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Bringing Balance to the Missional Church Movement

As is felt in the pews on Sunday mornings and reported statistically, the American church is in decline. While this raises a lot of anxiety among church leaders, there are resources and movements attempting to change this trend. One of the most compelling movements is the missional-church movement. However, the word “missional” is so ubiquitous that it can be difficult to discern what people mean when they use it. One helpful tool for understanding is the book The Permanent Revolution.…
Joel Vander Wal
September 1, 2018
Essays

The Whole Church Gathered: How Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship” Speaks to the Church Today

“When children expect something it is impossible to give only part of oneself to them.” ­­– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, quoted in Eberhard Bethge, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Theologian, Christian, Man for His Times: A Biography.  The German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer begins his book Discipleship by saying, “It is not ultimately important to us what this or that church leader wants. Rather, we want to know what Jesus wants.” Bonhoeffer wrote these words after the Gestapo shut down his beloved seminary in Finkenwalde. They…
Joel Vander Wal
June 30, 2017
Essays

What Does the Sticky-Faith Movement Mean for the Church?

“If the church is ever to flourish again, one must begin by instructing the young.” – Martin Luther “Welcome to the Sticky Faith Cohort Summit! We are so excited that all of you are here!” Kara Powell said as she greeted us in late February 2012. That first night when we arrived in Pasadena, California, my team and I were full of excitement and energy, even after a long day of travel. After introductions of the nearly 40 churches that…
Joel Vander Wal
December 31, 2015