Welcome to thedynamicadventure.com, the companion website to Dynamic Adventure: A Guide to Starting and Shaping Missional Churches.
As you click around this site you may well be thinking, “This is interesting, but who are the people behind it? Why have they written a book on missional church planting? And, what credibility do they have to write it?” You are asking excellent questions! I’d like to take a few minutes of your time to introduce ourselves to you and explain the motivation behind all things Dynamic Adventure.
Who and What is Dynamic Adventure?
I’m Mike Kuder, Dynamic Adventure project manager. I’m on staff with Communitas International, a global church planting network. Communitas is preparing to celebrate 50 years of church planting, mainly in the post-christian cultures of Western Europe. Over the past two decades as God has increased our capacity we’ve also started or partnered with projects in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Communitas projects vary greatly in size, in form, and frankly in rates of ‘success.’ In our network there are small, home-based faith communities, large nearly ‘mega’ sized congregations, and everything in between. We’ve got a few ‘new monastic’ communities and many communities that are deeply integrated in (or have even emerged from) the homeless or immigrant populations around the world.
With such a broad range of churches and projects across many different cultures, Communitas has learned a lot about starting and shaping missional churches. In our five decades of experience we’ve learned quite a bit about what to do, and at least our fair share of what not to do to birth healthy, sustainable, disciple-making, and reproducing churches. But we’re not claiming to be experts; only to have experience. After all, only Jesus can build His church, right?
An approach to missional church
That’s where Dynamic Adventure comes into the picture. It’s an effort of our writing team: Dan Steigerwald, Deb Loyd, April Te Grootenhuis Crull, and me to curate our group’s collective experiences into an approach to missional church planting. It’s not a formula or a recipe – just add the right ingredients and voila a church is formed. No, we’ve got too much experience (and hopefully, integrity) to ever suggest that. Rather, in presenting an approach we hope to provide a framework for you and your team to dream about, discuss, and then implement your own unique version of the individual and corporate practices we have observed in healthy, sustainable, and reproducing missional churches (what we call “dynamics”).
In other words, the guide is an effort to lead you into knowing how to decide what to do, not to tell you what to do to start or shape a missional expression of church. That’s a key distinction, especially when we’re talking about missional expressions of church. By definition, a missional expression of church ought to emerge out of a context, not be superimposed onto it. And that’s where it can get tricky.
an example “dynamic”
Take for example the first dynamic, embed. Most of us would agree that immersing deeply into a culture is an important first step in missional church planting. Yet our experience shows that very few of us actually know how to embed, much less lead a group or team into a season of deep, spirit-led listening in our context. As a result, many of us default to a quick checklist of action items to accomplish as rapidly as possible so that we can get on to the ‘real work’ of starting our project.
That’s where Dynamic Adventure can be of tremendous value. We’ve provided nine learning exercises for the embed dynamic alone, all designed to lead your team to understand the concept and imagine how it applies to your context. But the exercises don’t stop there. The final, crucial step is to guide your team in designing and implementing an embedding plan that emerges from your team in your specific context. That’s the heartbeat of Dynamic Adventure. Helping your team explore its unique calling and context, and guiding your team through dialog and discernment to follow God into your neighborhood.
Why Dynamic Adventure?
That’s also why we’ve developed this website. In keeping with the metaphor of the guide, as missional pioneers we truly are on an adventure. That adventure is difficult, filled with joy one day and frustration and confusion the next. Our prayerful hope is for this site to become a meeting place for missional pioneers like you to share with each other stories and lessons learned from your unique journeys. We’ve got a lot to learn from each other! We believe that as missional pioneers we’re all on the same team. The Kingdom team. Regardless of who we ‘work for’ – our specific denominations, groups, or churches – ultimately we are all called by Jesus to announce His reign to the world, and His kingdom is best served when we learn to encourage and support each other. What you learn on your journey in Boston is valuable to other pioneers in Boise – or even Berlin.
Finally, a quick word about the motivation behind Dynamic Adventure. Simply put, in it’s fifty year history of church planting in many contexts, Communitas has had a front row seat to the incredible changes happening around the world. People and cultures are undergoing rapid and profound transformations. In some cases, once ‘Christian’ nations are now ‘unreached people groups.’ We’ve observed how existing forms of church have or have not adapted to address these shifts. We affirm the good work of both the historic and present church! At the same time we also recognize that new expressions of church must emerge that stay true to the gospel and have the courage to explore new forms of engagement with the friends, neighbors, and families who remain unreached by our present methods. In that spirit we humbly offer Dynamic Adventure as a tool to be used to advance the mission of the church.
Who’s it for?
We believe the guide will be helpful to two specific groups. First, we believe the guide will be of value to existing churches working to adopt a more missional posture. Oftentimes these transitions are extremely difficult – fraught with emotion, doubt, and fear of the unknown. The learning exercises in the guide will provide a positive, encouraging framework for your team to begin to imagine new ways of being the church together. From that foundation your team can then start to formulate new values and practices to support the renewed vision of your church.
Second, we believe Dynamic Adventure will be invaluable for teams hoping to form a new missional initiative or expression of church. New projects often begin with wonderful optimism, which often gives way to the sobering reality of the task at hand. Similar to its use by transitioning churches, the guide will provide a positive and encouraging framework for your team to begin to imagine its new life together, developing vision, values, and practices to support it. But it will also help guide you toward a fuller picture of maturity and multiplication – two aspects often overlooked by new projects.
an invitation to an adventure
Whatever the context or life stage of your church, we invite you to begin your own Dynamic Adventure. We truly hope that Dynamic Adventure will unleash a wave of new or renewed missional expressions of church in every size, shape, and form. We hope the guide will inspire you to go for it and begin a vibrant new expression of church that springs forth from the people in your context as they follow Jesus. Because the world needs many, many more churches that think, act, and care like Jesus in their neighborhood.
If you are dreaming kingdom dreams, you are not alone. We’re here for you. We’re cheering for you. And we’re here for each other. Let’s support and encourage each other along the way. So let’s get connected. Please share your stories, send us feedback, and let us know how we can help you!
Grace and peace,