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Kingdom Culture: Growing the Missional Church
This is a book of reflections on how a church become involved in God’s work in the world. Readers will be challenged by the author’s passionate devotion to spreading Christ’s name.

Phil Wagler is lead pastor of churches in the towns of Zurich and Clinton, Ontario, a vibrant ministry collectively known as Kingsfield.

Wagler writes to reflect on four slogans or declarations that arose through the reflection of the Kingsfield community in relation to Scripture and the lived experience of ministry.

Each declaration is illustrated through parables drawn from history and Wagler’s own life, and then fleshed out with attention to biblical themes and the story of the Kingsfield community.

The first declaration, “No one gets left behind,” provides an entry into the orientation of the church to people in need of the gospel, rather than merely preserving the programmatic status quo.

Next, the slogan “Our leaders lead” describes Wagler’s perspective that leadership ought to be freed to emerge in surprising ways, rather than be shackled to traditional structures whose rationale has long been forgotten.

By the third slogan, “I am a disciple of Jesus and I contribute to his kingdom,” Wagler articulates an understanding of ministry that centres on the notion of the God-given identity of Christian disciples and how this identity issues in a life of service.

Finally, the declaration “We exist for the world our Lord came to save” expresses a view of Christian existence that is aware of cultural trends in order that it might embody a countercultural alternative.

Readers from a broad range of Christian perspectives will be challenged by Wagler’s passionate devotion to spreading Christ’s name. However, some may wish for more clarity and depth to his understanding of the relationship between church authority, order and the freedom of the Spirit.

While Kingdom Culture is not really a book of theology or cultural analysis, it includes elements of both. It is the ecclesial reflections of a diligent labourer in the vineyard.

As such, its value is felt primarily in provoking questions about the way in which we’re involved in God’s work in the world. Such questions are always welcome.

Readers may also find more of Wagler’s writing in Canadian Mennonite and Seven, the magazine of Promise Keepers Canada.

Originally published in Faith Today, July/August 2010.

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