Aberrant Time: The season in which the US church flourished was an “aberrant time.” An aberration is not the norm, it “is in fact a departure from the normal state of affairs.”[1] The conditions that caused the Christendom, largely attractional, corporate iteration of the church to thrive in the US have changed. This describes the challenge of the church is not a technical problem with a technical solution, but an adaptive challenge.

Adaptive Challenge—According to Ronald Heifetz: When a person or group faces discontinuous or accumulative incremental change, which requires a reconsideration and reformation of basic beliefs, values, and practices[2]

Adaptive Leadership: Concerns an innate ability to adapt to diverse, chaotic, and complex environments, thereby assisting organizations and individuals in dealing with consequential changes in uncertain times, when no clear answers are forthcoming.[3]

Apostolic: Derived from the New Testament root word apostello (from koine Greek for sent, to send). Hirsch remind us, “In the New Testament, apostolic refers variously to one of the spiritual gifts (charismata) and vocations (kleseos) that God gave to his people so that the ecclesia can directly extend the ministry of Christ in the world.” (emphasis mine) [4]

Attractional Model: A model that consists of a “come to us” kind of marketing strategy. “If you build it they will come” is a motto of the attractional church.

Bitcoin: A type of digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, a blockchain structure operating independently of a central bank.

Blended Ecology: Fresh expressions of church in symbiotic relationship with inherited forms of church, in such a way that the combining of these attractional and missional modes merge to create a nascent form. This term speaks more potently to the new prevalent family forms, creative process, current cultural realities, and the ancient agrarian language of Jesus’ teaching.[5]

Chaordic: A word coined by Dee Hock that combines chaos and order. A kind of organization that can balance core principles at the center (order), while sustaining experimentation, creativity, and innovation on the edge (chaos).[6]

Christendom: Is the iteration of Christianity that began with Emperor Constantine and is now fading as the dominant form of Western Christianity today. It assumes Christianity as the state religion, and is primarily attractional in nature. Or simply, “the seventeen-hundred-year-long era with Christianity at the privileged center of Western Cultural life.[7]

Contextual Intelligence: Refers to “an individual’s ability to adapt to the environment, solving problems in specific situations.”[8] Contextual Intelligence, comes from the Latin contextere which means “to weave together;” and the conjunction of two Latin words: inter which means “between” and legere which means “to choose or read.” Contextual Intelligence is literally about “accurately reading between the lines” (the threads that intertwine to form a context). So, the ability to accurately diagnose a context and make the correct decisions regarding what to do.[9]

Defrag Tools: In the maintenance of file systems, defragmentation is a process that reduces the amount of fragmentation in a system. It removes the clutter from a computer, so it can function at full capacity again. For our purposes, the defrag tools combine the simple old/new practices and processes to help defrag congregations and communities. They are simple suggested templates to be adapted for local contexts.

Design Thinking: A model of thought and reflection centered on people. It refers to design-specific cognitive activities that designers apply during the process of designing. This methodology is a new way of thinking and approaching problems, that has become a main issue in contemporary design and discourse, widely used as a tool across disciplines.

Disruptive Innovation: A technology whose application significantly affects the way a market functions. Pioneered by Clayton Christensen, disruptive innovation brings disruptive solutions to the market that serve a new population of consumers, thus creating a new market and value network and eventually disrupting an existing market and value network.[10]

DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid, a self-replicating material present in nearly all living organisms as the main constituent of chromosomes. It is the carrier of genetic information. Most DNA molecules consist of two biopolymer strands coiled around each other to form a double helix.

Dones: People who once practiced a religion, but no longer do.

Dubstep: A form of dance music, typically instrumental, characterized by a sparse, syncopated rhythm and a strong bassline.

Emergence: Under the broader umbrella of complexity theory, emergence refers to novel and coherent forms (structure, pattern, order) arising from the dynamic synergistic interplay among elements at successive layers within a complex adaptive system,[11] or more simply, the irreducibility of the properties of the whole to the characteristics of its parts.[12]

Emerging Church: A contextual form of church that reaches and serves people currently outside the inherited church. They are shaped from a relational interaction between people, cultures, and the Gospel. Sometimes compared/contrasted with the “inherited church.” Also referred to as “modern, missional, scattered” and fresh expressions of church.

First Place: The home or primary place of residence.

Second Place: The workplace or school place.

