The Present Future, Reggie McNeal

McNeal’s book A Work of Heart was assigned to me as a part of my capstone internship program at TFC, so I went into it with a bit of a negative attitude (which I have towards most things I am forced to do, something I still work on to this day), but it surprised me…a lot. It remains one of my favorite books of leadership in the church.

So, on that knowledge and from Nick’s whole blog on McNeal’s new book, The Present Future, I picked up McNeal’s latest and here are some great quotes and things I learned. There are some parts that really affected some of my thinking that I won’t post here, because some of the thoughts are deeper and longer. But, if you are concerned with the future of the church (meaning: you are called to lead her) then this book comes with two reorienting thumbs up!

On the “refuge” mentality: which is touchy because the former yp here at SACC named the youth group refuge, and now has named his new church refuge. So when James agrees against the refuge mentality, it’s touchy. Welcome to the reorientation!
p.8 “Many congregations and church leaders, faced with the collapse of the church culture, have responded by adopting a refuge mentality”
p.9 “Evangelism in this world (refuge world) is about churching the unchurched, not connecting people to Jesus…Refuge churches evidence enormus self-preoccupation. They decieve themselves into believing they are a potent force.”

p. 17 “He (Jesus) preached that God was for people, not against them. He defined the litmus test for genuine spirituality in terms of one’s relationships.”

p.27 “The North American church culture is not spiritual enough to reach our culture.”

p.36 “The power of the gospel is lost on church memebers who can sign off on doctrinal positions but have no story of personal transformation.”

on John 8,

p. 39 “In the ensuing dialogue with the crowd of would-be executionsers Jesus proved that he is for the woman, not against her. He becomes her champion…Then after everyone is gone he tells her, in effect, ‘Why don’t you quit living like this? It’s going to kill you.’ No shrinking back. No ‘I’m OK; you’re OK’ stuff.”

p.50 “I am proposing that missiology come into prominence, both as a theological pursuit and as a guiding operational paradigm.”

p.71 “People don’t want to be assimilated.”

p.73 “I think the solution is an abandonment of the church culture idolatry and a radical reintroduction of spiritual formation.”

p.81 “The devil knows more Bible than most church members in North America and can sign off on our doctrinal statements, but this knowledge has not transformed him.”

One big idea I will share and hopefully you will go out and buy this book because of this: McNeal shares and semi-develops and idea for Spiritual Development Coaches within the church. Much like the “life coach” idea that is so popular (and effective) today. Insteads of a “mentoring program”, what if the church had a small army of people who were qualified to be a spiritual development coach for younger beleivers? It’ll get you thinking!!


Other reflections on Vancouver

Here are some links to some other peeps’ reflections on the missions trip to Vancouver:



If there’s more just post them in the comments.

PDX and back in 2.5 hours.

Last night Nate and I drove up to Portland and back and had the most awesome discussions. I am a process salvationist, which I’m not sure what that means, but it’s where all of my suspicions about Jesus’ teachings lead me. Nate is even more suspicious than me.

Nate and I have the kind of relationship where we are allowed to make observations about each other and each other’s lives. It’s really valuable to me – and it helps us to form sound theology as we wrestle through postmodernism and Christianity.

Last night we processed a bunch more of the theology of process salvationism in light of the redemptive movement hermenuetic and Nate’s thoughts on the circle of eternal life returning to the garden (as it was in eden so it will be – ish stuff).

Anyways, we decided that one thing we’d like to see return to the church is the marker of baptism as the marker of a decision to follow Christ permanently. I had been taught that people should be given doctrinal classes before being baptized, but I really think the people who taught me were wrong. I think in a post-God society, baptism is an experiential way to show one’s commitment to following the ways and teachings of Jesus.

For Nathan and I, we think people should be allowed to try out Christianity before having to say the “sinner’s prayer.” In fact, we kind of think baptism should replace the sinner’s prayer.

Put that in your denominational report and smoke it.

I left my heart in Vancouver

I’m just getting over a minstry hangover.

We spent the last week serving and loving in the inner city of Vancouver, Canada. It was an experience that will, no doubt, provide for many opinionated blog posts.

Right now there is still much blur. Some students are posting and I’ll link to them later, but right now I am back. And that’s the best I can do.

The team felt overwhelmed by the concentration of addiction and poverty in the East Hastings area of Vancouver. Many expressed feelings of hopelessness and having no chance of making any difference. There was the feeling of trying to empty the ocean with a thimble. We all felt it. We all felt it deeply.

Yet we were reminded that our calling was to love. It was expressed in many different ways (serving, cleaning, feeding, praying, etc.) yet the core was the same.

We are Driven. by love and by Christ.

And after everything, love wins.

We did not condemn. We did not fix. We did not save the inner city of Vancouver.

We feel in love with it.

London Terror Attacks

We all awoke this morning to find that London has been hit by what seems to be an organized terror attack.

Our prayers will continue for our friends and our enemies.


When I moved into the US, I lived in GA, where I learned I was a ferrrrrnnnneeerr. Later, I learned that was slang for “foreigner.”

So, I live my life as a missionary to teens in a country that doesn’t think it needs missionaries. I am a missionary to a Christian country, is it any wonder that I am often frustrated?

Anyways –

July 1 was Canada Day. A day where Canada celebrates it is it’s own country, as long as the Queen allows it to be so.

On July 1 I received an email from the Canadian Ambassador to America, Frank McKenna. He just became Ambassador on March 8th. I’ve lived here 5.5 years and he is the first Ambassador to contact me.

He invited me to register at a site called, Connect2Canada – so now I am connected.

Isn’t great belonging somewhere?