The Church as Movement: Starting and Sustaining Missional-Incarnational Communities, By JR Woodward and Dan White Jr. alt

The Church as Movement

Starting and Sustaining Missional-Incarnational Communities

by JR Woodward and Dan White Jr.
Foreword by Alan Hirsch

The Church as Movement
  • Length: 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 0 × 0 in
  • Published: July 14, 2016
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 9362
  • ISBN: 9780830893621

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IVP Readers' Choice Award
Missio Alliance Essential Reading List

Public gatherings are vital for movement, but too often in our approach to planting churches, we haven't paid enough attention to the difficult grassroots work of movement: discipleship, community formation, and mission. This book will help you start missional-incarnational communities in a way that reflects the viral movement of the early New Testament church.

JR Woodward (author of Creating a Missional Culture) and Dan White Jr. (author of Subterranean) have trained church planters all over North America to create movemental churches that are rooted in the neighborhood, based on eight necessary competencies:

  • Movement Intelligence
  • Polycentric Leadership
  • Being Disciples
  • Making Disciples
  • Missional Theology
  • Ecclesial Architecture
  • Community Formation
  • Incarnational Practices

The book features an interactive format with tools, exercises, and reflection questions and activities. It's ideal for church planting teams or discipleship groups to use together.

It's not enough to understand why the church needs more missional and incarnational congregations.The Church as Movement will also show you how to make disciples that make disciples. This is the engine that drives the church as movement, so that everyday Christians can be present in the world to join God's mission in the way of Jesus.

"One of the strengths of the book derives from the fact that JR and Dan are reflective practitioners: both have planted churches, are leading a wonderful new movement called V3 and have been training planters all across North America. . . . Furthermore, their understanding of movement is wonderfully minimalist without being reductionist. The result is that it can be practiced by ordinary, everyday Christians. Here they activate the essence of movement—where everyone, regardless of race, gender and class, is an active agent in the game. Jesus movement is people movement!"

Alan Hirsch, founder, 100Movements, Forge Mission Training Network, Future Travelers, coauthor of The Permanent Revolution (from the foreword)

"JR and Dan have produced a simple, intensely practical guide for those of us who want to shift from merely sustaining the 'religious industrial complex' to unleashing a dynamic missional church planting movement. The Church as Movement is full of ideas on missional discipleship, rhythms of life, cultural exegesis, fivefold leadership models and more, all anchored in a beautiful biblical vision of the sent-and-sending God."

Michael Frost, author of The Shaping of Things to Come, Exiles and The Road to Missional

"The Church as Movement is a book I wish I'd been able to get my hands on twenty years ago. I got into church planting because I wanted to be a disciple and make disciples of Jesus. Instead, I encountered a system that largely measured success in terms of attendance, budgets, and buildings. Woodward and White not only offer an alternate transformational vision, they have created an immensely practical resource. I've seen their work firsthand and am deeply encouraged by their ability to come alongside leaders and equip them to embody the way of Jesus in their local communities."

Mark Scandrette, founder, ReIMAGINE, author of Practicing the Way of Jesus, Free, and Belonging and Becoming

"In The Church as Movement White and Woodward rewrite what it means to cultivate and grow churches in the mission fields of post-Christendom. Accomplishing the impossible, they provide an exhaustive preparation for those who dare to navigate this terrain. It's a learning experience enormous in its aspirations yet so necessary for the task that lies ahead for the church in mission."

David Fitch, B. R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology, Northern Seminary, author of Faithful Presence

"If you want to see the church through a radically different lens and recover the vision of how ordinary Christians working together in the neighborhood can become the greatest hope for change in these fractured and fragmented times, then this book is your guide."

Tim Soerens, cofounder and director, Parish Collective, coauthor of The New Parish

"Theologically and theoretically complex and robust, yet practically so transferable in its attentiveness to movement dynamics and awareness of place-based disciple-making. This is a book that will surprise and challenge trained practitioners while offering tools that are adaptable enough for real movement. I believe even the title is a phrase that will become integral to the new vocabulary of church multiplication. I honestly wish I had written it myself!"

Linda Bergquist, church planting catalyst and coach, coauthor of Church Turned Inside Out

"JR and Dan use their wisdom and experience to help churches plant churches that better reflect the effectiveness of the early church, emphasizing the importance of community and discipleship."

Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College

"This is a book on Christian movement and church planting that I enjoyed reading and want to commend to many others seeking to discern innovative ways of being God's people in a time of massive change. JR and Dan have written with wisdom. They distill their on-the-ground experience into a book that is practical, instructive, and informed with theological imagination. They offer the reader a direction for this journey toward a movement of God's people in our day. Like any book, one isn't going to agree with everything, but this is one of a few books in this field I want to recommend."

