The New Conspirators: Creating the Future One Mustard Seed at a Time, By Tom Sine

The New Conspirators

Creating the Future One Mustard Seed at a Time

by Tom Sine
Foreword by Shane Claiborne

The New Conspirators
  • Length: 304 pages
  • Published: February 04, 2008
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3384
  • ISBN: 9780830833849

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"If you have faith as small as a mustard seed," Jesus says in the Gospel of

Matthew, "nothing will be impossible for you."

That sounds good, but does it work in a world where seeds are genetically

altered by an impatient few and hard to come by for countless others? In a

world where the gulf between the very rich and the profoundly poor is

constantly growing, can a mustard-seed faith make any difference? And can

such a little bit of faith be sustained in a world whose future is so uncertain

on so many fronts?

Tom Sine says yes, and he has the audacity to try to prove it in his latest

book. In The New Conspirators Tom surveys the landscape of

creative Christianity, where streams of renewal are flowing freely from

diverse sources:

  • The emerging church
  • Contemporary monastic movements
  • The missional church
  • The mosaic movement

Individuals and communities of faith are coalescing in, and drawing energy

from, these four streams to retrofit the church as it leads, serves and gives

witness to the kingdom of God in the turbulent times facing us. Read the

book and you'll want to-and be prepared to-join God's conspiracy to

create a better future.

"Emergent types are helping the whole Western church to hear what Tom Sine has been saying all along. In The New Conspirators he gives on-the-ground examples of new ways of being Christlike and resources to help people take the next steps. This book is needed and will be well received."

Kurt Fredrickson, Fuller Theological Seminary

"A shortcut into this conversation for many who have not read or seen what Tom Sine has. It will be well worth the money!"

Andrew Jones, Tall Skinny Kiwi (http://tallskinnykiwi/

"In this wide-ranging survey of challenges and opportunities facing the church in the early twenty-first century, Tom Sine calls us to courageous and imaginative action, convinced that 'mustard seed' initiatives really are transformative. Combining cultural analysis, biblical reflection and stories that earth the principles, this is an inspirational tour de force that invites us to celebrate the future into being."

Stuart Murray, chair, UK Anabaptist Network, church growth consultant and author

"The hope-quotient of churches in the West is low. In this book Tom Sine highlights some of the daunting challenges we face in both the world and the church. Yet instead of compounding the despair he reminds us of the biblical vision and inspires our hope in recounting stories of individuals, families and communities whose imagination has been liberated for compassionate and creative responses to the challenges in our world. In the words of Cesar Lopez, whose mustard seed story is included in The New Conspirators, 'This is about transformation. . . . It's about turning something bad into good. . . . It's about possibilities.' Read this book and free your imagination as you rejoice in hope!"

Stanley W. Green, executive director, Mennonite Mission Network

"From Tom Sine, networker par excellence, we've come to expect work that connects the dots of diverse people and ministries globally. If Sine had only provided a map of fresh, vibrant, kingdomlike activities throughout the world, this book would be a wonderful gift to the church. But with The New Conspirators, he goes much further. He offers a rubric by which to interpret twenty-first-century ministries. Full of never-before published stories from across the globe, Sine shows how these ministries emerged. His descriptions do not overburden the narratives with dry, clinical interpretation, however. Instead, through Sine's writing, we see God doing amazing things through his people. With each passing story I felt moved, inspired and called to action. In my classes at Fuller Seminary, my students clamor for living examples of Christlike activity in the world. Sine's The New Conspirators more than fills that need. Highly recommended."

Ryan K. Bolger, assistant professor of church in contemporary culture, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Tom Sine does here what he does best--distills information and stories from a very broad range of sources and makes it understandable and useful to anyone concerned about the future forms of church, mission and community in the kingdom of God. This is not a book of theories. Nor is it just a collection of stories.

The New Conspirators is an excellent survey of the contemporary global movements that are reshaping the church, in all its forms, out of a desire to reconnect with the subcultures surrounding it. This latest book from Sine is down-to-earth, firmly fixed in the realities of living in our current environments, yet gives insightful and helpful tools to enable us to not simply accept the status quo as the inevitable future, but transform it for the sake of the world and the kingdom.

