Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Book Review of Missional Spirituality by Roger Helland and Leonard Hjalmarson

Missional Spirituality: Embodying God's Love from the Inside Out
by Roger Helland and Leonard Hjalmarson
ISBN 978-0-8308-3807-3
IVP Books
Reviewed by Clint Walker

There have been hundreds of books written about the missional church movement. I might have at least a quarter of them in my personal library. This is because I think the one thing of central importance for churches is making the "missional turn" from attempting to attract people to their church to sending out their church members as missionaries and evangelist to "do church" outside the four walls of the local church. Too many churches put a heavy emphasis on gathering, but scatter with very little purpose.

At the same time, it is possible to be focused on being "evangelists", being "missional", and going out into one's community equipped to serve and reach them, and yet have very little spiritual depth as a congregation. The key as a church is to have spiritual depth, and yet at the same time have missional purpose and missional fervor. It is a challenge.

In Missional Spirituality Helland and Hjalmarson attempt to explain what a church with spiritual depth and missional energy might look like. At the beginning of the book, the authors attempt to identify the church within the world it exists in. Then, Helland and Hjalmarson strive to establish a theological foundation for a church that is externally focused. Following this, they seek to identify spiritual practices that equip believers to live their faith in the world, and to allow those believers to grow deeper and more united as a congregation. They base these practices on the Shema, or the Great Commandment. Every practice that they identify helps believers grow to love God and neighbor more powerfully and more holistically.

Missional Spirituality is both inspirational, and instructional. I was inspired page after page. And, I felt the teaching of the authors both comforted and challenged me as a Christian leader. This book just isn't a game changer, it is a life changer. I will return to it often.

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