Roadmap to Renewal: Discovery and Rediscovery of Mission
by Elliott Wright
New York, NY, April 3, 2009--Trips are quite common in the Bible: Ancient Hebrews going to Egypt and back; Judeans transported to Babylon; Jesus and his band constantly moving around Palestine; Saul on the way to Damascus. In the Bible, people are often on the road, and in their travels they learn about their relationships with God.
A new book invites United Methodists and their congregations to follow the biblical examples--to take a trip to discover and rediscover the church's mission to do God's work in the world. Roadmap to Renewal is a guide for understanding mission in ways that grow and strengthen local churches. It is designed especially for small-group use within congregations.
"Picture yourself joining seven to 12 others from your church on a road trip in a van," says Douglas W. Ruffle, the book's author, speaking directly to potential users. "You start out knowing that you want to arrive at a destination that is better than your current reality as a community of faith.
"Along the way you engage in conversation with each other. You get out of the van and talk to people in your area about community needs. You visit other churches to learn what has made them healthy and vital. You rediscover your church setting and discern what God is calling your church to be and to do at this point in time. You will end up with your own newly drafted roadmap for future ministry--a map that will set the vision, mission, goals, and objectives for your church for the next several years."
Dr. Ruffle is team coordinator for congregational development of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference. Prior to assuming that position in 2003, he was an executive in the Evangelization and Church Growth program unit of the General Board of Global Ministries.
The 94-page book is the second resource developed for the Academy of Mission Renewal of the General Board of Global Ministries, the international mission agency of The United Methodist Church. The academy is neither a place nor a program but, rather, an educational approach to mission focused on theology and practice.
"Readiness" for the trip is the topic of the book's introduction. Chapter One deals with current realities relating to mission, and eight other chapters move the journey along to the realignment, when necessary, of mission goals and objectives.
"Your Turn," questions at the end of each chapter, guides the team through a process that focuses on the congregation, community, and vision of mission. An epilogue, entitled "Arriving Home," encourages those on the trip not to settle back into old, comfortable ways but to follow a plan to move forward "to fulfill the promise that God has for our congregation, a promise to give us a future with hope."
Douglas Ruffle has been a local church pastor in New Jersey and a missionary in Argentina, in addition to his work with Global Ministries and his service at the annual conference level. He received his bachelor's from Drew University, Madison, New Jersey, a master of divinity from Harvard, a master of theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Drew. He is the author of other books and monographs, including The Discovery Church Journey: An Invitation to Congregational Transformation, published by Global Ministries in 2002.
Roadmap to Renewal can be ordered from Cokesbury:
Roadmap to Renewal, ISBN 978-1-933663-39-5. A publication of the General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church.
For mail orders:
Visit the Roadmap to Renewal home page on the Academy of Mission Renewal site:
Elliott Wright is the information officer of the General Board of Global Ministries.
Date posted: Apr 03, 2009