This book records the journey of one local American church, which is transforming under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Cascade Community Church is a nine-year old congregation located in the Pacific Northwest that has grown rapidly and is on the cusp of something refreshingly new. The leadership team has chosen to intentionally turn the church Inside Out. The church desires to move away from self-centered preoccupation and increasingly learn to be God and others-centered. Cascade dreams of becoming a missional church that cares as much for the needs of its community and the world as it does for the needs of the membership. The early story of the church-plant is told in order to set the stage for the present incarnational focus. Few new churches grow at the rate Cascade has experienced. While the plant began with an evangelistic focus, it soon developed tunnel-vision and started to become self-centered and mired in the work of ministry management.
The process by which God transformed the lead pastor is described, including the fresh vision from God via a variety of sources such as prayer, literature, practical education, and experiential learning. The Inside Out vision is described in detail. Jesus’ ‘parable of the talents’ and his Great Commandment are foundational texts for understanding the motivational force behind Cascade’s missional endeavors. For the church to live Inside Out means the people will learn to live less self-centered and more God and others-centered.
Mobilization for ministry is exemplified via leadership development. Cascade has recently completed a two-year pilot program that attempted to intentionally multiply leaders for the harvest. The leadership farm system is described in detail with an evaluation of its effectiveness and suggestions for future ministry cycles. An additional segment of the Cascade story provides an in-depth examination of the church-planting movement of which it is a part. After tracing the footprints of the past, the current process is presented along with lessons learned regarding one of the most effective mother-daughter church-planting ventures in the region.
The Inside Out vision is resulting in missional teams that are multiplying both locally and globally. These groups of passionate people are utilizing their God-given resources to meet the real needs of communities. As the gospel changes people, it is also changing places. God’s story in this local church is just that. It is His-story acted out in the lives of regular Christ-followers who believe there is more to doing church than simply getting bigger and making budget. This book is a tale of transformation.