In the 240-page book Reproducing Churches (BRF, 2017), George Lings argues that the Church has a divine calling and capacity to reproduce, albeit in ways that are intentionally non-identical.
Drawing upon the doctrines of the Trinity and Christology, and using key passages throughout Scripture as well as sections of church history, he shows how church reproduction expresses its nature while working with the kingdom and mission of God.
George believes that such searching tests are appropriate if an amendment to inherited ecclesiology is being proposed.
How to order
You can order Reproducing Churches directly from BRF here, or from Amazon UK here. The cover price is £9.99.
Note from the author
For 25 years I have sat on an egg that is now hatching. Back on April Fool’s Day in 1992 a ‘loud thought’ had come; God’s Church should and can reproduce. Back then, no one claimed that, and I had written nothing. Also, then and now, most people are more energised by mission or the kingdom, not the church. For all those reasons I kept quiet. It has taken years to rigorously test the idea, and dare to write.
At a time when fresh expressions of Church are on the way to being seen as normal, I see this book as giving one theological reason why that should be so, and making a small contribution to positively set God’s Church alongside its more popular brothers: kingdom and mission.
Supplementary chapters not included in the finished book
Chapter 9¾ - Can the idea of a reproductive strand in church identity fit with Church of England ecclesiology?
Chapter 12 - Re-imagining leadership in a reproducing Church
'Handbooks on church growth are not rare. Nor, sadly, are books persuading us that the growth of the church is mistaken or irrelevant. What George has written is better than both, because it begins in the depths. It takes us deep into the scriptures and into the traditions and fundamental marks of the Church. And it shows us that the Church can indeed be one, holy, catholic, apostolic - and reproducing.'
Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool
'The fruit of over two decades of reflection and detailed postgraduate research ... George advances the bold and striking suggestion, deeply rooted in biblical exegesis and theological reflection, that reproduction is an essential and defining feature of an authentic ecclesiology. This is a book I have been waiting for, and it has not disappointed.'
Stuart Murray Williams, Tutor in Mission, Bristol Baptist College
'George’s writing is characteristically humble and simultaneously excitingly audacious. If it is true that it is the Church’s vocation to reproduce, this has profound and wide-reaching implications for every church.'
Sally Gaze, Fresh Expressions Facilitator for the Diocese of Norwich, and author of Mission-Shaped and Rural
'George Lings has used his forensic thinking to help us understand that the Church was created to be reproducing by its very nature. It is a masterly account of this issue, based on George’s insights from the Bible, Christian tradition and church history.'
Dave Male, National Advisor for Pioneer Development
'George’s appetising combination of breadth of vision, insight and humour combine in this book with passion and conviction. It reads like the enthusiastic but precisely written result of many years of observation, prayer, research and insight.'
Lucy Moore, Messy Church founder and team leader
'This is a delightful piece of theological reflection from George. It distils George’s wisdom from reflecting on the nature of the Church, God and mission through what he has observed and researched over the last few decades. I found it both stimulating and helpful.'
Jonny Baker, Director of Mission Education, Church Mission Society
'In this insightful book, George Lings offers a helpful and engaging lens to reunite what should have never been separated - the Church and mission. A great encouragement for existing churches to explore giving birth to new churches.'
Catherine Askew, Chaplain-in-Residence, Northumbria Community
'George Lings has dedicated his life to helping discern how the church grows and reproduces and I am delighted to be one of those who encouraged him to write this inspired book, ensuring his wisdom can resource many more church leaders for years to come. I commend this book to you with enthusiasm.'
Mark Russell, Chief Executive, Church Army