Mar 082012

Being missional is the topic du jour in the mainstream American church, and there’s no sign of the momentum slowing down. Last week in Austin, Texas, I participated at the Verge Conference 2012 with ~ 2,500+ others in attendance to get invigorated about missional communities + missional churches + being missional, and even getting our “faces melted off” (quoting the emcee’s words verbatim.) What’s stuck with me (on this go around) is how being missional intersects with other circles of Christian efforts: cross-cultural missions, urban ministry, social justice, discipleship, organic church, and more. Missional has moved from being a hot buzz word to being more about an activistic kind of lifestyle.

The annual Verge Conference is just one of many efforts from Verge Network to constantly resource the church at large, in America and all over the world, to be more about living as followers of Christ and serving people at their obvious point of need as a genuine and sincere act of love and service (not so much about the business aspects of running & leading church as an organization, where many other resources in America are readily available.) Stay connected to the Verge Network year round, because they’re always at work in gathering and sharing resources, at times even every day.

Get all the recorded talks (plus bonus content) from Verge 2012 for just $49 before Saturday 3/10. Rich and insightful messages you’ll want to digest and discuss with your group of like-minded zealous Christ-followers.

Nov 012011

Thanks to Stew, I’m happy to be a part of the social media convo’s around Verge 2012, the ultimate missional church conference on February 28 – March 2, 2012 @ Austin Texas. Group registration discounts end on November 30th, rates are awesome for groups of 6 or more, even more awesome for groups of 30 or more. Bring the whole missional community before seats sell out.

So refreshing to see fresh faces and compelling voices on the platform– Rudy Carrasco, Tom Lin, Felicity Dale, Leonce Crump, Kim Hammond. Names that are more recognized will be there too: Dave Ferguson, Alan Hirsch, Dave Gibbons, Matt Carter, Darrin PatrickDavid Platt, Hugh Halter, Neil Cole, John Perkinsstay tuned for more here and at Verge Network – where they’re doing a tremendous job with new content daily.

Nov 172010

There’s been lots of buzz about the missional church, some have described it as: a movement, a description of a “shift in thinking”, small networks, or more than 50 ways to define missional; with the word’s origin traced as far back as 1883. And here’s a video, The Missional Church… simple, describing what missional church is:

With many definitions, there are also growing numbers of networks with missional church resources and hubs of conversations. Here’s a list of missional church networks I’ve found (in no particular order):

Verge Network ~ “advocate and champion movements of Missional Communities”; could be described as a network of networks [Michael ‘Stew’ Stewart = Verge Network Catalyst]

The Gospel and Our Culture ~ “A network to provide useful research regarding the encounter between the gospel and our culture, and to encourage local action for transformation in the life and witness of the church.” One of the earliest proponents for the term, notably via the Lesslie Newbigin book, Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America.

Ecclesia Network ~ “a relational network of churches, leaders and movements that seek to equip, partner and multiply missional churches and movements”

TransFORM ~ a missional community formation network ~ Friends of Missional [via Rick Meigs]

Missional Church Center [via Milfred Minatrea]

Allelon ~ “a movement of missional leaders”

Roxburgh Missional Network

Missional Learning Commons

Missional Church Network [via Brad Brisco]

Missional Church Network [via Timothy Conner] ~ “inspiring gospel-centered missional churches” [via Jonathan McIntosh] ~ resources & blog by Tim Birdwell, Jonathan Dodson, et al

GCM Collective ~ “to promote, create and equip Gospel Communities on Mission” ~ “online and relational environment for engaging and developing missional leaders” [via NAMB of the SBC]

Missional Lutherans

Together in Mission ~ “to encourage the planting of missional communities” [in the UK]

Some names of thought leaders in the missional church conversation: Alan Hirsch, Reggie McNeal, Alan Roxburgh, Michael Frost, Neil Cole, Hugh Halter, David Fitch, Scot McKnight . . .

And, one more thing. See JR Woodward’s A Primer on Today’s Missional Church for the biggest list of missional networks, links, articles, and resources I could find.

May 102010

Jesus Christ was certainly a man of prayer, the ultimate prayer warrior. The text in James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” In John 17:20-23, Jesus prays that all who believe in Christ will “be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me…” Is this an unanswered prayer? Was it ineffective? If effective, what does unity look like?

In a new book by John Armstrong, Your Church is Too Small: Why Unity in Christ’s Mission Is Vital to the Future of the Church, the author meticulously walks through the Scriptures and church history to show what church unity has looked like. He wrestles with the more recent efforts at church unity among ecumenicals, and then among Catholics and Evangelicals. Armstrong’s concludes with his proposal for a vision of church unity best described as “missional-ecumenism.”

