Mission Shaped Church Online

Long have I waited for a resource of this calibre to be uploaded and freely available. Long has been my wait, because nothing short of a miracle can persuade the Church of England to release something freely without seeing the immediate benefit. But now that time has reached its fulness and the Men In Black Robes have officiated that this book come down . . . I mean go up . . on the web. Its called Mission-Shaped Church. It is the report that became a book that became a slogan that became a war-cry and has now entered its newest incarnation – a .PDF file for you to download.

Mission Shaped Church-1Actually – this was never a snobby ecclesiastic book. Ever. It was dreamed and moulded by the Most Groovy Rev. Graham Cray and the Church Army people at the Sheffield Centre, all of whom are very human and very grounded. The research is solid and the book tackles all kinds of relevant subjects. My two little points of disagreement are concerned with the impact of consumer culture and the sharp critique of alt. worship as not engaging in mission – but these are minor compared with the wealth of knowledge and advice in this little book that packs a wallop. The idea of “fresh expressions of church” found in this book has stuck in people’s minds and this is now another way of saying “emerging church.”

The good people at the Sheffield Centre invited me to speak last year (word out to Admiral George Lings, Commander Jolly-Bob Hopkins and Steve Hollinghurst). My talk was entitled “Like a Rhizome Cowboy: The Skinny on Emergence Principles for Network-Based Churches” and we were building on ideas from this book – Mission-Shaped Church. Which used to cost a tenner. But hey – now its free – so download the bloody thing [ooops . . . sorry George] and read it yourself. And if you like it, buy the book and show the Anglicans that giving their stuff away will profit them down the road.

HT: Jonny, who got it from Prodigal Kiwi and Darren

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Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • I’d love to hear more of your take on the consumer culture issue. Care to share?

  • Thanks Andrew! I start at your blog and it takes me a long time to get to the others on my list because I’m checking out every link you mention. I’m devouring the Mission-Shaped Church resources. Wow!

  • andrew says:

    not a big deal – but i have spoken to both Graham Cray and Pete Ward on this – that the emerging culture is strongly participartory and co-creation rather than consumerism is a dominant force.
    Pete told me that MOST of culture is influenced by consumerism – so maybe i am hanging out on the fringe
    and when I shared that with Graham Cray, i was wearing a brand name t-shirt so he may not have heard me.
    more of my thoughts on the post “i dont want to be branded”

  • Kevin Cawley says:

    Andrew– thanks a ton for the heads up on this one. I saw this book some time ago and have been almost ready to fork over the $ to have it shipped. What a great resource to have for free!

  • andrew says:

    you’re welcome kev.
    hey check out my rear vision mirror photo a few posts back. It looks like your blog header, except thats me driving the blue volvo and my friend derek chapman taking the photo

  • Kevin Cawley says:

    Saw it and loved it. That’s my wife taking mine.

  • Matybigfro says:

    That’s pretty cool about MSC
    It’s an amazing book and set of idea’s and such a permission giving document.
    The whole fresh expressions drive is really exciting especially when you see the Angl’s and Meths getting in on it together.
    I was at a lecture up in duram a few months ago with the guy who head’s up “Fresh Expressions” for the CofE running the day and was intressted in that he was quite quick to distance Fresh Expressions in the CofE from the emerging church and Emergant as a whole and he gave the impressions that he saw them as different and seperate idea’s/entities that sometimes overlapped.

  • andrew says:

    And yet the best examples of MSC in the book are “fresh expressions” like Grace, and other alt. worship churches that are behind the emergingchurch.info site run out of London
    there are some differences, however. steve collins writes of them here

  • Are Karlsen says:

    Amazing work from the Anglican Church. I think those historical churches have the needed inner security to work unbiased with such matters.
    Apropos page 122, financing: I have calculated the cost of a average corporate church per 100 members in Norway: Annual cost is €87.500, inclusive financial cost of housing. Housing investment per 100 members is €625.000. If you have 1 million member with the same cost structure, they will cost you €875 million a year, and you will have to invest €6250 millions in churches.
    Perhaps a simple church concept could be an interesting idea, after all. Then we could do something with the world poverty, not waiting for the G8 to act.

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