Third Place: The public places separate from the two usual social environments of home and workplace, that “host regular, voluntary, informal, and happily anticipated gatherings of individuals…” examples are environments such as cafes, pubs, clubs, parks, and so on.[13]

Flows: In a networked society culture is now mobile, moving along a complex web of interconnected networks. Flows facilitate the movement of people, objects, and things from one node to another in social space. Cultures consist of bundles of dynamic practices, connected across space and time through structured flows of information and media. Flows are the means through which these movements and connections occur.[14]

Fresh Expressions: A fresh expression is a form of church for our changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of those who are not yet part of any church.

Futurefitting: Refers to the planting of fresh expressions in communal ecosystems, and restructuring inherited congregations in the blended ecology way, to create a sustainable future. Futurefitting is a more appropriate description of the Spirit’s work of cultivating colonies of new creation in existing communities, rather than retrofitting.

Globalization: The worldwide movement toward economic, financial, trade, and communications integration. Globalization implies the opening of local and nationalistic perspectives to a broader outlook of an interconnected and interdependent world with free transfer of capital, goods, and services across national frontiers.

Grafting: is an asexual propagation technique. In this process, a shoot system (called a scion) of one species is grafted on the root system (called a rootstock) of another. Paul takes up the language of grafting to describe the new composite reality of God’s people as both gentile and Jew (Rom11:17-21).

Green Space: An area of grass, trees, or other vegetation set apart for recreational or aesthetic purposes in an otherwise urban environment. Also known as “open space.”

Habitat: A habitat is an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by a certain species of animal, plant, or other type of organism. The term typically refers to the zone in which the organism lives and where it can find food, shelter, protection and mates for reproduction, utilizing the qualities the species has adapted to survive within the ecology of the habitat.

Habitus: A system of dispositions, a corporeal knowledge that we carry in our bodies. A kind of second nature, or hardwiring, formed by story, parents, peers, and the repeated physicality of doing things again and again. Repeated behaviors become, habitual, reflexive, and borne in our bodies. Learning habitus involves both bodily movement—kinesthetics—and engagement of the imagination—poetics.[15]

Implemental Leadership: Concerns the implementation of a set of competencies and skills for experiments, systems, and practices by which we live out our identity and agency.

Improvisation: Is the process of devising a solution to a requirement by making-do, despite absence of resources that might be expected to produce a solution. In a technical context, this can mean adapting a device for some use other than that which it was designed for, or building a device from unusual components in an ad-hoc fashion.

Inherited Church: A form of church passed on as a precious gift by the saints of generations past. As in our parents leaving us an incredibly valuable “inheritance” that we must now learn how to steward well. Sometimes compared/contrasted with the “emerging church.” Also referred to as “traditional, attractional, gathered” church.

Interpretive Leadership: In the church, this is the work of shaping and resourcing a community of interpreters. Through deep listening to God, Scripture, and context, this type of leadership can bring to the consciousness of the people the reality of the legitimating narrative in which they live. Interpretive leaders also lead the community of interpreters in attending to the presence and activities of the Spirit, which includes shaping environments around Scripture in contextually sensitive ways, and creating new social imaginaries.[16]

Keystone Species: A species on which other species in an ecosystem largely depend, such that if it were removed the ecosystem would change drastically. In the church sphere, I propose that we think of all Christians as keystone species in the way of five-fold Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds, and Teachers.

Leadership: Is energizing a community of people toward their own transformation in order to accomplish a shared mission in the face of a changing world.[17]

Learned Helplessness: An intuitive notion of helplessness, accompanied by the belief that nothing one does matters.

Legitimating Narrative: An overarching story that provides a group (a small unit or a whole society) with a way to express its underlying values, beliefs and commitments about who they are and how life is to be lived.[18]

Mash-up: A recording created by digitally combining and synchronizing instrumental tracks with vocal tracks from two or more different songs.

Mearcstapas or Border-Stalkers: An Old English term from Beowulf, those who moved between the ancient tribes, living on the edges of their groups, moving in and out, bringing back good news, helping fragmented cultural tribes find hope and reconciliation.[19]

Missional: Derived from the term Missio Dei (from Latin for mission of God), understands mission as a primary attribute of God, and the posture of local churches called to fulfill the mission of God in their context.[20] This concept became increasingly popular in the church from the second half of the 20th century and is a key concept in missiology employed by prominent theologians such as David Bosch, Lesslie Newbigin, Darrell Guder, Alan Roxburgh, and Alan Hirsch.