Alan Roxburgh, The Missional Network, author of Joining God, Remaking Church, Changing the World

"Practitioner led, biblically based, and theologically sound. In this book, JR and Dan have been able to navigate the line between missiology and strategy by presenting a team guide for discipleship and church planting. So buy this book, gather your friends together, and learn how to start a movement that will change your city!"

Daniel Im, director of church multiplication,, coauthor of Planting Missional Churches

"What I love about JR and Dan is that they don't just write about the stuff of missional discipleship, they live it! The Church as Movement is a real gift to the church. It is not only crammed full of practical wisdom, but is written in a way that is accessible to everybody."

Debra Hirsch, author of Untamed and Redeeming Sex

"This is a book of wisdom by thoughtful practitioners, experienced and mature in their own leadership. It provides valuable help in an integrated approach that many will find inspiring and, most of all, truly helpful."

Mark Labberton, president, Fuller Theological Seminary

"A church building or sign is no indicator that the community of God is truly present as a transforming force in any particular place. This book pushes us to see the church as it was meant to be biblically and as it needs to be today in order to advance the kingdom of God. Missional, incarnational movement and discipleship cannot be optional ideas for the church but must be core essentials so that the justice and truth of God is experienced in a broken world."

Efrem Smith, president and CEO, World Impact, author of The Hip Hop Church and The Post-Black and Post-White Church

"The early church was a spiritual-social movement and The Church as Movement insightfully shows what that means today. Woodward and White insist the church is not church if it is not a genuine community of disciples following Jesus. They are right when they say, 'We need to water the small, over and over, and allow God's Spirit to blow on the embers.' This is the powerful essence of The Church as Movement."

Howard A. Snyder, visiting director, Manchester Wesley Research Centre, England

"In The Church as Movement, JR and Dan provide leaders who are concerned about being faithful to the values of the kingdom with a compelling examination of the kind of leadership required to touch the deepest yearnings of our generation. Instead of offering trendy relevance, the church imagined in this new book offers hope by calling us to sacrificially love our neighbors and our neighborhoods as brothers and sisters committed to live as followers of Jesus the Christ."

Noel Castellanos, CEO and president, CCDA

"Much recent writing about how to do church has dealt with tasks and ideas. But if the church is God's expression of himself on the earth, then isn't it important for the church to also grow from our own engagement with God? If the church is to be authentic, it will require us as leaders to submit to God's ongoing work of personal transformation. This is hard work, so we need guides that invite whole-person engagement, trusting that as we experience the mission of God in our own lives, we know more deeply how to live it out in our communities. The Church as Movement is that kind of guide."

Mandy Smith, lead pastor, University Christian Church, author of The Vulnerable Pastor

"JR Woodward and Dan White Jr.'s words have helped us incarnate in our neighborhood in Honolulu the very Word that desires to made flesh in all neighborhoods. While holding together the critical tension between imagination and implementation, they provide us with a missional map, a creative compass, technical tools, and a renewed sense of hope for the journey. A truly innovative offering."

Kevin and Christine Sweeney, copastors, Imagine Church, Honolulu

"This back-to-basics book on pastoral theology could benefit the involved layperson as well as pastors. Indeed, much of the book explains how to stoke lay involvement in a way that's real, practical, Spirit-driven, and faithful."

Gerald Wisz, Christian Market, August 2016


List of Figures and Tables
Foreword by Alan Hirsch

Part I: Distributing
1. Movement Intelligence
2. Polycentric Leadership

Part II: Discipling
3. Being Disciples
4. Making Disciples

Part III: Designing
5. Missional Theology
6. Ecclesial Architecture

Part IV: Doing
7. Community Formation
8. Incarnational Practice

Epilogue: Living in Light of God's Future
Recommended Reading
About the Authors


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JR Woodward

JR Woodward is a church planter, activist, missiologist, and the national director for church planting with V3. His books include Creating a Missional Culture and The Church as Movement.

Dan White Jr.

Dan White Jr. co-leads Axiom Church, a developing network of missional communities in the urban neighborhoods of Syracuse, New York. After being a full-time pastor for fifteen years, his family along with four other families moved into the city to pioneer a discipleship-centered, mission-oriented, community-shaped, neighborhood-rooted approach to being the church. Dan works as a consultant and missional coach with the V3 Movement, which trains, plants, and seeds missional expressions throughout the country. He also co-founded the Praxis Gathering, an annual gathering of more than two hundred on-the-ground missional practitioners. Dan is the author of Subterranean: Why the Future of the Church is Rootedness and his writing has been featured in The Christian Post, The Missional Times, Next Generation Church Leader, Outreach Magazine, Jesus Creed, Church Leaders Magazine, and the Huffington Post. He has also been featured as a speaker and presenter at the Sentralized Conference, Inhabit Conference, and Missio Alliance Gathering.

See how V3 Movement and the Praxis Gathering are transforming communities.