The Once And Future Church

The Great Commission Society’s Mission Connectors team is about encouraging congregations and mission districts to make relational mission connections. The vision of the NALC that every congregation is in relationship with at least one local, one domestic, and one global mission partnership. Our team helps by preparing mission-focused resources and training, being available to coach leaders and teams, and by calling every mission district and mission region, at least once a year. The purpose of these calls is to pray with the leaders, to hear how the Holy Spirit is moving in their district, and to encourage them as they serve God’s kingdom.  

In our most recent calls, people have shared the joys and frustrations of being mission-driven during a global pandemic. We’ve rejoiced with people in their flexibility, innovation, and commitment to sharing the gospel. We prayed with them as they shared frustrations and struggles in discerning and trialing and adapting to what ministry and mission look like today.  

In response, we decided to pull an oldie but a goodie off our shelves and offer a book discussion on The Once and Future Church: Reinventing the Congregation for a New Mission Frontier by Loren B. Mead. The book examines the church’s growth and the evolution of mission and evangelism through different eras of the church’s life and role in society. It was written in the early ’90s with an eye towards the new millennium, and his forecasts were pretty spot on, but that’s not why we are reading it today. We are gathering now to read and discuss this book to step outside our present time and circumstances to be encouraged and find comfort, that even though systems, methodologies, and tools change, three things never change.

  1.  It’s not about us! God is the victor, working around us and through us.
  2. It’s not about the system or the building. Mission happens where two or three are gathered, and the story of God’s great love for His world is shared.
  3. We don’t do this alone. We may be sheltering-in-place or social distancing. We may feel isolated or alone. We might be questioning everything we do. We may even be questioning our usefulness and call, BUT we do not do this work on our ability, skill, or talents. We are called, gifted, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be God’s kingdom workers.  

The hope for this reading and discussion group is that it will bring you peace and excitement for mission and renew in you the big picture of the Holy Spirit working through all time and in all circumstances.  

Join us for a live, interactive, weekly discussion on Thursday’s, 11:30 am -1:00 pm (Eastern), from June 18-July 2. To join us and get the meeting link or for more information:

  • June 18- Chapter 1: “The Challenge of the Congregation” and Chapter 2: “Paradigms Lost”
  • June 25- Chapter 3: “Cracks in the System”
  • July 2- Chapter 4: “The Reinvention of the Church”
  • July 9- Chapter 5: “Principles and Strategies for Building the Future Church and Some Signs of Its Presence”, Chapter 6:  “Where in the World Is the Church Going”, and Appendix “The Free Church Variation on Christendom”

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