Worship as Missional Practice

Australian Vineyard Case Studies

in Ecclesial Practices
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The corporate worship gathering has been centrally important to Vineyard Churches, but the Emerging Missional Church (emc) movement has challenged them to reconsider how corporate worship interfaces with mission. A linked series of case studies of three Australian Vineyard churches identifies several functions of the Sunday worship gathering. Worship is a ‘centripetal embrace’ for God’s people; which brings focus, community, continuity and a climax to the week. But worship as missional practice is equally about centrifugal release and the need for encouragement, equipping, empowering, direction and missional impetus. These functions are consistent with James Smith’s appeal for worship that forms disciples whose desires are shaped towards the Kingdom of God and whose imaginations are captured with a vision for being actors in God’s story.

Worship as Missional Practice

Australian Vineyard Case Studies

in Ecclesial Practices




J J Loughran‘Effective Reflective Practice: in Search of Meaning in Learning about Teaching,’ Journal of Teacher Educationvol. 53 no. 1 (Jan-Feb 2002) pp. 33–43; see also Donald A Schön The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action (New York: Basic 1983).


 Cf. R T McCutcheonThe Insider/Outsider Problem in the Study of Religion: A Reader (London: Cassell1999).


James Nieman and Roger Haight‘On the Dynamic Relation between Ecclesiology and Congregational Studies,’ in Explorations in Ecclesiology and Ethnographyed. Christian B Scharen (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 2012) p. 11 (9–33).


Nieman and Haight‘Ecclesiology and Congregational Studies’ p. 30.


Dallas WillardThe Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco1990) p. 178.


Frost and HirschShaping pp. 33–107.


Frost and HirschShaping p. 41.


 E.g. Chad Hall‘Missional: Possible Steps to Transform a Consumer Church into a Missional Church,’ Leadership Journal (Winter 2007) p. 35; Mark Sayers ‘5 Things We Got Wrong in the Emerging Missional Church’ Mark Sayers: Faith & Culture blog http://marksayers.wordpress.com/older-articles/5-things-we-got-wrong-in-the-emerging-missional-church/ accessed 22 October 2013.


Alan HirschThe Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church (Grand Rapids: Brazos2006) 34–37.


Hugh Halter and Matt SmayAnd: The Gathered and Scattered Church (Grand Rapids: Zondervan2010) 26. The point of difference between what Halter and Smay suggest and what Vineyard churches represent is in the definition of purpose of the gathered church. The primary focus of And is that people are gathered in order to prepare for mission. There is very little emphasis of worship or community as values of the gathered people of God which are primary Vineyard corporate gathering values.


Alan Hirsch and Dave FergusonOn the Verge: A Journey into the Apostolic Future of the Church (Grand Rapids: Zondervan2011) pp. 40–42.


Hirsch and FergusonOn the Verge p. 42.


Anthony F. C. Wallace‘Revitalization Movements: Some Theoretical Considerations for Their Comparative Study,’ American Anthropologistvol. 58 (1956) pp. 64–281.


SmithImagining the Kingdom p. 151.


 E.g. Martin E. Marty‘From the Centripetal to the Centrifugal in Culture and Religion: the Revolution Within this Century,’ Theology Today 51:1 (1994) pp. 5–16.


Robert L. PlummerPaul’s Understanding of the Church’s Mission (Milton Keynes: Paternoster2006).


David J. BoschTransforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (Maryknoll: Orbis1991) p. 385.


SmithImagining the Kingdom p. 154.


Norman J. Faramelli‘The Future of the Local Congregation in Urban Ministry,’ Anglican Theological Review76:4 (1994) pp. 483–94


SmithImagining the Kingdom p. 157.


 See Jean-Francois LyotardThe Postmodern Condition: a Report on Knowledge (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota1984) p. xxiv.


SmithImagining the Kingdom p. 182.


Eddie GibbsLeadership Next: Changing Leaders in a Changing Culture (Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press2005) p. 76.


SmithImagining the Kingdom p. 153.


SmithImagining the Kingdom pp. 3 154.


SmithImagining the Kingdom p. 138.


John PiperLet the Nations Be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions (Grand Rapids: Baker2003) p. 12.


Catherine Mowry LaCugnaGod For Us: The Trinity and Christian Life (Harper: San Francisco1991) p. 272; Miroslav Volf After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1998).


SmithImagining the Kingdom pp. 2–3.


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