Everything about the Christian life contains the two realities of growth and discomfort. At the same time, we live in a world that tells us the opposite - that all can be had for nothing. Uncomfortable Growth focuses upon how any church might engage with the realities and practices that will make it more fully what it is called to be: God's people in the world for the sake of the world.
This book is of particular value to ministers and pastors, but also to those who aspire to leadership in the Church, future church planters, and any who engage in strategic thinking about the local church as a base for mission. Honest reflections on the Vineyard's experience in the UK are offered by way of illustration. Lessons can be drawn for the benefit of all, pointing to God's amazing grace in using very ordinary people.
The book has three parts: Culture, Theology and Practice.
Part 1 explores the world's rapidly changing culture and spiritual landscape, and the Church's attempts to reshape itself in response.
Part 2 looks at the person and work of Jesus (Christology) in order to understand the necessity and means of the believer's transformation; the Bible's grand narrative for determining the Church's mandate and mission (missiology); and the inspiring dynamic of N.T. church planting as a means of helping to shape the ecclesiology of every church.
Part 3 moves to practice and application: making disciples, developing leaders, and planting and equipping churches. Questions are included for group discussion. "The total result is a remarkably well-balanced guide to church-based mission." Dr. Derek Morphew, Academic Dean, Vineyard Institute.
"When I read Uncomfortable Growth by Rick Williams, my immediate response was: 'This is the book I wish I had written!' It 'reads your mail', it gives language to your heart, it resonates with what is precious. That's what Rick has done in this excellent work. While many write about the Church with pessimism, his love for the Church and engaging honesty make for an inspirational and encouraging mix that is infectious. This book will become a hugely valuable training resource for future generations of church planters."
Costa Mitchell, National Director, AVC South Africa
“Uncomfortable Growth is a provocatively faithful book from a seasoned Vineyard pastor-theologian. In a time when theological depth and pastoral care are often divorced or estranged, Rick brings the two together powerfully in a book that deserves a wide readership within and beyond the Vineyard. ”
Thomas Creedy, Freelance Writer
"To be true to its calling from God, the church has to engage with its context while remaining faithful to its Lord and to his gospel. This places discipleship, mission, and church planting at the core of its identity and at the top of its list of priorities. In this book Rick Williams draws these threads together and sets them as a visionary challenge for any church tempted to simply repeat the past as a way to engage the future."
Bishop Graham Cray, Formerly Archbishop of Canterbury's Missioner
"In Uncomfortable Growth Rick takes on the task of how we disciple, lead and plant gospel-centred churches, without compromise, in a world that is changing fast. This book has got its ‘finger on the pulse ’ and has that unique balance of being thoroughly biblical and also very practical."
John Clarke, Student Director, VCUKI
Rick Williams was ordained in the Anglican Church in 1980 and has followed a church planting call through the Vineyard over the past 25 years. He was one of the founding Vineyard leaders in the UK, planting Riverside Vineyard Church in 1988 - a culturally diverse church that has trained and planted multiple churches in the UK. He is known as a bible teacher and is also missionally engaged overseas, training church leaders, particularly in Africa. He passed on the senior leadership of Riverside in 2011 and now travels, speak and writes. Rick is Australian, studied theology at Cambridge and Fuller Theological Seminary, and is based in the UK. He is married to Lulu and they have two adult children.