Christian leaders at every level of the church are working in the crucible of multiple realities where paradoxical trends occupy the same space and time. Today church leaders find themselves bearing witness to the gospel in contexts of discontinuous change. Nowhere is the complexity of mission strategy more apparent than in the relationships among denominational leaders and church planters. Enlightenment era models of mission relied heavily on models applied to cross-cultural contexts with little consideration of the congruence of the model with the cultural context. While mission practitioners have done their share of experimentation in the field, denominational centers typically play the role of referee in determining acceptable and unacceptable mission strategies.
While it may seem that everything is up for grabs in the ecology of the church, the complexity and change Christians leaders face is not only a problem. Change and complexity also offer frame-breaking opportunities. The narratives in this book, presented as four case studies of church planting, will explore issues with which local, regional, and denominational church leaders struggle as they attempt to plant churches at a time when modern models of mission are quickly losing their relevance and coherence. This study will identify new pathways forward so that church leaders at every level can incarnate a winsome witness in social contexts that are increasingly characterized by complexity, paradox, and discontinuous change.