Sine presents an inspiring challenge for leaders in every stream of church life, without berating or criticizing anyone. He draws us forward with hope rather than attempting to drive us from behind with a whip. A significant resource for the whole church."

Mark Pierson, Urban Seed

"In his latest offering, The New Conspirators, Tom Sine presents us with a helpful and hopeful overview of new faith expressions. By situating them in their historic and cultural streams Sine helps us grasp the interconnected work of the church and understand the challenges facing us today. He presents the sobering realities of crises facing our world today and yet retains a hopeful perspective on how we can reimagine better ways forward. I found the stories of those pursuing integrated lifestyles of hope, sustainability and justice inspiring and easily applicable to the average reader's life. The New Conspirators is a valuable and important book in charting the future of this movement called Christianity--a must-read for anyone seeking to understand where the church is heading in these turbulent times."

Julie Clawson, Via Christus Community Church, Yorkville, Illinois

"This is a must-read for pastors, church planters and ministry leaders. The principles, research and insights within this book will prepare us to have a kingdom impact in an increasingly multiethnic and multicultural world."

Efrem Smith, senior pastor, The Sanctuary Covenant Church, and author of Raising Up Young Heroes and (with Phil Jackson) The Hip-Hop Church

"The rising generations want to make a difference in our world. They don't want to stand on the sidelines--and they don't want to just 'talk.' They are activists. Often they are activists with a vision but with limited ideas of what can be done. Tom Sine raises our eyes to look at the world more deeply, prods our imaginations to see the opportunities and calls us to a deeper understanding of what kingdom living might entail. This is a book which I will surely use with my students as I challenge them to 'join the conspiracy.'"

Steve Hayner, Peachtree Professor of Evangelism, Columbia Theological Seminary

"In The New Conspirators, Tom Sine plants dozens of seeds that have the power to grow into vast new missional communities around the globe. If you want hope for the future of the world and the role the church can play in it, then get your hands on a copy of The New Conspirators today."

Will and Lisa Samson, authors of Justice in the Burbs

"Tom Sine is a journalist, theologian and futurist, spotting trends, making connections and drawing conclusions for the benefit of the rest of us. With The New Conspirators, he offers an insightful look into the rapidly changing face of the church in the twenty-first century."

Jim Wallis, author of God's Politics and president, Sojourners

"The world is changing, and traditional forms of Christian community are less compelling in our culture than ever before, as evidenced by the continual decline in participation. In this provocative and engaging book Tom Sine invites readers into the ideas and conversations of those who are seeking to address this situation through alternative forms of church that are shaped by a commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ and the experience of contemporary culture. This is an important and hopeful book for all who are concerned about the future of the church."

John R. Franke, professor of theology, Biblical Seminary

"Tom Sine has persistently challenged the Christian community to take seriously the creation mandate to be good gardeners of creation. The New Conspirators continues this important ministry with a comprehensive survey of what is, in fact, happening, and how much more needs to be addressed. There is cause hereboth to celebrate and to reevaluate Christian witness in the global village."

Darrell Guder, Dean of Academic Affairs and Henry Winters Luce Professor of Missional and Ecumenical Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

"Tom Sine reveals to all of us who are trying to faithfully follow Jesus the critical importance of being lifelong learners. Many at his age and level of incredible life and ministry experiences would be prone to sit down and write their memoirs. Tom sets out on a journey of discovery and learning to find out the creative ways that God is carrying out his upside-down kingdom revolution through today's younger generation. In The New Conspirators he tells the stories of God's quietly faithful followers who are making a lot of kingdom change without making a lot of noise. From young and imaginative entrepreneurs who are doing transformational business for the kingdom to urban orders of young people who bring love and hope to the forgotten urban wastelands by being Jesus with skin on, Tom shares their remarkable stories with us and teaches us how to open up our minds and hearts to the Spirit winds of change, transformation and hope that each one of us was designed and called to be a part of!"

