Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Top Ten Books: Missional Formation

Graham Old’s comment stung. Thanks Graham. The list on spiritual formation was slanted too one-sidedly toward individualism, and so I want to add a second list to balance it out. This one focuses on formation as a communal and missional endeavor. Community formation shapes individual formation.

I’m cheating here with some numbers with more than one book.

1. R. Sider, Good News and Good Works and Churches that Make a Difference and Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger
2. J. Wallis, Faith Works
3. D. Guder, Missional Church
4. S. Hauerwas, from Peaceable Kingdom to A Better Hope
5. J.H. Yoder, The Politics of Jesus
6. W. Wink, Powers series
7. D. Bonhoeffer, Life Together
8. S. Grenz, Created for Community and The Social God and the Relational Self
9. B. Blount, Then the Whisper Put on Flesh
10. Emergent: B. McLaren, Generous Orthodoxy; D. Pagitt, Reimagining Spiritual Formation
11. C.P. DeYoung, United by Faith


Admittedly, some of these are more “come to our church” than they are strictly missional, but each is committed to community, to a big gospel, and to the Kingdom as God’s design.

Again, there are many more, and you can post your own comments should you wish.

Comments read comments(15)
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Bob Robinson

posted August 3, 2005 at 9:42 pm

Now we’re talkin’!A top 20 (?)It’s difficult to move our notions of spiritual formation out of the evangelical ghetto of individualism. I struggle with re-shaping my mind toward community and holistic work all the time. The Paggit book really nails this as far as what a spiritual formation community can look like. Grenz offers the theology behind it.

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posted August 3, 2005 at 10:02 pm

Created for Community is one I really like. I picked it up as a Bible College textbook, but now as a youth minister, I use that book weekly.I like The Astonished Heart by Robert Capon as well, and I think it fits into this list more so than the previous book lists.Thanks,PJ

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Mark Van Steenwyk

posted August 3, 2005 at 10:42 pm

I’d add:Philip Kenneson’s Life on the VinePeter Steinke’s HEalthy Congregations: A System’s ApproachAlan J. Roxburgh’s The Missionary Congregation, Leadership, and LiminalityandRobert Bank’s Paul’s Idea of Community

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john alan turner

posted August 4, 2005 at 12:12 am

Two books that are way under the radar: THE JESUS PROPOSAL and THE JESUS COMMUNITY both by Rubel Shelly and John O. York

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posted August 4, 2005 at 6:10 am

I like it very much that D. Bonhoeffer’s Life Together, made your lists for both missional, and formation. It is a tremendous book.Jean

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posted August 4, 2005 at 6:41 am

For me, I would have to add to the Missional list…Newbigin’s The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society.And for the formation list, David Benner’s, The Care of souls. both the first printing, and then the second book put out a few years ago, Spiritual Direction and the Care of Souls.Jean

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Scot McKnight

posted August 4, 2005 at 6:59 am

And I should have added David Bosch.

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posted August 4, 2005 at 7:47 am

hey – this is very helpful Scott – i am doing some work with our team on this next week

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posted August 4, 2005 at 8:00 am

I am surprised you did not list Scott Sjogren’s Conspiracy of Kindness.

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Stan F.

posted August 4, 2005 at 10:15 am

Scot,I would add Community and Growth by Jean Vanier. As you probably know Vanier’s l’arche community is where Nouwen lived much of his later life and was forced to reasses much of his life, including what it meant to live in a community where his reputation and education and books meant nothing to the members.Admittedly the book is focused on living in intentional community, but all he says is applicable to any human relationship with others.Stan

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J. B. Hood

posted August 4, 2005 at 3:19 pm

For a twist, one that’s individual leading to corporate, I’d take Michael J. Gorman, Cruciformity: Paul’s Narrative Spirituality of the Cross–in part because it’s the closest thing I know to Paul’s own take on spiritual formation AND missional formation, and in part because there ain’t no other category for it.

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Scot McKnight

posted August 4, 2005 at 3:39 pm

J.B.,I like that book by Michael Gorman, but I guess I’m striving for books that are more readable. Not that he can’t write, but his audience is an Eerdmans audience.

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graham old

posted August 4, 2005 at 7:20 pm

Of course, we’d all put The Jesus Creed in the list! ;-)I was struck by how you’ve essentially written a contemporary anabaptist spirituality. A fine book – with some wonderful insights – and much needed.

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Scot McKnight

posted August 4, 2005 at 7:24 pm

Thanks Graham.Did you see my second formation list after your comment. I needed that to get my spiritual formation mind off the solo-individual line.

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Alex Silva

posted March 27, 2006 at 9:41 pm

I was excited to see Faith Works as one of the top books on your missional list. I read Faith Works in college and it really changed the way I look at economics, politics, and most importantly Jesus. It was kind of a starting point for me for a lot of theological change over the past few years, which is funny because that doesn’t seem to be what the book is designed for. Nonetheless, it was cool to see that I wasn’t the only one who thinks this to be an important book.

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