“At age 15, Craig Van Gelder made a personal profession of faith. Three years later as a freshman in college, he answered a call to Christian ministry. Since then he has focused on helping the church participate fully in God’s mission to bring salvation to all of life.
Following college, Van Gelder worked with The Navigators for 10 years in campus and discipleship ministries throughout the South. Then he changed focus and spent a decade working as a consultant to congregations, helping with strategic planning, organizational development and needs assessment.read more
This book covers the bulk of the material we discussed in the class that Van Gelder taught called The Hermeneutics of Leading in Mission. Our conversations centered around Van Gelder’s model of Spirit-Led decision making in the last half of the book. Our final project for that class required each of us to write our own theological theory of strategic action. You can see mine here. Ministry was a sort of sequel to Van Gelder’s first book The Essence of the Church. In Ministry of the Missional Church he emphasizes the centrality of the Holy Spirit in gathering, shaping, and sending the church to participate in God’s mission to bring God’s redemptive reign to the world.read more
This book is a collection of essays written in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Many of them are in response to the work of Lesslie Newbigin as he responded to the post-Christian culture of England and greater Europe. Newbigin’s questions spread to the United States and Canada, sparking theologians and church leaders to reevaluate the relationship of the church to the Gospel and to culture. These essays and the authors behind them formed the core of the Gospel and Our Culture Network in the mid 1990s.read more
4. The internal life of the missional church focuses on every believer living as a disciple engaging in mission. This understanding makes every member a minister, with the spiritual growth of every disciple becoming the primary focus as the body is built up to participate more fully in God’s mission in the world.1
1Van Gelder, Craig, and Dwight J. Zscheile. The Missional Church in Perspective: Mapping Trends and Shaping the Conversation The Missional Network. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011.read more