Tomas Yaccino, connector, Del Camino Connection, La Red del Camino Network for Integral Mission in Latin America and the Caribbean

"Con-spiritus means 'to go with the Spirit,' to surf its movement. That is what a 'con-spiracy' is, and this aptly describes this mission futuring book by Tom Sine. I endorse this book and hope that it is widely read, as the task of reimagining church and exploring missional futures calls for the kind of pocket GPS that The New Conspirators provides."

Karen M. Ward, abbess/vicar, Church of the Apostles,

"Laying out an alternative future, The New Conspirators is a bold challenge to all who think the kingdom of God can be built from the starting point of compromise and comfort."

Jonny Baker, coordinator of worship, Greenbelt Arts Festival

"Wise and wide-ranging, thoughtful and thorough, provocative and probing, practical and hopeful, Tom Sine's book ranks among the very best of the growing body of literature exploring the very real question: Does the future have a church?"

Dwight J. Friesen, assistant professor of practical theology, Mars Hill Graduate School

"Be prepared to get engaged as you enter this conversation with Tom Sine. This is not a quick read for pleasure. While giving us helpful handles on the different streams of 'conspirators,' Tom draws you into inescapable decisions about what kind of follower of Jesus Christ and what kind of church you will be for the journey ahead. A theology of hope rooted in the reign and kingdom of Jesus Christ provides the foundation for a look into the uncertainties and opportunities for the future."

Allen Likkel, director of ministry teams, Christian Reformed Home Missions

"As I travel around the world I am noting that even the most insensitive are sensing that something is happening! The question is, what is happening? The thing that most people in the church and in the community are grappling with is, what sort of future can we help create? In The New Conspirators Tom Sine has gathered a collective of understandings and has woven them together to give an emerging image of what the future could look like. It is insightful and essential reading for anybody wanting to make a difference and live out the prayer that God's kingdom might come on earth as it is in heaven."

Fuzz Kitto, director, Spirited Consulting, Sydney, Australia

"Perhaps you are like me and sometimes wish the world would stand still so we could catch our breath, figure out where we are going, develop a travel plan, and then enter back into the global community all fresh and ready to enter its busiest places. Tom Sine reminds us that the world is not slowing down but we can still map where it is headed. Some of the most imaginative, courageous Christians are already on the path into the emerging edge, and Tom Sine maps what folks are already doing. Let's join this veteran Christian futurist as he maps where these young Jesus-following conspirators are journeying."

Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University

"Through the years, Tom Sine's writing has repeatedly knocked me out of my comfort zone and challenged me to see the good news of God in richer and deeper dimensions. He repeatedly inspires me with hope and encouragement, both through his writings and his friendship. His new book is rich with challenge and inspiration, and it's full of signs that the tide is turning, a warm spring sun is shining, and good things are afoot in the church and for the good of the world. If you've never read a Tom Sine book before, here's the one to read, and if you have enjoyed his previous works, you'll want to come back for a second helping."

Brian D. McLaren, author/activist (

"This book is vintage Tom Sine: Always grounding us in the biblical narratives and never allowing us to domesticate our reading of them. Always highlighting the holistic nature of the gospel, never allowing us to diminish and privatize its reach. Always keen to highlight the role of the small and local but never allowing us to lose the global perspective of the kingdom. Always reminding us of the fundamentally communal nature of the faith but never for a moment diminishing our individual role and responsibility in God's plan of redemption. A great book from a great teacher and genuinely wise guide."

Alan Hirsch, author of The Forgotten Ways and The Shaping of Things to Come (with Mike Frost), and founding director, Forge Mission Training Network

"Tom Sine lays bare the church's Inconvenient Truth. Taking a broad overview of the challenges that we have to address in the twenty-first century, Tom has sounded a wake-up call that beckons us to reassess the way we have sold out to the values of modernity. Laying out an alternative future, this book is a bold challenge to all who think that the kingdom of God can be built from the starting point of compromise and comfort."

Andy Harrington, executive director, Youth for Christ: Vancouver

"Sine's ideas about creative ways we might address our world's greatest needs, and the stories of those already participating in this work, left me with little excuse not to start dreaming of what a mustard seed would look like in my corner of the globe."

