Story Magazine - First Quarter, 2008

Leadership Formation Focus of 2007 Missional Church Consultation

Five essays were presented by nationally known scholars, two of whom teach at Luther Seminary, and three were given by Ph.D. students in Luther Seminary's congregational mission and leadership program.

This annual consultation is geared toward generating original scholarship and helping to form leaders in relation to the now decade-old missional church movement, according to Dr. Craig Van Gelder, professor of congregational mission and leadership.

The event provided "excellent perspective on both the theoretical and practical dimensions of the missional church," said Dr. Paul Dovre, chair of the Luther Seminary Board of Directors.

Being a missional church means asking, in short, "What is God up to?" as the church seeks to participate in God's mission, Van Gelder said. Where "missions" once referred to specialized persons being sent outside the United States, missional churches seek to participate in God's mission in their own contexts.

The ecumenical audience included pastors, teachers, church leaders, scholars and Luther Seminary students. Coinciding with the consultation was the release of the book "The Missional Church in Context: Helping Congregations Develop Contextual Ministry." Edited by Van Gelder, this book is the product of the 2005 consultation and is the first in a new series being published by Eerdmans.