What is missional-ecumenism? There’s a whole chapter in the book that describes what this is. (I wasn’t able to find a concise definition over a web search, and I didn’t want to type paragraphs from the book.) One reviewer noted that: [B]y “missional-ecumenism,” the author means that believers should have relational unity with God and one another, including unity in our mission as God’s “sent ones.” The author described that A missional-ecumenist will focus on sharing in the unity of the Trinity with other believers with the intention that the church really becomes a community for outsiders. We exist for them!

A blog tour in March 2010 had kicked off over 75 blog posts about “Your Church is Too Small,” many with thoughtful reflection and critique of the book’s subject.

In a day and age where our society is buckling under a scarcity of time (cf. attention economy) I don’t see the momentum of the American church moving towards slowing down to build into the relational equity needed for unity around God’s mission for the world. Unfortunately, there are too many pressing concerns of sustaining the organizational side of a local church and the watching over doctrinal & theological purity. As beautiful as Jesus and John’s vision may be for unity of the church, it would take more than prayer to see this come to pass.

Feb 022010

2,000+ church leaders will converge in Austin this week at the sold-out VERGE missional church conference. Neil Cole describes Verge as “first of its kind in the missional church field.”

I’ll be there with the Verge Social Media Team, providing live coverage via various social media channels, and the team members’ websites + blogs + networks will host on-going conversations in a distributed fashion after the event.

The Verge team blog will link to all the latest — including announcement of the live video feed of main sessions. Live twitter tweets on twubs (below) + use official hashtag #verge10 + follow @djchuang247 for my live tweets.
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Nov 142009

Missional communities are the conversations du jour among church leaders, escalating during the past few years. Now there are gatherings (conferences) that revolve around how we can be more missional. (Several local and regional gatherings have already happened, though I haven’t been counting.)
A regional (free) unconference about missional churches is happening this weekend called Verge LA. I’ll be there most of today. Definitely want to hear Kevin Doi, currently scheduled at 1:45pm, and you can watch via livestream at And, I’ll get to meet in person, JR Woodward, host of the unconference. (cf. my interview with Kevin Doi)

But wait, there’s more!

A national gathering is ramping up in Austin, called VERGE: Missional Community Conference.

Listen to my interview with Michael Stewart (one of the Verge organizers at the Austin Stone Community Church) about this national Verge.

I’m putting together a social media team for the Verge in Austin, those who will host online conversations around becoming & being missional communities, both before and during the Verge conference. Start those conversations via blog, Twitter, Facebook, podcast, Youtube, etc. Verge wants to empower and release conversations both online and on-site. Undoubtedly, (our hope is) the convos will continue even after the Austin gathering. Want to be a part of this social media team? Add a comment, especially if you’d like to win a free registration. One spot left.

And one more thing. I’ll be there, at both Verge‘s — would love to meetup with you on-site there!

Jul 142008

Helen Lee is working on a Leadership Journal article about the changes that have occurred in pastors’ mindsets about the Gospel and mission. She’s looking to hear from pastors who are gung-ho about transforming their churches (under 200 in size) to become more missional (and/or emergent), but finding it more difficult to do than they had expected/hoped.

Would you be a pastor or know a pastor that’s willing to share your story? You may add a comment here, or contact Helen Lee directly by email [[email protected]]. Helen will be happy to keep any and all comments anonymous, if so desired.

Mar 262008

It is indeed a rare occasion to get Eugene Cho and Gideon Tsang in the same room, and this recent Asian American Leadership Conference pulled it off. Both of them are being the church in a new way within their local context, often asking the question: “What would it look like…” That workshop was titled:

“Emerging Into Mission: The Substance And Over Hype Of The Emerging Church” What is an appropriate response to the emergent buzz over the last decade? Join us, with the context of your city and community, in a conversation on emergence and mission. (Eugene Cho, Quest Church/Q Cafe, Seattle, WA and Gideon Tsang, Vox Veniae, Austin, TX)

I caught the last hour of the 3-hour extended workshop (which supposedly was entirely recorded in whole by the event organizers, if the technologies don’t glitch, they’ll get it online by next week or so)

I turned on my digital recorder, which sat in the front row, so it’s not production-quality acoustic. I was surprised LT Tom didn’t turn on his webcam, as he’s been known to do.

You can eavesdrop like a digital fly on the wall, and hear what they said in the raw:

What questions would you ask Eugene and/or Gid? The conversation continues, right here, online.