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The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church [Hardcover]

By Reggie McNeal (Author)
Our Price $ 20.36  
Retail Value $ 23.95  
You Save $ 3.59  (15%)  
Item Number 12512  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   176
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.9" Width: 6.2" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jan 31, 2004
Publisher   John Wiley And Sons
ISBN  0787965685  
EAN  9780787965686  

Availability  0 units.

Alternate Formats List Price Our Price Item Number Availability
Hardcover $ 23.95 $ 20.36 12512
Paperback $ 16.95 $ 14.41 416158 In Stock
Item Description...
In this provocative book, author, consultant, and church leadership
developer Reggie McNeal debunks these and other old assumptions and provides an overall strategy to help church leaders move forward in an entirely different and much more effective way. In The Present Future, McNeal identifies the six most important realities that church leaders must address including: recapturing the spirit of Christianity and replacing "church growth" with a wider vision of kingdom growth; developing disciples instead of church members; fostering the rise of a new apostolic leadership; focusing on spiritual formation rather than church programs; and shift, from prediction and planning to preparation for the challenges in an uncertain world. McNeal contends that by changing the questions church leaders ask themselves about their congregations and their plans, they can frame the core issues and approach the future with new eyes, new purpose, and new ideas.

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More About Reggie McNeal

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Reggie McNealis the director of leadership development at the South Carolina Baptist Convention. His past experience involves twenty years in local church leadership, ten years in various staff roles, and ten years as a founding pastor of a new church. Reggie has lectured or served as adjunct faculty for multiple seminaries, including Southwestern Baptist (Ft. Worth, TX), Golden Gate Baptist (San Francisco, CA), Fuller Theological (Pasadena, CA), Trinity Divinity School (Deerfield, IL), and Columbia International (Columbia, SC).
In addition, Reggie has served as a consultant to local church, denomination, and para-church leadership teams, and as a seminar developer and presenter for thousands of church leaders across North America. He has also provided resources to the United States Army Chief of Chaplains Office, Air Force chaplains, and the Air Force Education and Training Command. Reggie's work also extends to the business sector, including The Gallup Organization.
Reggie has contributed to numerous denominational publications and church leadership journals, including Leadership and Net Results. His books include Revolution in Leadership (Abingdon Press, 1998), A Work of Heart: Understanding How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders (Jossey-Bass, 2000), The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church (Jossey-Bass, 2003), and Practicing Greatness: Seven Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders (Jossey-Bass, 2006).
Reggie's education includes a B.A. degree from the University of South Carolina and the M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees, both from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Reggie McNeal currently resides in Columbia, in the state of South Carolina. Reggie McNeal has an academic affiliation as follows - Columbia, South Carolina.

Reggie McNeal has published or released items in the following series...
  1. J-B Leadership Network
  2. Jossey-Bass Leadership Networks
  3. Leadership Networks
  4. Ministry for the Third Millennium
  5. Shapevine

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
The Present Future  Jan 27, 2007
It's a new spin on why Christians in North America do not as a majority participate in "church" as an institution.
Hits the Mark, but "Buyer Beware"  Jan 16, 2007
This is a well-written, well-documented treatise that is intended to rattle people. McNeal addresses a plethora of issues that plague the current day Christian Church in America. He doesn't pull punches in his delivery. His comparison of the "organized church" to a private club should hit many a churchgoer right between the eyes, and sad to say, if it doesn't, it only gives credence to his arguments. HOWEVER, that said, the reader must be aware that he delivers his oration from the pulpit of the "emerging church" culture. Some of his ideas (solutions) are as off base as the issues he is tackling. This material should be seen as run through the emerging church prism, and should not be accepted carte blanche. It would behoove the reader to do some research into the emerging church to get a feel for where McNeal is coming from.
A Great Way to Become Conversant with the Emerging Church  Dec 9, 2006
Reggie McNeal really knows how to "translate" the emerging church into evangelicalese, especially for his fellow Southerners. This is an excellent book to introduce people to the postmodern shift and the implications on evangelical Christianity. This is the book I gave to my dad to help him understand what's going in the Church today.
Book for the In-Betweens  Aug 22, 2006
Being a church planter in the South, I was ready for this book to blow me away. I'd read other titles that started with the similar "something is wrong with the church today..." and this book made the case just as well, if not better, than most other books on the same subject. The real meat in most of these books is in how and what it communicates as a solution.

