Creating a Missional Culture: Equipping the Church for the Sake of the World, By JR Woodward

Creating a Missional Culture

Equipping the Church for the Sake of the World

Forge Partnership Books

by JR Woodward
Foreword by Alan Hirsch

Creating a Missional Culture
  • Length: 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: July 05, 2012
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3653
  • ISBN: 9780830836536

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Once upon a time, Moses had had enough.

Exhausted by the challenge of leading the Israelites from slavery to the Promised Land, Moses cried out to God, "What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? . . . If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me" (Exodus 11:11, 15).

If that sounds hauntingly familiar to you, you may be the senior pastor of a contemporary church. The burden of Christian leadership is becoming increasingly unbearable--demanding skills not native to the art of pastoring; demanding time that makes sabbath rest and even normal sleep patterns seem extravagant; demanding inhuman levels of efficiency, proficiency and even saintliness.

No wonder pastors seem and even feel less human these days. No wonder they burn out or break down at an alarming rate; no wonder the church is missing the mark on its mission.

In Creating a Missional Culture, JR Woodward offers a bold and surprisingly refreshing model for churches--not small adjustments around the periphery of a church's infrastructure but a radical revisioning of how a church ought to look, from its leadership structure to its mobilization of the laity. The end result looks surprisingly like the church that Jesus created and the apostles cultivated: a church not chasing the wind but rather going into the world and making disciples of Jesus.

"Creating a Missional Culture is about cultural analysis, leadership formation, congregational empowerment and missional engagement. JR Woodward blends head, heart and hands to reinvigorate the church. I highly recommend this book for those studying missiology, ministry and ecclesiology."

Amos Yong, J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology, Regent University School of Divinity

"Many have written critiques about our consumerism, lack of discipleship, narcissism and theology, but few have given us a clear way forward. In this book, JR Woodward uses compelling theology, cultural insight, biblical wisdom and practical examples on how to shift from consumerism to mission and equip the people of God to reach their full redemptive potential. This is a real gift to the body of Christ."

Jon Tyson, pastor, Trinity Grace Church New York, author of Rumors of God

"There is no mistaking that the missional thrust that JR Woodward unravels in his book has at its core a profound understanding of spirituality as the propellant for cultivating such culture in our ministry. While some erroneously insist on dichotomizing between missional and spiritual formation, JR makes a solid case for the necessary integration of the two. Indeed, authentic spirituality is missional through and through. JR's work accentuates this holistic approach to our distinct yet integrated calling as equippers: as an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher."

Wil Hernandez , Ph.D., director of the Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation and Leadership at Spring Arbor University (, author of Henri Nouwen and Spiritual Polarities: A Life in Tension

"JR Woodward's fresh views about leadership and church culture and his practical guides and suggestions make this a relevant and important book for every congregation. The chapters on polycentric leadership alone are worth the price of the book. Creating a Missional Culture delivers exactly that—a provocative guide for the intentional, Spirit-led creation of a church culture where Christ is incarnated in the lives of individuals and communities."

Dr. MaryKate Morse, author of Making Room for Leadership

"The church has encountered a serious gap in fulfilling its apostolic imagination. JR steps in as a visionary and provides a major breakthrough, showing us that the release of the missional church is dependent upon creating a missional culture. This book offers next steps for those of us who long to equip ordinary Christians for profoundly missional expressions of church. I wish I had written it!"

Linda Bergquist, church strategist, coauthor of Church Turned Inside Out: A Guide for Designers, Refiners, and Re-Aligners

"I have been craving a book that would facilitate the reimagination of church culture, and it is finally here. This is a book I hope many will devour."

Dwight J. Friesen, associate professor of practical theology, The Seattle School of Theology Psychology, author of Thy Kingdom Connected

"A decade ago, Alan Hirsch and I explored the idea that the fivefold leadership matrix was essential to unleashing the missional church. Now JR Woodward goes further by detailing how this matrix of leadership fosters a learning, healing, welcoming, liberating and thriving missional culture. This book is beautifully written and well researched, and it gets at complex issues in a readable and accessible way. This book is a gift to the missional conversation."

Michael Frost, coauthor, The Shaping of Things to Come, and author, The Road to Missional

"JR Woodward's remarkable book defies categorization. To 'create a missional culture' requires disciplined biblical and theological formation, discerning engagement with contemporary cultures, appreciative interaction with diverse resources, and the courage to experiment and to innovate. Woodward does all that and more in this book. The growing exploration of the theology and practice of the missional church is enriched by this volume. Its authority rests in the author's tested and validated experience as an equipper 'of the missional church for the sake of the world.'"

Darrell Guder, Winters Luce Professor of Missional and Ecumenical Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary, editor and coauthor of The Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America

"JR Woodward reads widely, writes deftly and lives deeply. His book Creating a Missional Culture reflects all of that. Read it and explore what leading can be in the strange new worlds of mission in North America."

David Fitch, B.R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology, Northern Seminary, author of The End of Evangelicalism?

"You are holding a hard-won treasure. This book is peppered with the kind of missiological insights that only an apostolically inclined leader can bring. JR Woodward has developed an excellent heuristic for leaders to actually make Ephesians 4 a living reality in the local churches."

from the foreword by Alan Hirsch, coauthor of The Shaping Things to Come, author of The Forgotten Ways and The Permanent Revolution

"Creating a Missional Culture is a worthwhile read that provides a gracious, yet prophetic corrective to individualistic, pastor-centric churches, moving the missional church forward."

Jonathan K. Dodson, Evangelical Missions Quarterly, April 2013


List of Figures and Tables
Foreword by Alan Hirsch
Part 1: The Power of Culture
1. What Is Missional Culture and Why Does It Matter?
2. How Culture Works
3. What's Going On in the Culture of the Church You Serve?
4. Polycentric Leadership and Missional Culture
Part 2: A Leadership Imagination That Shapes Missional Culture
5. Facing Today's Challenges
6. Hearing the Story
7. Deepening Theological Roots
8. Embracing Emotional Health
9. Relinquishing the Need to Control
Part 3: The Five Culture Creators
10. Jesus the Archetypical Culture Creator
11. Apostles: Dream Awakeners
12. Prophets: Heart Revealers
13. Evangelists: Story Tellers
14. Pastors: Soul Healers
15. Teachers: Light Givers
Part 4: Embodying a Missional Culture
16. The Cultural Web and the Neighborhood Church
17. Cultivating Missional Environments
18. Cultivating an Equipping Ethos
19. Polycentric Leadership at Work
Appendix 1: Equippers and Their Roles
Appendix 2: Equipper Candidate Reference Form
Appendix 3: Equipper Candidate Interview


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JR Woodward

JR Woodward is the national director of church planting with V3, a missional church-planting movement, and the author of Creating a Missional Culture.