Transformation: How Glocal Churches Transform Lives and the World
Bob Roberts Jr.. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007.
Owen E. Burkholder, Conference Minister
Virginia Mennonite Conference
Bob Roberts is pastor of NorthWood Church in Texas and founder of GlocalNet (www.glocal.net). He says God reshaped his initial vision to build a megachurch into a vision to multiply churches. Now, instead of seeking to attract 20,000 people to one campus, Northwood sees more than 20,000 people attend churches they have helped start.
In Transformation, Roberts tells his story and presents his three part vision of the transformed life which includes 1) maintaining an interactive relationship with God, 2) developing transparent connections with each other, and 3) having a glocal (combining local and global) impact. He argues that evangelism without discipleship misses the central purpose of the gospel, which is to call together a community of people living out transformed lives.
Transformed lives form the basis of a transformed world which includes community development, church multiplication, and nation building. According to the author, every caste, every nation, every tribe, every culture should matter to us, because they all matter to God.
Roberts’ passion is refreshing. He is not satisfied with status quo. He writes, “I have no interest in helping start a church—it’s a waste of time and money. I have much interest in starting church-starting churches.” The good news is that most new churches come from established churches that are over ten years old. The bad news is that most of those established churches have never started a church. He calls for us to simultaneously recalibrate established churches for regular church planting while new churches they plant are infused with a whole new DNA so that they will be church-planting churches from the beginning.
Appendix 1 is a helpful “Profile Qualities for Church Planters” that focuses on essential qualities, starting skills and sustaining skills.
Finally, Roberts challenges us to engage the souls of all our people to use their vocations for church multiplication (through their transformed lives) both locally and globally (leading to a transformed world) as the way to participate in the kingdom of God.