And as far as solutions go, "Present Future" is a book for those who are looking to make changes within their well-established status quo- people that are in between something old and something new. McNeal's solutions really cater to those in Baptist or Baptist-like settings and want to align themselves with God's mission to redeem mankind.

With that said, the solutions, stories, models, and ideas spelled out in this book are well worth the read. I'm not in a Baptist or Baptist-like setting, and it gave me a lot to think through and some serious solutions to consider.

This book is worth your time no matter what church setting you're currently in. It's challenging, thought-out, and inspiring. The only drawback is that it's geared more for the "in betweens" and less for the frontier missionaries.
Out of the club and into the kingdom  Jul 15, 2006
Have church growth strategies in North America -- which have conspicuously built high profile megachurches and celebrity-like megachurch pastors -- had a net positive impact on 21st century North American culture? A net advancement of the church's mission in North America? That would be a difficult argument to make critically. The competition between congregations has instead arrived at a result wherein "the transfer of Christians from the dinghies to the cruise ships is pretty well complete." The bigger clubs' "member services" are better. The "increasingly high-maintenance church consumer" is mollified ("cruise ship" Christians* are, more accurately it seems, "Churchians"). But is the kingdom of God advanced?

"It's amazing what we don't see when we aren't looking!" says McNeal. The religious high-profilers at the time when Jesus taught in the streets and roadsides, homes and hillsides, "believed that the kingdom of God (the messianic reign) would only come on earth when enough people behaved properly . . . Jesus went around telling people that the kingdom had already arrived (Luke 10:9), that it was in them (Luke 17:21)." The religious high-profilers' "ladder for success was leaned up against the wrong wall. They had to kill Jesus. Religious people have always been a problem for God." p. 29 Don't miss the point, McNeal's theology isn't so poor that he is suggesting that God's got problems, rather he's arguing that it's time to think differently about Christian mission in North America. And, he argues, the New Testament, specifically Jesus' manner of engaging people in the Gospel accounts and the apostles' manner of doing the same in the book of Acts, provides a necessary but neglected picture of how Christians should be engaging in mission 2000 years later. When the first century church pressed into Asia, Europe, and Africa, it engaged a great range of ideologies, philosophies, and religions. This great, and more or less level playing field of ideas (including materialism, humanistic hedonism, magic, myriad religious sects, etc), more closely resembles the emerging postmodern world than the church (as socio-political entity) dominated pre-modern European world or the modern world of the past two centuries. The church has had a long-running love-hate relationship with modernism and has adopted many of the assumptions of modernity. The "come and get it" approach to evangelism that characterized the North American church of the 19th and 20th centuries will not work in a postmodern world any better than it would have worked in the world of the first century. The church of the future, like the church of the distant past, must engage people at a personal level, in the world -- not in the big tent prophecy show (be it in a big tent or a TV program), not in the church (club), and not in the megachurch (bigger, more impressive club).

McNeal makes all his salient points up front, stating the nature of the changing world. It's a rather easy thing to say 'looks folks, here's what's going on and here's the problem' (but it's also a necessary starting point). After the first 65 pages or so the book loses some steam. Dances with terminologies like "visioning process", "revisioning process", and "spiritual preparation architecture" are not always helpful. In long digressive discussions, McNeal comes to sound almost overconfident in his grasp of the problems and in his grasp of what the solutions will look like, before finally admitting, "The truth is, we don't know how we are going to be church in the emerging world. We're going to have to learn. And we'd better get started." p. 116

It is finally inescapable that the author has identified a lot of issues that need to be addressed but has only tentatively addressed them and perhaps created some misunderstandings along the way. Here McNeal visits statements that he wants the reader to understand he is NOT saying. He is not saying we need a postmodern church: "The last thing we need is a postmodern church. We need a church for postmodern people." p. 141

The book may have a few weaknesses (as is true of every human endeavor) but it is an important thesis. Like all things less than God himself, the Christian church, in it's journey across the centuries, has changed. It will have to change again. McNeal's book is a tool for the job at hand and includes some promising practical ideas.

* It's important to recognize that "churchianity" cannot be associated exclusively with the megachurch phenomenon. The long-lived 'secret handshake' of "church-speak" is typically associated with smaller and more traditional churches, and is counterproductive in the postmodern world (it's probably always been counterproductive). The apostles had no use for such secret handshakes and Jesus always engaged people where they were and in the language they spoke. This is the model to which Christians in a postmodern world must look.

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