Missional Hermeneutic: An interpretive approach that privileges mission as the key to reading the Scriptures.

Missional Model: A model that consists of “we go to them” kind of strategy. An incarnational, and relational approach where we enter the world of the other and stay.

Mixed Economy: In business, an economy in which some industries are privately owned and others are publicly owned or nationalized; or an economy that combines elements of capitalism and socialism, mixing some individual ownership and regulation.

In church, a diversity of ecclesial forms in which fresh expressions of church existing alongside inherited forms in relationships of mutual respect and support[21]

Mixed Ecology: The “mixed economy” is exactly the late 20th century corporate language from which our legitimating narrative needs to be rescued. The word “ecology” is more appropriate, from the Scriptural, organic and agricultural language of farming rather than business[22]

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism—Guiding Beliefs: 1. A god exists who created and orders the world and watches over life. 2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and other religions. 3. The central goal of life is to be happy and feel good about oneself. 4. God is not involved in my life until I need God to resolve a problem. 5. Good people go to heaven when they die.[23]

mRNA: The template for protein synthesis; the form of RNA that carries information from DNA in the nucleus to the ribosome sites of protein synthesis in the cell. Abbreviated form for messenger ribonucleic acid, the type of RNA that codes for the chemical blueprint for a protein (during protein synthesis).

Network: A group or system of interconnected people, typically centered around hobbies, work, education, sports, food, art, activism, etc. Typically includes the blending of online and face to face gatherings.

Network Society: We are currently now in a period of historical transition between different forms of society, moving from the Industrial Age into the Information Age. The network society consists of a social structure made up of networks enabled by micro-electronics-based information and communications technologies.[24] The massive social shifts have literally transformed the human experience of space and time. In a network society, we must now recognize the difference between two kinds of space… the space of place and the space of flows.

Nones: People who claim no religious affiliation or practice.

Permission Givers: People who use their role to foster release of pioneers and to influence the system to be more willing to experiment.

Pioneers: Are passionate about mission on the edges.

Polycentric Leadership: Successful communities, even those with long traditions of organized community leadership, will continue to broaden the circles of leadership to create a system for the community that is neither centralized nor decentralized, but rather polycentric. The polycentric view of community leadership assumes that there are many centers of leadership that interrelate.[25]

Post-Christendom: A state following the seventeen-hundred-year-long era in which Christianity enjoyed a position at the privileged center of Western Cultural life.

Practices: Practices are the embodiments of values. This is the living out of values in such a way that they can be observed and experienced by others.[26]

Processes: The series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.

Relational Leadership: Concerns attention and activity patterns that discover, initiate, nurture, and sanction the human connections that comprise a social entity.[27]

Re-missioning: Is the process of reorienting a church around the Great Commission in a local setting. Where revitalization often involves internal adjustments—an inside-out approach. Re-missioning involves an outside-in approach. As we join what the Spirit is up to in our communities, the congregation experiences positive transformation.

Remix: To mix again; or to create a new version by recombining and re-editing the elements of the existing.

Retrofitting: Refers to the addition of new technology or features to older systems. In urban planning, engineers are tasked with retrofitting cities with new green technologies, and the addition of green spaces, to minimize pollution and improve the quality of life.

Social Imaginary: According to Charles Taylor, the ways people imagine their social existence, how they relate to others, how things go on between them and others, normal expectations, and the underlying notions of these expectations. [28]

Space of Place: Space, throughout human history, has been “the material support of simultaneity in human social practice.” So, cities for instance, are communication systems, increasing the chance of communication through physical contiguity (direct contact). Castells calls the space of place, the space of contiguity.[29]

Space of Flows: Through the amalgamation of microelectronic and communication technologies, along with computerized transportation, “simultaneity was introduced in social relationships at a distance” (distanced contact). This transformation of the spatiality of social interaction through simultaneity creates a new kind of space… the space of flows. Castells defines the space of flows as, “the material support of simultaneous social practices communicated at a distance.”[30] The new missional frontier consists of both these forms of space. The network society is an interconnected matrix, enabled by these technologically enabled flows.

Supporters: Are passionate about supporting and releasing pioneers.

