missionSHIFT: Introducing Daniel Montgomery


We are doing lots of introductions for missionSHIFT this week. Already this week we have introduced Jeff Curtis and J.D. Greear. Today, we introduce and interview Daniel Montgomery.


Daniel Montgomery is the founding pastor of Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, KY. He has been married to Mandy since 1998 and they have three children. He is pursuing a doctor of ministry from Reformed Theological Seminary.

At this summer’s missionSHIFT Conference Daniel will teach the lab Missional Preaching. He describes the content as: Missional preaching is about preaching the whole gospel and the whole church to the whole world. This lab will deal with the theology as well as the practice of preaching missionally – providing concrete tools, inventories and guidelines for doing so.

Ed: Tell us how the dream began for Sojourn and what fills your days now.

Sojourn began with three key questions: What is the gospel? What is the church? What is mission? A group of young people who were pretty disillusioned with church gathered to pray and dream. The dreaming was driven by a lot of angst. We were all young (I was the oldest at 25.), we all felt like outsiders of North American church culture, we were all into rock and roll and we all wore black. Eventually the dreams led us to take action and plant.

What are the gospel, church and mission are still our key questions. We haven’t out-grown them. Our circumstances are dramatically different from 10 years ago, but the fire in our bellies remains the same: want more and better understanding of the gospel, more and better understanding of church, more and better understand of mission. We’ll never get out of this season.

As for what fills my days now, it’s not only multiple campuses, it’s multiple churches. We desire to see not only more but more and better churches that are formed and fueled by the gospel – calling Christians to not simply do more stuff but be who they are where God has placed them.

These days, my heart is for church planters who need clarity regarding finding themselves and their direction. I want to be a person who can look in and say, ‘You are here,’ in regards to gospel, church and mission and empower them to forge ahead.

Ed: What do you see in the church that is giving you hope that we are doing better at engaging in God’s mission?

I am daily encouraged by the movement of renewal taking place where it seems that daily churches and pastors are making clear connections between mission and the gospel. In many ways, missional was sounding like, ‘more, more, more’ divorced from the engine, the power being the Cross. I used to say I preferred the term crucifixional to missional but I’m seeing that reform take place and clear connections being made between Jesus and Jesus’ mission.

Ed: What are the issues in the church today about which you are most passionate?

I’m most passionate about making clear connections between the gospel and who we are as the church: who we are as worshippers, family, servants, missionaries and learners. And helping people see that mission isn’t something that we do, it’s something that we are. We don’t simply do acts service. We don’t worship at set times in certain places. We are servants. We are worshippers. It’s simply who we are. And so I’m most passionate about calling people to their fundamental identity and that mission is a gift that we forfeit when we fail to be who we are in Christ.

Ed: Obviously, the word “missional” is spoken of, used by, and claimed by many groups. Instead of giving another definition for the word, can you tell the readers an example of where you and your wife are seeking to live missionally?

Very simply, we are seeking to live missionally by being a faithful presence in our neighborhood where God has placed us. Being present to our neighbors, to local businesses, to city officials and cultivating relationships – listening to their wants and their dreams. We try to communicate the gospel whenever and wherever it’s possible because we believe that the gospel is the answer to their wants and dreams. It’s basically an ongoing process of listening and loving where we are, in word and deed. This manifests very simply in having our neighbors over, getting to know them, remembering their names.

Ed: In terms of missionSHIFT and the Missional Manifesto, what would be a great end-game in your mind for this event and process?

A great end-game would be clarity within churches regarding the power of the gospel in mission. A great end-game would be unity among churches centered on the gospel resulting in mission not merely as a program but a way of life flowing from who Christ is and what He has done.

Are you registered for the missionSHIFT conference yet? You don’t want to miss it. Register here.  

by Ed Stetzer
Ed Stetzer (Ph.D.) is author of Breaking the Missional Code, Comeback Churches: How 300 Churches Turned Around and Yours Can Too and Planting Missional Churches. For the second consecutive year, the LifeWay Research team led by Dr. Stetzer has contacted churches, gathered data and produced the OUTREACH 100 lists. Stetzer’s upcoming book, Lost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and Churches that Reach Them (B&H), tackles the 20-something trend he explores in this report. He currently serves as the President of LifeWay Research. You can interact concerning this article at www.edstetzer.com.
Used with permission from EdStetzer.com.
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