Living system ministry is an approach to Christian ministry in the Western world that recognizes the differences between cats, the world God created, and toasters, the world we create using our technology and our capacities, limited as they are.
The church is the Body of Christ, a living system. Neighborhoods, cities, and cultures, too, are complex and interrelated living social systems. Why, then, would we try to do God's work in a church or social system using tools and methods designed for non-living systems? We do it because our culture is very organizationally - and technologically - centered. We have grown accustomed to thinking of our social contexts not as living systems, but as things we can easily measure and control.
Embracing both perspective and procedure, Living System Ministry is about doing better ministry by seeing a better picture of what exists in the total system. Like farmers, rather than technicians, we learn to be involved in and to be "in tune with" what causes fruitfulness. We never cause fruit to happen. God does! But as our work becomes better aligned with what God is already doing in his complex, living-system environment, there is an explosion of life. We discover the fruit that remains.
Writing from his forty-five years of experience as an urban ministry practitioner in Boston, Dr. Doug Hall introduces us to an approach to missions that recognizes the lead role of God's larger, living social systems as powerful engines for doing far more in our world than we can even begin to imagine.