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As a Fire by Burning: Mission as the Life of the Local Congregation by Roger Standing

As a Fire by Burning: Mission as the Life of the Local Congregation
By Roger Standing
SCM Press, London 2013
ISBN 978-0-334-04370-6
Reviewed by Paul Beasley-Murray

As a Fire by BurningThis guide to mission is divided into two parts.  Part I ‘Mission in Context’ contains a collection of sixteen essays, most of which are written by local pastors, dealing with a wide variety of specific contests, such as: urban, rural, large-church, small-church, black-majority church, multi-cultural, city centre, and cathedrals   

Part II ‘Mission and the Local Congregation’ is written by Roger Standing himself, and deals with such issues as mission and evangelism, worship and mission, missional disciple-making, mission and leadership, mission and third-agers, and mission and the occasional offices.  I would imagine that much of the material in Part II is drawn from lectures Roger Standing gives to students at Spurgeon’s College.

I particularly appreciated the experiences of local mission shared by working ministers in Part I of the book.  Not surprisingly, because I too am pastor of a so-called ‘large’ church, I found of particularly interest the essay on ‘mission in a large church context’ (pp47-54) by Simon Jones, senior minister of Bromley Baptist Church. This essay abounded with all sorts of ideas and insights – so much so that I have given copies of it to all the members of my leadership team. 

For whom is this book intended?  There is probably no one audience:  pastors will perhaps be more interested in the first section, and students the second section.

Sadly, the cost of this book will probably mean that it will end up on the shelves of theological college libraries.   However, ministers on sabbatical could well profit from dipping into this broad-ranging book on mission.

The Revd Dr Paul Beasley Murray is Senior Minister of Central Baptist Church, Chelmsford

Baptist Times, 06/12/2013
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A specialist book which must get beyond the specialists as it speaks into prejudice, inter-faith issues and basic hospitality
A serious, professional and manageable contribution to Bible study on a highly relevant contemporary concern, as well as a gift to those looking for Bible Study relevant to today’s world
Excellent book telling stories of mission which challenges our preconceptions, especially about what constitutes success
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Reprint of books published in 2013 and 2014; but the re-tellings reinforce a cosy fiction
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