began my missional journey. Blessings.

  5. Regis,Thanks for the encouragement. Geoff, that’s a suggestion to take this conversation further. I’ll try to do it tomorrow at our leadership think tank meeting tomorrow.
    Thanks to everyone for chiming in with the helpful stuff.

  6. […] -Back from his vacation from the land of milk & honey (wink), David Fitch returns to blogging with an excellent post called “The Seven Indispensable Virtues of a Missional Leader”. […]

  7. Good lessons. A couple additions (A and B) along with a pitfall (C):
    A) 1 Tim 4:16 “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

    Keep watch on yourself. (though you touched on this) i.e. “train yourself for godliness” and “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”

    B) 2 Tim 1:8-14; in short, “do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord,” “share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,” and “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from [Paul], in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

    This requires leaders to have theological steel in their spines; not to waver from the Truth of Jesus and the Word of God. Unapologetic boldness in proclamation of the message of Jesus the Messiah and the Gospel. Jesus, the One and Only Savior who brings people into relationship with the One and Only Father God. No other text, message, technique, or person can do this.

    Keep the Gospel the center. Always bring it back to Jesus.

    C) Leaders: Get rid of idols; especially the fear and exultation of man. The message we proclaim is not a popular message. The world killed Our King; let us not fool ourselves into thinking we will be welcomed in our (or other) culture(s) any differently. The message is foolish and controversial just by reading the text plainly. This coincides with B above. Not all contextualization is bad; but over-realized contextualization will erode the lesson of B. Always remember who and what our authority is in the end. It is not man and it is not culture. The First Commandment is no accident in being first.

    May grace flow –

  8. I have come to believe, based on the model of Ezra and Nehemiah, that church plants should begin with two leaders, a Scribe (Ezra) and a Builder (Nehemiah). I think this not only enables the ministry since, in my experience at least, both skill sets are seldom found in the same person. Further, such a team models the community, accountability, and support that needs to become a part of the DNA of the church.
    I also believe that a presupposition for all leadership (so well articulated in our post) is “laddership” (from John 1:51). There Jesus tells Nathanael that he will “see the heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” Leaders must first come to see and experience Jesus as the intersection of heaven and earth, the giver, and indeed, life itself! In other words, the first task of leadership is followership! And only to the degree that leaders are able to help their people see and experience Jesus in this way, are they truly leading. “Laddership” is the non-negotiable, participatory, experiential reality from and to which leadership flows and gains its efficacy. God bless!

    Lee Wyatt

  9. SO helpful, Dave. I’m wondering if you could elaborate on this comment: “leading missional communities requires something more, something different (although some of the entrepreneurial skills will no doubt be needed in the group).” Are these virtues additional requirements, or “changing the scorecard” (to borrow Reggie McNeal’s phrase) of pastoral leadership? I’m assuming the skills and competencies a pastor-leader needs will depend on the organizational form the church takes. Would you say that church forms that require competencies substantially above those listed here have failed to be missional? I suspect that there is a continuum the farther along which one goes in the direction of additional competencies, the less missional that church can become, by simple virtue of the fact that the farther in that direction we go, the more rare those leaders are.
    P.S. Amen to JR’s additions (although they are particular to pastors and not simply “leaders”).

  10. I love what you’ve said in #3 regarding presence. Humility also strikes a chord with me. First, regarding presence you mention no need to be recognized and a gentle spirit when being criticized. I feel like these are directly related to what you mention under humility regarding authority. It all goes together, and I think you are right on the money. We need leaders today who represent Christ not only in word and not only in deed, but in manner. We need people to be shocked when they come in contact with Christians not at how amazing their logic is or how smooth they are or how impressive they are, but at how humble they are. We ought to strive for gentleness and humility and the ability to take criticism with grace much more than we strive to become great speakers or leaders. I believe these sorts of qualities are what amazed people about Jesus, much more than any great talents he showed off (like raising people from the dead, which surely did amaze some people). Only when we as Christians, and especially when we as Christian leaders, are characterized by such “presence” and humility will others grant the authority you speak of. However, such authority should never be the end, but only the means by which to draw folks into Christ’s community.

  11. […] shaped in community by God for the world. I reject the many who suggest this means no leadership. This kind of leader however looks different than what we have become so accustomed to in the technique driven world of modern business. Looking […]

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