Traditioned Innovation: is a way of thinking and living that holds the past and future together in creative tension, a habit of being that depends on wise judgment, requiring both a deep fidelity to the patterns of the past that have borne us to the present and a radical openness to the changes that will carry us forward[31]

Trophic Cascades: Occur when predators in a food web suppress the abundance or alter the behavior of their prey, thereby releasing the next lower trophic level from predation. An ecological phenomenon triggered by the addition or removal of keystone species, which often results in dramatic changes in ecosystem structure and nutrient cycling. For our purposes, releasing keystones species refers to the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds, and Teachers in our local churches.





[1] Rendle, Gilbert R. Quietly Courageous: Leading the Church in a Changing World. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, an imprint of The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc, 2019. Pp. 21-23

[2] Heifetz, Ronald A., and Martin Linsky. Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading (Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Press, 2002), 13.

[3] Hirsch, Alan, Tim Catchim, and Mike Breen. The permanent revolution: apostolic imagination and practice for the 21st century church (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012), 69.

[4] Hirsch, Alan. The Permanent Revolution: Apostolic Imagination and Practice for the 21st Century Church. [San Francisco, 2012], P. 101

[5] Beck, Michael. Deep Roots, Wild Branches: Revitalizing the Church in the Blended Ecology. Franklin, TN: Seedbed Publishing, 2019.

[6] Hirsch, Alan, Tim Catchim, and Mike Breen. The permanent revolution: apostolic imagination and practice for the 21st century church (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012), 218.

[7] Quoted in, Bolsinger, Tod E. Canoeing the mountains: Christian leadership in uncharted territory (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Books, an imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2016), 38.

[8] Sternberg, Robert J. “Toward a Triarchic Theory of Human Intelligence.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 7, no. 2 (1984): 269–287. P. 142.

[9] Kutz, Matthew R. Contextual Intelligence: Smart Leadership for a Constantly Changing World. Perrysburg, Ohio: RTG Publishing, 2013. Pp. 8-9

[10] Flynn, James T. (James Thomas). “MOOCs: Disruptive Innovation and the Future of Higher Education.” Christian Education Journal 10, no. 1: 149-162. (2013) Accessed September 14, 2017.

[11] Yezdani, Omer, Louis Sanzogni, and Arthur Poropat. “Theory of Emergence: Introducing a Model-centered Approach to Applied Social Science Research.” Prometheus 33, no. 3: 305-322 (2015): 306.

[12] Valentinov, Vladislav, Stefan Hielscher, and Ingo Pies. 2016. “Emergence: A Systems Theory’s Challenge to Ethics.” Systemic Practice & Action Research 29, no. 6: 597-610 (2016): 597.

[13] Oldenburg, Ray. The Great Good Place: Cafés, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community. New York Berkeley, Calif: Marlowe Distributed by Publishers Group West, 1999. P. 16.

[14] Bolger, Ryan K. 2007. “Practice movements in global information culture: looking back to McGavran and finding a way forward.” Missiology 35, no. 2: 181-193. (2007), 188.

[15] Kreider, Alan. The Patient Ferment of the Early Church: The Improbable Rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2016), 39-40.

[16] Branson, Mark Lau. “Interpretive Leadership During Social Dislocation: Jeremiah and Social Imaginary.” Journal Of Religious Leadership 8, no. 1: 27-48 (2009): 29.

[17] Bolsinger, Tod E. Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Books, an imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2016), 36.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Fujimura, Makoto. Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for Our Common Life (New York: Fujimura Institute, 2014), 39.

[20] Roxburgh, Alan J. Missional Map-Making: Skills for Leading in Times of Transition (San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass, 2010), xix.

[21] Moynagh, Michael. Being Church, Doing Life: Creating Gospel Communities Where Life Happens. (Oxford, England, UK Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA: Monarch Books, 2014), 432.

[22] Carter, Kenneth H. A New Kind of Methodist Church for People Not in Church (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 2017), 72.

[23] Ibid., 14

[24]  Castells, Manuel. The rise of the network society. Oxford Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publishers, 2000. Pp. xvii-xviii.

[25] Suzanne Morse, quoted in Woodward, J. R. Creating a missional culture : equipping the church for the sake of the world. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2012. P. 60

[26] Hirsch, Alan, and Dave Ferguson. On the Verge: A Journey Into the Apostolic Future of the Church (Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2011), 174.

[27] Branson, Mark Lau. “Interpretive leadership during social dislocation: Jeremiah and social imaginary.” Journal Of Religious Leadership 8, no. 1: 27-48 (2009): 29.

[28] (C. Taylor 2004, 23)

[29] Ibid., xxxi.

[30] Ibid., P. xxxi.

[31] Ibid., 51.