C. Wess Daniels, Quaker Life, January/February 2011

"Sine offers a thoughtful analysis of emergent, monastic, missional, and mosaic churches. The folks involved in these movements offer refreshing strategies for welcoming our neighbors into the body of Christ. In a world marked by increasing isolation, heigtened security/suspicion, and globalization, our neighbors are calling out for something new."

Rachel Parker, PRISM, November/December 2008

"This book is worthwhile. It contains anecdotal encouragement from the provisional kingdom on earth. I will have occasion to refer to this book again for stories of small outbreaks of active Christianity shining in the dark profanity of today's global culture."

Kirk William McCullough, Congregations, Fall 2008

"The New Conspirators is not for the faint of heart. It will challenge you to consider transformation in your own life, as well as actively participate with a community to be boldly creative in discovering and expressing our mustard seeds. A must-read for those serious about a whole-life faith."

Sonia Urban, Youth Worker Journal, September/October 2008

"It is an important read for those in the church and perhaps outside the church trying to get a grasp on not only the world we live in today, but the one which is being created now and into the future! Because of its thorough and wide ranging analysis of the many wonderful books written on this subject, this is the one-stop book I recommend for church study groups and leaders."

Sam Andres, Mustard Seed Associates (, August 22, 2008

"I believe this is one of the few Christian books which helps disinterested, 'over family-focused' evangelicals to clearly see the implications that our current global context will have on the rich, middle and low income groups across the globe."

Bricks and Mortar blog, July 9, 2008

"To put it simply, [this] is an encyclopedia of the new movement in the Evangelical church in Australia, Canada, Britain and the United States. Sine is very thorough. At least when it comes to Western authors, Sine has read about as widely as he's traveled."

Tim N., Young Anabaptist Radicals, June 13, 2008

"[C]omes highly recommended by a veritable who's who of Christian writers, thinkers, and theologians, ranging from new monastic proponent Shane Claiborne (who writes the foreword) to Jim Wallis."

C. E. Moore, The Christian Manifesto, June 10, 2008

"Lovers of his earlier Mustard Seed Conspiracy will truly enjoy this fresh, updated work."

Scott Wagoner, Quakemergent (, April 3, 2008

"Tom does a brilliant job of surveying much of what God is up to in the next generation of church as it shapes up in North America and Western Europe. Tom brings a depth and breadth of practice and reflection to his writing that one is very aware we are just getting the tip of the research iceberg."

Geoff and Sherry, the ashram blog, March 29, 2008

"Sine shares example after example of Christians all over the world . . . expressing their faith through profoundly countercultural acts of mercy, justice, love and compassion."

Publishers Weekly, January 14, 2008


Foreword by Shane Claiborne
Traveling into Turbulent Times

Conversation I: Taking the New Conspirators Seriously
Emerging, Missional, Mosaic and Monastic

Conversation II: Taking the Culture Seriously
Coming Home to a Post 9/11 Global Neighborhood
Coming Home to the Good Life of the Global Mall

Conversation III: Taking the Future of God Seriously
Coming Home to the Good Life of God
Another World That Is Already Here
Coming Home to a Transformed Human Future

Conversation IV: Taking Turbulent Times Seriously
Taking the Future Seriously
Traveling Together on a Ship of Fools
Challenges Facing the Global Rich
Challenges Facing the Vulnerable Middle
Challenges Facing the Imperiled Poor
Challenges Facing the Western Poor
Challenges Facing an Endangered Church

Conversation V: Taking Our Imaginations Seriously
Reimagining That World That Is Already Here
Reimagining Whole-Life Stewardship
Reimagining Whole-Life Community
Reimagining Whole-Life Mission
Joining the Entrepreneurial Edge

Afterword: Something Really, Really Small . . .
Index of Organizations


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Tom Sine

Tom Sine is constantly on the lookout for "mustard seeds"—seemingly insignificant acts that bring faith and compassion to hopeless situations. As cofounder of Mustard Seed Associates, he prepares others to think critically and creatively about the global community and how to serve it according to God's great vision.