Paul writes – for those of you who haven’t already discovered them I want to highlight a series of talks/conversations by Alan Roxburgh at a recent gathering of Anglican clergy in Montreal, Canada. They gathered at the Montreal Diocesan Theological College over the period 26-28 September 2010.
Al’s distinctive voice has accompanied me in the car for the last week. Lots of deeply encouraging content, lots that should be both profoundly exciting and profoundly challenging for the church. I found myself greatly engaged, but also greatly troubled as I reflected on my own journey and experiences, and as disappointment, frustrations, fear, and sadness also bubbled up as I listened.
Al is one of the Western churches foremost missiologist/theologians. He brings real intellectual grunt, breadth, experience, a network of diverse conversations, and great communication skills to the table. All are in evidence in the audio recordings of the talks.
It’s been a privilege to have gotten to know him quite well in recent years. I appreciate him as a person, albeit our personalities are quite different, and without always agreeing with him (though I mostly do) I usually defer to his experience by sitting with an idea /description or terminology and thinking it through over time, noticing how initial resistance changes with the benefit of new perspective and learning. I always appreciate his framing and naming of the challenges and opportunities we face.
Needless I highly recommend the talks (of varying length) and their conversational nature. Technology again makes it possible to listen in on from within our own local and socio-cultural contexts; in my case from the bottom (or is it the “top”?) of the world. Thanks to those in Montreal and to Alan for making the recordings available.
You can find them here. Can be heard online or downloaded as Mp3’s (a good idea as further benefit will be gained from repeated listening). You can also pre-order his latest book (which he mentions in passing in his first lecture) – Missional: Joining God in the Neighborhood to be published next year (March 2011). It is described in the following way:
“...The burgeoning missional church movement is a sign that believers are increasingly feeling the call to impact their communities, which is a good thing. But, says Alan J. Roxburgh, these conversations still prioritize church success over mission--how can being missional grow my church? But to focus on such questions misses the point.
In Missional, Roxburgh calls Christians to reenter their neighborhoods and communities to discover what the Spirit is doing there--to start with God's mission. He then encourages readers to shape their local churches around that mission. With inspiring true stories and a solid biblical base, Missional is a book that will change lives and communities as its message is lived out...”
Al’s books should also be required reading in congregational contexts across this land. As NZ Baptist church leader Murray Robertson said many years ago, “New Zealand is a mission field!”