Missio Dei by Fred Peatros – A Literary Review
I’m continuing with my literary reviews on missional leadership. Today I want to review a concise but rich book written this past year (2007) by Fred Peatross. It is aptly titled: Missio Dei – In the Crises of Christianity.
I basically start with my sense of the author’s thesis, followed by a
general overview of the book, and then I focus on themes that are
pertinent to my research. With that said, here is my review.
Peatross makes the claim that church is mission, “not a program or an activity in the larger life of the church” (22), and because the church “no longer lives in a favored position with its host culture, Christians must be more like leaven than a church-centric, attractional-Sunday-center” (xvii).
Peatross breaks his book into two sections – deconstruction and reconstruction. In section one, he works at helping his readers realize that if the church in the West wants to be contextual, she should move from being attractional to being missional. And in section two he provides the motivation as well as some practical advice on how to live more missionally.
THEMES TO RE-VISIT
While some have lost hope that current congregations will move from being attractional to missional, Peatros writes in hopes that his words might “resurrect a slumbering church” to see that a different world requires a different way. Peatros has taken to heart the advice of Hirsch and Frost and is not only living incarnationally, but in this book he is effectively helping to persuade others to live the missional way of life.
This book is filled with rich quotes, important statistics, inspiring stories, and helpful advice, written by a man who apparently has a great passion for the people Jesus misses the most. Peatross recognizes that “a renewed commitment to the missional task will require creativity in developing new forms and shapes in which the gospel can be expressed in a post-Christian culture” (14). Peatross questions the practice of reproducing clones of modern churches, in postmodern times and poses this important question: “How does the American church make the transition from a clean, respectable, middle-class worshiping body of believers to a totally outward-looking, eyes-focused, knees-worn, heart-burned, missional church?” (46) While he gives no map or cut-and-dried formula to see the thousands of attractional churches become missional churches, he does extend a practical invitation into the joy of following the incarnational way of Jesus and on page seventy-four shares some of the personal lessons that he has learned on his journey.