This volume is complete! It weighs in around 215 pages, and I am really happy with the work!
How does the text of the gospel take root in a post-Christendom culture? What sort of disciplines and imagination root a kingdom presence in Canadian neighbourhoods? How does this frame of “church plant” shift in our renewed awareness of the missio Dei?
This project tells the stories of eleven church planters, in nine Canadian cities. In part, it comprises a research project to discover what stories are really being written on the Canadian front lines. It anticipates a diverse contextualization of the gospel as we re-enter the neighbourhoods of towns and cities and urban centers. The stories and authors are these:
• Awaken – Scott Cripps, Calgary
• Breathe – Phil Harbridge, Vancouver
• Downtown Windsor Community Coop – Robert Cameron, Windsor
• Freedom Vineyard — Frank Emanuel, Ottawa
• King’s Bridge Community – Rob Scott, Calgary
• Lifebridge – Rob Laidlaw, Dartmouth
• Little Flowers Community – Jamie Arpin-Ricci, Winnipeg
• Metro Community – Laurence East, Kelowna
• St. Benedict’s Table – Jamie Howison, Winnipeg
• The Open Door – Kim Reid, Montreal
• The Story – Nathan Colquohoun, Sarnia
A second component of this project is reflection on the experience of breaking new ground from the perspective of the leadership challenge. Dan Steigerwald, NA Director for Christian Associates International, reflects on twelve challenges to mission in post-Christian cultures. Dan has planted churches in Europe and in the USA, and currently resides in Portland.
David Fitch, a pastor, church planter, and theology professor at Northern Seminary, reflects on the new missionary reality of church planting, where the gathering (attractional, Sunday-centric) frame is no longer at the center. David is particularly interested in the kind of people who can successfully initiate kingdom communities today.
A third component shines a light on the urban context itself. Sean Benesh was a church planter in Vancouver, BC as he worked on a dissertation examining the new urban realities in North America. He has observed recent shifts in church planting focus relating to gentrification and the rediscovery of vital community in urban cores. Sean reflects on the changing nature of the game in our urban centers.
Bob Roxburgh opens the book with some thoughts on current challenges in light of our reluctance to take risks. Then Scott Hagley of FORGE Canada closes the book with similar thoughts:
“While discovery requires both risk and re1lection, the post-?Christendom conversation has been dominated by shifts in language and frameworks. These shifts have been so successful that theologians and pastors across Canada use the language of post-Christendom. We largely understand ourselves as living in a new kind of era. But this acknowledgment remains incomplete on its own. Naming our location leads to another question: What does the life of the church look like in post-Christendom Canada? In response to this question, we need risk-takers and mystics, the pragmatists and those hungry for experience. Discovery requires real-world risk.”
Urban Loft Publishers will release the book in the next couple of weeks.