The latest issue of ANVIL journal of theology and mission is now available on the Church Mission Society website.
The theme is pioneer ministry and innovation, and guest editor Paul Bradbury has drawn together a rich mix of articles coming at the subject from both theoretical and practical angles.
Mike Moynagh draws on thinking from a variety of fields to present a framework for innovation and shows how, contrary to the way the subject is commonly perceived, innovation and tradition have a symbiotic relationship.
Picking up the theme of the relationship between tradition, or institution, and innovation – and the tensions therein – is Richard Passmore, who reports on his attempts to “playfully push the boundaries of orthodoxy” in Cumbria, part of the church’s (ecumenical) vision of “God for all”.
Lucy Moore, the founder of Messy Church, tells the story of its journey from tiny beginnings to a worldwide movement. Katrina Moss, the founder of the Chaiya Art Awards, questions whether we are really embracing the degree of creative and innovative talent latent in the church. And Greg Bakker reflects on the crucial importance of pioneer advocates – those who make space for and champion pioneers within the wider structures.
Paul’s own contribution roots all this in Scripture with a reflection on Ezekiel. As he is guest editor he gets the last word:
Our growing emphasis on innovation as a church, of which the growth and development of pioneer ministry is one expression, is a response to a sense of urgency and even crisis. The people of God have been there before – not least in the exile, when the traditional ways of expressing life and faith had to be reinvented.
In this context Ezekiel emerges as a model for innovative leadership, holding together in fiercely realistic hope a vision for the future alongside a responsibility for the tradition. It is from that same place that these articles emerge too, seeking to bring encouragement, insight and energy to the ongoing process of faithful innovation in the life of the church.